Teledentistry And The Power of Remote Video Consultations
The pandemic has led to interesting work-arounds where clinics have incorporated modern dental or orthodontic softwares to substitute face-to-face in clinic appointments. At home video clear aligner consultations have revolutionized patient interaction, allowing enormous benefits. Here we outline 6 main pros and strategies everyday dentists can use to triage patients to reduce chair time and present clear aligner treatment plans to increase sales and speed up conversion.
Free Video Suitability Consultations - Nothing attracts potential buyers more than freebies and sales. While in-clinic appointments have massive benefits with the immediate collection of data to begin treatment planning, they also take up more chair time, incur clinical expenses, may be a deterrent for patients who live far from the practice, who have limited time or a limited travel budget. Video vetting allows the patient to be anywhere and for the dentist to get a clear idea if the patient is suitable for treatment before inviting them into the clinic. Moreover, a pre-vetted patient means their initial face-to-face appointment only needs a fraction of the time and only involves collecting data from the patient.
Ideal timeframes - The ideal time for a video call is between 10-15 mins, the clinical appointment can be around the same timeframe just to collect scans, photos and xrays if needed. Training staff to take over video calling and data collection drops the dentist's actual chair time to about 5 mins where they can quickly evaluate the patient and data captured. That leaves 25 minutes to attend to other patients with more pressing clinic needs. Using this method gains the dentist neary 1 hour for every 2 patients onboarded using this strategy. Even setting aside 1 hour a day for video calls as a dentist can get you speaking to potentially 6 patients where bringing them in initially may get you only 2 or 3.
Video call language - Your first encounter with the patient should be quick and to the point. Your main goal is to collect info about the clear aligner patient's goals, vet their suitability, give them brief info about the procedure and get them booked in for an in-person consultation. A great way to frame your call for speed and consistency is as follows: (1) determine if this is their first appointment speaking with a dentist to break the ice, (2) have them outline their treatment goals to manage their expectations, (3) Ask about their medical history to vet their treatment suitability, (4) briefly describe the treatment procedure and cost, (5) book them in for an in-person consult. Done correctly, a consult could take under 10 mins.
Embedding video links in your calendar bookings - Ease of access is crucial to getting someone booked in quickly with as minimal online clicking and human contact as possible. While some clinics choose the route of having their prospective patients contact the dental clinic first or having them fill in a form from their website, this leads to far more points of contact and effort leading to more cancellations. There are many free and paid booking/scheduling systems like Bookly, Calendly and Smile Genius which allow you to embed a professional looking booking form into your website so the patient can book in directly. On top of that, they have options where you can insert a link from a video calling service like Zoom or Google Meet. Once booked, the patient gets an automated confirmation with their video calling link and notifications leading up to the appointment. Instead of the patient reaching out, then your staff contacting them to book in, then confirming the booking with a link later on, the best strategy is to have the patient book in directly so the first point of contact is to confirm the appointment. Before and after that, automations should handle the onboarding and reminder process to get the patient on a video call with minimal clinical effort. 3-5 points of contact now become 1 or 2.
Converting sales with video calls - While in-clinic treatment plan discussions are great, they require chair time and a delay in the sales process as the patient has to physically come to the practice. A more efficient strategy is to hop on a quick 5 min video call, share your screen and walk your patient through their treatment while answering any questions. After that you can take any payment right over the phone and that's it! Another great strategy is to pre-record your treatment discussion with platforms such as Loom and Canva which allow you to make a video with you talking in the corner for that personal touch, where you can then send your video along with a payment link to your patient and let them be in full control of getting started!
Treatment monitoring with video calls - Sometimes bringing patients in for simple check-ins or troubleshooting which could be done at home can take up unnecessary clinical time and can be easily substituted with a video call. Platforms such as Smile Genius are excellent tools to not only reduce chair time, but allow you to handle issues on the spot. A great tip is to train your staff how to handle mild issues so they can instruct the patient in a quick call, eliminating unnecessary contact for you as a dentist.
While video calls are an amazing tool to streamline the onboarding and treatment process, it may be time consuming and difficult to set everything up and create an efficient workflow without professional coaching or technical knowledge. Smile Genius has made everything super simple and quick for you. No need to figure everything out and subscribe to 5 or 6 platforms, privacy compliant video calling is already built into the system where you can control which appointments are set for video and which for in-person consultations. The video quality is super clear and is already integrated into a smart scheduling system so there is no need to set up various platforms to create your sales workflow, we've already done all the work for you. On top of that, Smile Genius has a built-in chat function to enhance the video experience making it far easier to keep in touch with your patients. There are also awesome tools to vet your patients with our built in health questionnaire, so by time you speak with the patient, you have a nice overview of their case with photos to further minimize your workflow. What are you waiting for? Join this smile revolution and let us help you bring your practice to the next level allowing you to work smarter and not harder.