If your dental office staff still schedules all appointments manually, you’re wasting valuable time that you could dedicate to more critical tasks.
Numerous dental practices across the U.S. have begun implementing dental appointment scheduling software to streamline this process. The best software enables online appointment booking for patients, promoting many benefits for your dental clinic and your patients.
Whether you work in cosmetic dentistry, oral surgery, emergency dental care, or any other dental practice, implementing booking software can be valuable to your business. Read on to learn how to pick the best dentist office appointment booking system for your needs.
Why Use an Appointment Booking System?
If your dental office already has a good method of manual appointment scheduling, you may wonder whether switching to an automated system is really necessary. Why fix something that isn’t broken?
In reality, automated appointment booking boasts numerous benefits for your dental practice. These programs enable patients to book appointments on your website. They can view a calendar of available appointments, choose the service they need, and schedule their appointment — all on a smartphone or computer. Your dental office staff won’t waste any time talking to them on the phone during this process.
Incorporating brand-new dental scheduling software into your daily processes may sound intimidating. In reality, the best scheduling software features a user-friendly interface and easy onboarding process, allowing you to feel comfortable with online appointment scheduling in no time.
Benefits for Both Your Practice and Your Patients
Switching to dental appointment booking software can produce many benefits for your dental practice:
- Saving time on the phones: When you enable online appointment scheduling, you will significantly reduce your staff’s phone call frequency. Your dental office staff can benefit from the lighter workload resulting from this switch, allowing them to spend time on enhancing patient satisfaction, marketing your business, and other crucial tasks.
- Convenience/flexibility: Your patients can benefit from an easier method of scheduling appointments, which could help them overcome dental anxiety and get the services they need to maintain a healthy smile. Patients can also schedule their dental service outside your office hours. In turn, your dental practice can add to your “new patients tab” more regularly.
- Fewer missed appointments: When patients book their own appointments, they may be less likely to forget their appointment time or choose a time that doesn’t work with their schedule. Additionally, many scheduling programs include automatic appointment reminders that can help prevent no-shows.
What To Consider in Appointment Scheduling Software
Before you choose appointment scheduling software, you should consider several elements that contribute to the best scheduling platforms on the market. Here are a few key factors to consider before making your final decision.
As a dental practice owner, you know the importance of HIPAA compliance to your practice’s success. Failing to meet necessary HIPAA requirements can put your practice in jeopardy of legal action, which could lead to lost licenses, bankruptcy, and other worst-case scenarios.
You may not have considered how appointment scheduling and HIPAA compliance align. However, every new platform or program you incorporate into your office routine must meet HIPAA compliance guidelines.
Your scheduling software will have access to all of your patient information, including billing information, addresses, Social Security numbers, medical files, and more. You must be sure that the platform you choose uses adequate safety measures to prevent theft and data breaches.
For example, your scheduling software should use:
- Multi-factor authentication for all employee logins
- Encryption to protect data from unauthorized individuals
- Limited functionality for specific employees
Of course, your dental practice is responsible for meeting HIPAA requirements. But choosing an online scheduling program that includes these safety features can help prevent unintentional HIPAA violations. It can also improve your reputation with patients, as they will know that your practice cares about protecting their private information.
Practice Management System Integration
If your dental practice uses a practice management system, you need a scheduling program that seamlessly integrates with your existing processes.
Practice management systems can provide a range of functions to streamline your daily dental practice tasks. For example, many management programs include the following features:
- Reminders for upcoming patient appointments
- Insurance verification
- Email marketing templates
- Payment processing
- Text, phone, and email communication features
- Team communication
- Review management
- Patient financing solutions
- Digital forms
Integrating your booking software with your management system can help you save even more time on daily office tasks. It can also prevent your staff from needing to learn a brand-new system.
If you do not currently use a management system, consider choosing one that includes appointment scheduling automation as a feature. Your practice can receive many benefits from incorporating these systems into your business operations.
Medium for Patients
One of the many benefits of online scheduling software is enabling patients to book their own appointments. Potential patients may be more likely to take the plunge and schedule an oral health appointment, dentures consultation, exam, or Invisalign consultation if they can do so through a medium convenient for them.
The best scheduling software includes online scheduling along with phone and text communication options.
First, online scheduling features allow patients to schedule a dental appointment without needing to talk to anyone. In this digital age, many people prefer online or text communication to phone calls and in-person conversations. Removing the phone call barrier from appointment scheduling may encourage more new and existing patients to book a dental service.
Meanwhile, high-quality dental appointment booking software also enhances phone and text communications between office staff and patients. For instance, with your software, you can initiate automatic calls to specific patients reminding them about upcoming appointments or inviting them to schedule routine cleanings.
You can also implement text communication features with these programs. Many appointment platforms allow you to text back and forth with customers through your office computers. You can also send automatic responses that sound like they’re coming from a real person, saving time without sacrificing patient care.
Before you choose a dentist appointment scheduling program, be sure to examine its communication features and methods.
If you’re going to spend time incorporating a new program into your workload, you should ensure that it maximizes efficiency for your dental office staff. We recommend choosing a program with numerous features that can save your staff time and minimize rote tasks.
For example, be sure to choose software with automatic reminders built in. These reminders can save your staff several hours a week that they may have previously dedicated to calling patients manually.
With automatic dental appointment reminders, your patients can receive phone, text, or email reminders a specific amount of time before their appointments. They can then respond to these messages to confirm their appointments.
If a client fails to provide an appointment confirmation by a designated time, such as 24 hours before the appointment, you can initiate another automatic communication or call the person manually. However, automating the initial reminders can save your staff a significant amount of time that they can then dedicate to more important tasks.
You can also use your program to send automatic appointment requests. For instance, if a patient has yet to schedule their next routine cleaning, you can send an automated email with a link to your online scheduling system.
Consider how the scheduling system you choose can reduce staff workload and benefit your practice overall.
Weave: More Than Appointment Booking
Now that you know the important factors to consider when choosing a dentist office appointment booking platform, you can begin the search for the best platform for your needs. Weave is one of the most comprehensive patient scheduling platforms and should undoubtedly be a part of your shortlist.
Weave is a patient automation platform that includes a range of features specifically for dental practices. This program is much more than an appointment booking program. With Weave, you can:
- Send automatic reminders about upcoming dental appointments
- Communicate with patients via text, phone, or email
- Send automated text responses based on the patient’s message
- Automatically invite patients to leave reviews
- Implement “Buy Now, Pay-Over-Time” financing options for patients
- Send automated email marketing campaigns from included templates
- Chat with your dental staff from any internet-connected device
- See a patient’s full profile every time they call your dental practice
- Enable patients to pay their balances from their mobile devices
- Unify your dental practice across multiple branches, if necessary
- And much more
This full-scale patient automation platform also includes all the features you need to automate, streamline, and simplify patient scheduling. You can allow patients to schedule their own appointments on your website or through a text message. Your patients can choose their appointment option from a list, such as:
- Dental emergency
- New patient appointment
- General consultation
- Routine cleaning
They can view open dental appointment slots in your appointment book for their desired dates and times. Then, they can book their own appointments without your intervention.
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