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Supporting your practice restart

The team at Dentally has been working hard to support our customers, developing our software to help dental practitioners reopen practices effectively in line with the Government Covid-19 guidance (as and when conditions allow). 

There are a number of new product developments we have made that will support you in seeing patients, social distancing and the general admin involved, these include:

  • COMING SOON:  Self check-in SMS for patients arriving at the practice 
  • New Feature: Payment links
  • New Feature: Tasks list
  • New Feature: Outbound telephone calls
  • Chat
  • New Feature: Cancellation reasons
  • Admin support and telephone triage

Our commitment to innovation is focused on supporting our customers by saving you time, encouraging social distancing and managing the administration needed to reopen the practice to deliver the care your patients need.   These new features specifically assist you in beginning to open the practice with some staff members on site and some still working remotely, leveraging the power of cloud technology.  Please look out for our new toolkit which will be available to all our customers here.

Contact-less reception with self-check in and payment links

Firstly, we have an exciting new feature that is currently being developed and will be ready very soon!  This is self check-in SMS for patients arriving at the practice.  Patients can be sent an SMS just prior to their appointment time at the practice.   The patient can click on this link and check themselves in as they arrive on site.  They can also complete or update their medical history - so you can run a contact less reception to support social distancing.  Please watch this space for more details on this - coming very soon!

To then close the loop in the process, following the patient’s appointment, we have added payment link functionality.  This means that the practice can now send an SMS with a secure link that allows the patient to pay their bill by clicking on the link, and making a payment using a credit/debit card, Apple Pay, etc.  

For your contact less reception, the practitioner can say goodbye to the patient and when they leave the surgery the patient can pay their bill using the link in the message they receive. The payment page is fully responsive and will work for whatever phone, iPad or device the patient is using - it is pre-populated with all their details, they just need to enter their card details and submit the payment.  To learn more click here to read our blog or take a look at our support documentation here.

This helps you to limit the number of staff members the patient has to come into contact with face to face during their visit for dental care, but retain a seamless patient experience.  

Managing workload

Tasks list is a time-saving function that will ensure tasks and patient follow-up is completed and not forgotten during the busy day-to-day running of a dental practice - whether your staff are working on site or remotely.

It means that dental practitioners and their staff can easily track and undertake tasks including calls, correspondence and any other patient admin - whether daily, monthly, yearly or even periodically, and ensure they are completed in a timely manner. 

This functionality within the software will not only save you time managing workloads, but supports your staff in helping them to carry out important tasks in line with the due date - improving your patient communication and practice management.  You can read more about Tasks list here. 

Supporting remote based staff members

The Tasks list function complements the new outbound telephone calling feature which is now fully integrated within the software, allowing you to make outbound phone calls directly from the patient record or from the task that has been created. 

Arrangements could be made to keep some of your reception team (or other staff members) working remotely, as they can easily use their computer securely logged into Dentally (read about our security update) to carry out their patient management admin work and to make all outbound calls.  Returning messages or cancelling future appointments can all be done through the software, and so staff won’t incur costs for their phone usage at home. Read more.

Keeping in touch with your team

If you are concerned about continuity and communication between your staff members that may be working from home and those that are in practice, then you can use Dentally Chat - to easily retain communication between all of the team and keep staff morale high.  You can learn more about ‘chat’.

Cancellation reasons and reports

One of the first things you will of course want to focus on, is producing a list of patients that had to have an appointment cancelled due to the closure of the practice. If you have been using the new cancellation reasons drop down menu, you can easily run the Appointment report to generate a list to identify all the patients for a specific reason - immediately creating a list for your team to contact to rebook their visit, treatment or check up with the relevant practitioner. More information on this is available here and also take a look here for our support guide.

Some of the other reports that may also be helpful for you to run in preparation of a return to seeing patients in person, include the Patients report and Treatment Plan report. For example; the treatment plan report will identify and prioritise patients that you may wish to see first in practice, based on unfinished courses of treatment.  Take a look at our collection of articles in our support area for some useful tips.

Informing upcoming patients of your new procedures

Of course, your new procedures will need to be communicated to your patients prior to their appointments before their eventual return to the practice. The patient report will assist you in finding the patients with upcoming appointments and bulk messaging by email or SMS to communicate your new procedures. You may also wish to amend the wording of your automated appointment reminder SMS and email messages.

In addition you will need to consider appointment length and make any necessary changes to the online booking portal for bookings, subject to the new guidance.

Restarting your recalls

If you use automated recalls, our advice when practices were forced to close was to halt the production of new recalls and to stop the automated workflows. Please see our guide to read the best procedures for restarting this process and ensure that patients who were due for recall during the practice closures are picked up and contacted. If you do not use automated recalls, you will need to start to revisit the period which was not contacted in that period, please read our help document.

Continuing telephone triage

During the period of reopening you may wish to continue to run telephone triage so that you only bring urgent cases or patients with unfinished treatments into the practice initially.  If you would like details as to how to set this up, take a look at our blog and for online appointment bookings for telephone triage, find details here.

Admin and templates

We understand that there is a huge amount of work involved in returning to practice, following the Covid-19 closure and our remote based team are here to support in any way we can.  You may wish to review some of your templates for communication templates for patient correspondence, update your medical history questionnaires and review any new cost structures.   Please do visit our Support area on the website which has a wealth of useful articles to support you.  

For some of the new functionality we have discussed in this article, we have also compiled some example templates that you may wish to use and we will be adding more to the Support area shortly for you to easily reference and use.  Take a look. 

Supporting dentistry

We hope some of these product developments with Dentally will help make your life easier as you begin to think about returning to practice, so that  you can focus your time on your patients & your team.  Read more about the toolkit here.  Please do email us if you have any queries or speak to the team if we can help in any way.

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