If you are a dental professional, there’s a high chance that you have closed your dental office during this downtime of the coronavirus pandemic. According to a study conducted by the ADA Health Policy Institute, by the end of March, 76% of dental offices have closed to all but emergency cases. Additionally, 19% have closed entirely and are not seeing any patients.
Like we have stated in many previous articles, the dental industry is one of the sectors hit the most by COVID-19. According to the ADA Health Policy Institute, almost 50% of dentists believe that their practice will close if the situation doesn’t improve by the end of August.
It’s natural for dentists to be worried. However, we believe that staying still and waiting for the situation to improve is not the correct move to make at the moment. It’s more critical than ever that dentists find new strategies for dental office improvements and expand their patient base.
After an extended downtime, dentists might face difficulties getting their offices up and running like normal if they don’t make enough preparations. Finding new ideas to improve dental practice will give you a head start among competition when everything is back to normal. Moreover, some improvements could earn you crucial revenue in the meantime and relieve some economic burdens.
In this article, we are going to suggest 5 strategies for dental office improvements that dentists could adopt during this downtime. Furthermore, we will go into detail about each idea and provide some tips for you to consider.
Strategies for Dental Office Improvements During COVID-19
Teledentistry has been around for quite some time. However, not until the coronavirus outbreak did it start to gain some attention. Teledentistry has become one of the most practical solutions for dental practices to maintain their relationship with patients. However, we believe that dentists shouldn’t look into teledentistry as a temporary solution for the current situation. Dental practices should learn more about teledentistry and make it a permanent service in your dental offices.
Teledentistry is the process where dental professionals provide dental care for patients remotely. In this setting, dentists use communication technologies, such as live video, to convey health information and monitor the patient’s conditions. There are 3 key benefits of teledentistry:
- Earn more revenue. Teledentistry allows dentists to give dental care to more patients each day.
- More accessible to follow-up post-treatment.
- Improve overall patient satisfaction. Patients could receive dental care even if they aren’t able to visit the dental office.
Below is our checklist for 5 best practices in teledentistry.
Learn medical billing
Medical billing is a payment practice within the U.S. health system. The process involves a healthcare provider submitting, following up on, and appealing claims with health insurance companies in order to receive payment for the services rendered, such as testing, treatments, and procedures.
There has been a common misconception among the dental industry that bill medically for dental procedures is illegal. However, that is a 100% false myth. Medical billing for dental practices is completely legal. And the process brings substantial benefits for dentists. We have summarized the key benefits of medical billing below.
Nevertheless, medical billing is a complicated process. To do medical billing, you will need to know how to credential your practice, check eligibility, obtain pre-authorization, which billing codes to use, how to write letters of medical necessity, and how to appeal and overturn claim denials. Therefore, what’s a better time to learn about this than during this downtime of COVID-19.
If you want us to help with medical billing, consider registering for our medical billing course for dentists.
Perfect your website
Since website design is one of the services offered by pH Marketing, we know for a fact that most dentists overlook this aspect. Moreover, we know that dental offices don’t update their website that often. But now it is the perfect time to do just that.
Dental offices now probably have 10-20 times fewer patients per week. With all the extra time, this is the perfect opportunity to spend time with your designer and perfect your dental website design. Make it in a way that when the COVID-19 restrictions are over, your practice has a new and improved website design ready for potential patients to visit.
You can read our comprehensive guide about dental website design in this article.
To summarize, in order to make a highly convertible website, we recommend dentists to work on the following areas:
- Have the following elements: treatment list, doctor bios, patient testimonials, FAQ, appointment schedule.
- Make your website elements consistent with your brand elements (name, logo, colors, typography, positioning, value proposition, tone of voice).
- Make your website accessible on mobile devices.
- Include many images and videos.
- Improve your website speed.
- Run a blog.
Improve your online presence
Firstly, we believe that among all digital marketing channels, social media should be your top priority at the moment, as it is the easiest way to communicate with your dental patients. Similar to dentists, patients now spend most of their time at home. Thus, social media platforms are gaining more usage far more now than ever.
Dentists should spend the current downtime to create more informative and engaging social media content to keep patients engaged with your practice. You could focus on dental health tips, fun facts, trivia, industry news, or COVID-19-related news. Additionally, dental practices could support the community by using social media to spread important messages and information about COVID-19.
Secondly, dentists could work on SEO during this downtime. Improving SEO could bring more potential patients to your website, eventually increasing your patient base. Moreover, SEO efforts usually take months to see results. Therefore, investing in SEO at the moment could help significantly boost your practice’s online presence when the COVID-19 lockdown is over.
Learn new treatments
Investing time and effort into new skills is never a bad idea to improve your practice. To take advantage of this downtime, dentists could either learn new dental techniques to broaden their services offered, or research new dental technologies that could be implemented into their offices. If you have never done implants or don’t know how to use an intraoral scanner, this is the perfect time to start learning new things. Moreover, there are plenty of free courses online that dentists could take part in.
Above are our suggestions for dental office improvements during the current downtime. No matter how difficult the situation is at the moment, don’t lose hope, and keep moving your practice forward.
Don’t forget to share this article to help other dentists in our community.