Michael Rudman looks at the benefits of investing in 21st Century systems and technology
There is more to running a successful practice than flashy gadgets, but keeping up to date with 21st Century technology can not only help you attract new patients, but help your business thrive long into the future. The tips below are designed to give you an idea of where you can start.
Websites Having a website is one of todays most important, yet inexpensive advertising tools. Your practice may appear on an online listing for a local dentist, but many prospective patients will instantly disregard any practices that don’t have a website they can then click through to for further information. The best websites are visually appealing, informative, inviting and regularly updated, so invest in a good basic design and the rest can be done in-house. However, it’s incredibly important that you are aware of the regulations involved, so make sure you do your homework first.
Mobile phones Around 40 million people in Britain aloe own a mobile phone and for the forward-thinking dental practice, its simplest application can be its greatest asset. By reminding patients of their forthcoming appointments via text message, you can save thousands of pounds in lost revenue. These can even be sent automatically on a daily basis, as part of a practice management software system
Computerised records It makes good business sense for every practice to have a networked computer system capable of offering patient records, charts, appointment books and practice accounts. Storing computerised patient records not only eliminates the need for hundreds of patient folders, it also opens up a whole new world of marketing opportunities and time saving measures for the whole practice team to access.
Speculate to accumulate All these ideas are all very well and good, but in the current financial climate some of you may be wary of making expensive changes to your practice. However, Practiceworks (sole suppliers of the Kodak R4 system) indicate that a two-surgery practice could have a basic networking system installed from under £10,000. With a little effort, most practices can cover the cost of such an investment within 12 months. Installation and training can usually be done in three days and additional training can be delivered at any time.
Some payment plan providers offer a range of verifiable CPD courses to help integrate your team into new systems or ways of working. Some also offer a wealth of services, including the ability to share patient information to ensure your records are always up to date and a wide range of professional and personal discounts.
Social media If your practice already has the basics you’re probably a convert already, so what else is out there that could make your dental practice stand out from the crowd? Social networking can not only allow you to share all your latest news and information with colleagues and patients, but the real-time nature of online updates can cause a real buzz and interest in what you have to say. And the best thing is – most social networking sites are completely free!
So if it’s time for an injection of technology, my advice to you would be to consult the experts and take that leap to bring your practice into the 21st Century.