Digital Dentistry and the role of technology in efficiency

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Technology is powering more efficient dental practices

Technology is powering more efficient dental practices. (Image: Dental Monitoring)
Dental Tribune UK & Ireland

Dental Tribune UK & Ireland

Thu. 20 April 2023


Dental practices are increasingly turning to latest technology, not only to manage bookings and prompt repeat appointments and create more positive patient journeys, but even to monitor their dental wellbeing remotely.

Apps powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) are able to take the strain from practice receptionists, automatically communicating with patients pre and post appointment, confirming details, asking health screening questions and even prompting online reviews.

Three of the latest new pieces of technology to hit the market are FollowApp.Care, RoboReception and DentalMonitoring, all of which claim to be capable of taking on some of the more time-consuming aspects of a busy practice, while enhancing patient care.

Boosting online reviews

FollowApp.Care, which delivers automated notifications to patients post treatment, is the brainchild of dentist Dr David Holmes, who developed the concept in response to the challenges he had faced in his own dental clinic. The pre-emptive technology, based on each dental experience, checks in on patients, provides post-procedural recommendations, invites recalls for future treatment and prompts feedback on their experience, including Google reviews.

Patients don’t need to download an app, which means easier accessibility and better response rates; instead they receive an SMS message instantly post appointment containing a link to a survey tailored to the appointment or procedure they have just undergone. Because it is automated, no input is needed from the clinician, giving them time to focus on clinical care: It is activated by front-of-house staff, which helps to smooth patient management workflows and motivates them to follow up effectively and efficiently.

Says Dr Holmes: “It doesn't matter if there is a new staff member, if you have had a busy day, or if a patient had a ‘light’ appointment. Every patient receives a personalised automated SMS message to ensure they have had an exemplary experience and to ensure that if they need any further care or information it can be provided. There's no extra work to the clinic, but it still gives a personalised experience.”

Importantly, the system analyses responses to flag any problems early – from a patient in pain to negative feedback and the system is so intuitive, it can be programmed to offer tailored ‘next step’ advice. The dentist is also able to initiate a two-way SMS dialogue with patients.

The technology uses population-level insights on behaviour and communication patterns to drive patient engagement, operational efficiency and revenue growth. It also gives access to some key business analytics.

Keeping pace with new leads

RoboReception is a dental chatbot and lead-tracking system that can help practices convert leads to help boost turnover. It was borne of out of an understanding that taking too long to respond to new enquiries can result in dental practices losing up to 60% of new patient leads.

Launched in 2021 by dentist turned dental business mentor Dr Grant McAree, RoboReception allows dental teams to track each enquiry they receive, helping to speed up lead follow-up times by up to 50%, leading them to convert 25% more patients and achieve a 15% or higher increase in revenue.

Says Dr Acree: “RoboReception gives you a bird’s eye view of your business at the touch of a button. How many leads are in the system, where they came from, ROI, lead nurturing, and so much more!  As practice owners in a competitive market, we cannot afford to miss 60% of enquiries. One enquiry could be thousands of pounds of treatment. One lead not being contacted could create bad feelings and result in thousands of pounds of lost revenue with poor reviews and negative online feedback.”

A digital eye on progress

Meanwhile, DentalMonitoring is an AI-powered platform using patented technology that is able to monitor patients remotely. After a practice has seen a patient in-person and considered a treatment plan, it can choose the information it wants to receive about their treatment from more than 130+ oral observations detected by the AI on the DentalMonitoring platform.

Patients use DentalMonitoring’s proprietary ScanBox pro device with their smartphone to take intraoral images and send them to you through the patient app. The platform then analyses, sorts and crops the images; when a prescribed observation is detected, the practice’s customised treatment protocol is enabled and instructions sent directly to the patient.

Orthodontic Specialist Dr Helen Griffiths of Taunton-based Confident Orthodontics, says DentalMonitoring helps the practice team to remotely monitor patients, while also maintaining good communications with them: “It helps us to monitor patient treatment progression – to pick things up that may not be going well or congratulate them when they’re maintaining really good tooth brushing.”

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