My articles focus on how the digital world and digital technology can enhance your dental practice. I thought it might be worthwhile to consider both the reasons why practitioners sometimes do not embrace the new digital age, and also the consequences of not doing so.
Of course, digital technology is ever-expansive and can be integrated to every part of your practice, from patient experience to cutting-edge dental treatments to practical administrative software. For example, recently I wrote about how having an iPad in your treatment room can significantly enhance patient experience – it is a wonderful distraction technique. Similarly as dentistry equipment progresses it becomes more efficient and less painful, allowing treatments to be performed with as little inconvenience to the patient as possible. Finally, practice management software allows your practice to be run more smoothly. Digital records are easier and more practical to search, human error is somewhat reduced. Digital additions to your practice such as these all add to the patient experience, encouraging the return of patients for further treatments. If, alongside these digital accoutrements, you also have a well designed website and participate in social media, you will be attracting new patients as well as encouraging the return of the old.
With the many benefits of introducing digital technology to your practice it is hard to understand why some refuse to seize the change. That said, there are some valid concerns that are often raised. The first and most important is cost. Any business has to consider one thing above all others and that is the bottom line. Digital technology can be expensive. If you haven’t introduced any changes to your practice recently and it is running well with both a loyal patient base and steady income, it is understandable to be loathed to introduce any changes. But, as we all know, we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. Just because things are going well does not mean that they cannot be improved. Introducing digital technology like the above may seem expensive in the short-term but, well-judged investments in technology could hold the key to greater success and will repay you through both new and returning customers.
Creating a better environment
Similarly, I often hear concerns about losing the ‘human touch’. Dentistry is a job in which the ‘human touch’ is highly prevalent. Your patient interaction, in terms of human interaction, is clearly the most important tool in your arsenal of both patient care and patient experience. However, these digital touches are there to create a better environment and a more efficient and smooth-running practice – both of these are complementary to the very basic (but most important) principle of the practitioner/patient relationship.
The web has made consumers (including patients) more savvy. If another practice has a better website, better patient interaction in online terms, or offers exciting new treatments, your patients may feel it is a better option for them. Lack of change in a practice can equate (in a patient’s mind) to lack of care. It is always important to remember that your practice (including its technology – old or new) reflects you! It is potentially risky to ignore the changing world we live in. If you have been, perhaps now is the time to embrace the change.
If you’d like to speak to an expert in this field you can call Digital Results, who work with dental practices and companies to maximise the performance of their websites and online marketing. Visit www.digital-results.com or call 0800 688 9810.