Practices should be working toward applying the top dental trends of 2018.
Last year we shared the top 5 dental industry trends of 2017 and how practices can benefit from applying them. Dental Support Organizations, Dental Insurance Reimbursement Rates, and In-House Dental Plans topped the trends of 2017. Fully into Q1 of the new year, we wanted to uncover the dental trends of 2018 and how implementing them will work towards actively pursuing practice growth.
Actively Focusing on Patient Experience
Patient experience is everything, and will probably always be the top priority for practices. If the patient is happy, they are likely to remain loyal and become evangelists for your practice. Connect with your patients, make sure that their questions are being answered and that they are pleased with the result. Also, incorporate follow-up calls or emails after a patient has seen you so that they feel like they are one of your only patients. While some dental practices are incorporating a “spa-like atmosphere” in their office, improvement to patient experience can also start simply through proper marketing, communication, and follow-up.
Planning Out Alternative Financial Solutions
As insurance policies continue to change, practices will see an influx of patient turnover. Before losing a patient to inevitable policy changes, make patients aware of other financial solutions. Your practice should be working toward creating an in-house dental plan that will not only keep you from losing patients and ultimately, losing the financial compensation that comes from self-pay patients but will ensure that your patient is still getting the care they need without insurance. Your in-house dental plan should be something that works for your practice and for your patient.
Making the Switch To Group Practices
2018 will be the rise of the group practice. Although not completely faltering, single-doctor, single-location practices are slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past. A lot of this is due to corporate dental, student loan debts, and the rising cost of opening a practice. Entering a group practice should put you into an established patient base that already uses resources like an in-house dental plan that permits marketing, consulting, training, and provider/member engagement in addition to handling billing and fulfillment.
Utilizing Advanced Technology Such as 3D Printing
Some practices are beginning to incorporate advanced technology into dentistry revolution. A very common trend has been the usage of the 3D printer to customize patient dental solutions. The 3D printer has been used to show tangible molds of patient’s mouth so they can physically see any issues with their teeth. 3D printing is also being used for general dentistry, implantology, prosthodontics, and even to create custom devices to help patients with sleep apnea.
Taking Advantage of the Cloud
Dental practices are embracing new technologies when it comes to creating an environmentally friendly, paperless work environment. Digital storage is gaining popularity in 2018 because it’s been a huge way to increase profits in the dental industry. The “cloud” as it has been named, uses a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage and process data, rather than on a local server. Moving toward cloud-based practice management software means that their important data and documents such as HIPAA confidentiality forms can be securely hosted on 3rd party software servers. You can also access this information from anywhere so work can be done outside of the office.
Taking to The Internet
We can expect to see the internet and trends of social media marketing appearing on the dental industry trends for quite some time. Consumers use the internet for healthcare decision making. They browse websites and view Facebook pages of practices they are particularly interested in joining. Conversely, they are also using the internet to leave reviews. Make sure your website is up-to-date with Google’s algorithm (meaning mobile responsive and optimized for search engine optimization) and that all of your online listings are accurate. It does also benefit your practice to have positive online reviews so ask your best patients to leave their feedback.
Ascension Dental is a privately held company focused on providing essential capital and administrative capabilities to dental providers across the country, with which it partners to design, develop and administer progressive In-House Dental Plan solutions.
If you’d like to start an in-house dental plan for your practice, schedule your free consultation with Ascension Dental.