Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for dental practices to struggle with filling their seats. In fact, the American Dental Association (ADA) reported an average capacity of only 83% last year. While you might think this is a continued trend from the low patient demand the industry saw during the peak of the pandemic, dental professionals are citing appointment cancellations as the number one reason they couldn’t reach 100%.
So, how can dentists boost their business and keep a steady patient flow? As with many things nowadays, the answer lies in digitization.
What Is a Digital Waitlist?
A digital waitlist is a solution that replaces traditional paper-based methods for managing patient appointments, check-ins and wait times. By creating a virtual queue of patients waiting for their turn, practices no longer have to rely on sign-in sheets or receptionists to manually track patient flow. Moreover, the modern automated features of a digital waitlist unlock greater efficiency to streamline front- and back-office processes, facilitating a faster and more convenient experience for patients.
How does this work?
Online Appointment Scheduling
It all starts when a patient books their appointment. Traditionally, they’d have to call into the office during working hours, taking up valuable time from staff and the patient. With a digital waitlist solution, they don’t need to dial in anymore. Instead, patients can easily use an online portal to schedule their appointments at a time and place that’s convenient for them. Not only does this self-service functionality reduce the workload of your front-office staff, but it also increases efficiency and productivity.
Automated Patient Reminders
One of the best ways to minimize last-minute cancellations, no-shows and late appointments is through automated reminders. At the same time, 60% of patients want to use two-way communication technology for this very purpose. Digital waitlists satisfy this growing expectation, enabling dentists to send pre-scheduled text reminders and traffic alerts for upcoming appointments.
Virtual Check-In and Waiting Room
Once the patient gets to your practice location, they’d typically have to check in at the front desk before waiting for the next seat to open up. It might seem inconsequential, but 74% of patients say this traditional waiting room process diminishes their overall experience; meanwhile, 80% agree a virtual solution would improve it. With a virtual waiting room, patients can remotely check into their appointments and wait in their car until their chair is ready. This provides a sanitary solution for waiting rooms while increasing practice efficiency with real-time displays.
The Challenges of Traditional Patient Management
In contrast to using a digital waitlist, traditional patient management often involves a complex patchwork of manual processes and legacy solutions. These create friction in day-to-day workflows, resulting in a litany of challenges, including:
- Time-consuming, manual workflows that are prone to human error.
- Low efficiency and productivity with paper-based methods.
- High call volumes for front-office staff, taking valuable time.
- Long patient wait times due to these issues.
Dental practices deserve more than paper-based processes, but many clinicians remain skeptical about the transition to digital solutions. So, what are the benefits of a paperless patient waitlist?
Why Your Practice Needs a Digital Solution
Here are the top five reasons your dental practice needs a digital waitlist solution:
1. Centralized Patient Data
Are your patient records difficult to access either because they’re spread across disparate data sources or physical filing cabinets? One of the major benefits of using digital solutions is the data centralization capabilities they offer. A digital waitlist can connect to your practice ecosystem to unify all this information in one place—providing easy, HIPAA-compliant access to staff. With cloud-based solutions, dental professionals can also retrieve data, edit schedules and more, any time and from anywhere.
2. Streamlined Patient Management
This centralization lays the groundwork for even greater efficiency with a digital patient waitlist solution. Once all of your data is in one place, you can use your software to automate tasks, such as appointment scheduling, reminder notifications and more. By streamlining these daily workflows and accelerating patient flow, staff will benefit from reduced workloads and patients will enjoy the speed and quality of care.
3. Increased Patient Flow
In addition to the personal benefits a digital waitlist provides, the automation capabilities can enhance efficiency across the practice as a business. With automated appointment reminders, patients are more likely to make it to your practice at their scheduled time. Not only does this minimize schedule gaps, but the added efficiency also increases patient flow rates to help your practice improve capacity.
4. Advanced Analytics and Reporting
Integrating a digital waitlist into your broader practice management system allows you to unlock detailed data and advanced analytics. Track patient flow rates, financial data and other critical practice KPIs. Then, generate reports to derive actionable insights and use this information to further optimize your daily operations. With everything from cash flow metrics to patient experience feedback in one place, it’s easy to make informed decisions that drive your practice forward.
5. Improved Patient Experience
When you put all of this added efficiency and convenience together, you can begin to see how a digital waitlist has significant impacts on the patient experience. From self-service capabilities and two-way communication to reduced wait times and virtual waiting rooms—all of these features combine to improve patient satisfaction throughout their journey.
What to Look For in a Digital Waitlist Solution
Of course, not every digital waitlist is built the same. We’ve covered some of the general, yet significant, benefits of this type of software—but when it comes to choosing the right solution for your practice, it’s important to consider a few essential aspects:
- Does it have a user-friendly interface and easy implementation?
- Does it integrate with my existing software?
- Should you use a cloud-based solution for 24/7 access from anywhere?
- Are there customization options for appointments and reminders?
- How does the product ensure data security and HIPAA compliance?
Minimize Patient Wait Times With Sensei Cloud
Looking to streamline patient management with a digital waitlist solution? Sensei Cloud has everything you need and more.
As the most comprehensive dental practice management solution on the market, Sensei Cloud delivers advanced functionality across all aspects of practice workflows, including multiple specialties.