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Patient Management

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Addressing the dental backlog: 5 steps for dental practices to navigate the challenge

Four years on, the global pandemic has had a lasting impact on various aspects of our day-to-day lives – including access to routine healthcare services.  

Dental practices have faced significant challenges due to lockdowns, restrictions, and patient hesitancy, resulting in a substantial backlog of appointments and treatments. As the world gradually returns to normalcy, addressing this backlog remains a priority for dental practices with appointment availability continuing to hit headlines. 

As we enter a new year and start to review working practices, here are just five steps to navigate the dental backlog effectively – allowing dental practices to focus on cutting down waiting lists, prioritise existing patients and account for last-minute emergency appointments: 

1. Streamlined Appointment Management

A powerful patient management system, like Dentally, can revolutionise appointment scheduling –allowing you and your team to seamlessly schedule appointments, securely store patient data, and optimise your practice's appointment slots. Portal_Three-screens-A

Dentally’s flexibility empowers you to adjust appointment durations, accommodating shorter procedures to maximise your practice's capacity. This adaptability frees up slots, enabling prioritisation of urgent cases, ensuring timely care. 

Unlike traditional practice management software or paper-based methods prone to delays and inconsistencies, Dentally's intuitive interface prioritises a seamless clerical-clinical handover. This coordination enhances patient flow, minimising wait times and allowing for a better patient experience. Not only this, but you will be streamlining your team’s overall administrative workflow, again leaving more time for appointments. When these gaps do arise, you can feel confident that they are being filled in order of priority with little to no effort from your admin team – read for about smart wait lists with Dentally here. 

 2. Communication and Patient Engagement 

Clear communication is vital in managing patient expectations and encouraging their participation in addressing the backlog. As a practice, you should be utilising various channels—emails, texts, or a dedicated patient portal—to keep patients informed about availability, their upcoming scheduled appointments and the importance of routine dental care. Dentally’s patient communication features enable automated messages and reminders, boosting patient engagement and reducing no-shows – something that should be taken even more seriously during a time when appointment slots are more valuable than ever.  practice

3. Flexibility in Services 

Flexibility is key in accommodating more patients. Consider extended operating hours, weekend appointments, or additional staff to meet increased demand. Embrace remote consultations where possible for initial assessments, effectively triaging cases. Being completely cloud-based, Dentally's versatility allows practices to adapt by offering these services wherever your staff are based. With just Google Chrome and a secure internet connection, staff members can phone patients and view a patient’s file directly through the software!

4. Staff Training and Workflow Optimisation 

Invest in staff training to optimise workflows and empower your team to handle increased patient loads efficiently. Familiarise them with Dentally's functionalities to streamline administrative tasks, allowing more focus on patient care. Dentally’s comprehensive reporting provides insights into workflow bottlenecks, enhancing overall efficiency. 

5. Prioritise Preventive Care 

Encourage a preventive approach to dental care. Stress the importance of regular check-ups and preventive treatments to minimise future complications and prevent backlog accumulation. Dentally’s tools aid in creating personalised treatment plans, educating patients about preventive care, and empowering them to take proactive steps toward oral health – and don’t forget, personalising these messages is easier than ever with Dentally. 

By implementing these steps and harnessing Dentally’s cloud-based features, dental practices can efficiently manage the backlog while delivering quality care to patients. Want to find out more about how you can tackle the backlog? Reach out to our team today, they’d be happy to help. 

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