With the right technology partner, group practices have access to innovative tools that improve office efficiency and patient communication
Jodi Klagos, senior operations manager at First Choice Dental, always has an eye out for ways to improve workflows. Pre-COVID she would attend as many user group conferences for offerings as she could. And amid the pandemic she is in constant communication with her technology partners, such as Henry Schein One’s Dentrix Enterprise, on evaluating the effectiveness of First Choice’s software usage.
“A big part of what I do is looking at the processes that we have in place, and making sure that they’re being done in the most efficient way possible,” said, Klagos in a recent Efficiency Group Practice podcast on how practice management technology improves dental group practices. “Can we use the software in a different way? Does the software need some enhancements? Are there other products that we can be utilizing to support us? So that’s a big part of what I do in normal circumstances.”
In unusual circumstances (aka COVID), patient communication became paramount. The Madison, Wisconsin-based group practice adjusted in several ways. First, the front office staff had to make sure patients filled out their paperwork ahead of time. The waiting room was empty and patients waited in their car, while the staff communicated with them electronically when it was time for a pre-screening.
Moving beyond the pandemic, Klagos said technology will be even more important for dental group practices, whether it’s online payment options for clients, more communication tools, and especially workflow solutions.
“As it relates to the operation of the practice, I think that we’re going to see an explosiveness of solutions for that,” she said. For instance, when First Choice was closed due to shelter-in-place mandates, the director of operations set up virtual visit accounts for all the doctors. In the future, virtual visits could become a more attractive option for patients who have problem-focused issues who would only visit the practice for a limited amount of time.
Tasks related to patients working with the front desk like treatment conferences or financial arrangements could turn virtual as well. “I just think that there’s going to be a lot more of that coming on the scene. And we’re definitely going to make use of everything that we can.”
The future is now
What else is in store for group practices? On the same podcast, David Danielson, senior product manager with Henry Schein One, said the industry is moving toward the following:
— Anytime, anywhere access to dental records. “This access is going to become more and more important.”
— Flexibility of communicating with patients. “I think we’re going to see some robust innovations in those areas.”
— Automation to help providers be more efficient. “We know that the time that they have the patient in the chair is critical. And we want them to get as much done with the software as possible in as little time as possible.”
There are strategies that practices can implement right now to address the changes happening in the marketplace. First, Danielson recommends group practices evaluate their technology stack. “They should continue to look at who their partners are, why they’ve selected them and what those partners can do for their organization.”
Visibility and analysis of a practice’s performance is key as well. “I’ve had a lot of practices talk to us about our workflow analysis program, where we go in and benchmark best practices off the usage of software. It really gives that fine grained look for a practice and how they can be successful. We’ve found that customers are very successful with those insights.”
In today’s ever-changing environment, it’s important for group practices to have the right partner that offers technology solutions and continues to aggregate and integrate backend automation. Whether you need centralized management to capitalize on economies of scale or interoperability with medical software to reduce data entry and increase the quality of patient care, Dentrix Enterprise from Henry Schein One has the features and functionality to move you to the next level. And as the global leader in dental software technology, Henry Schein One has positioned itself for current needs and future innovations. “Part of our vision is to help accelerate how organizations think about their practice,” said Danielson. “We want them to focus on patients and patient care. And we want that automation to flow easily out of the software.”
For more information on what Dentrix Enterprise has to offer, visit dentrixenterprise.com
To listen to the full podcast, click here