Frustration tends to be the first reaction - and for good reason. Yet, there’s another (more proactive) response to dental patient no-shows and cancellations.
Consider having an alternative-solution process. Teledentistry is among the solutions you can provide that could help reduce no-show frustration.
But first, let’s get to the root of the no-show problem.
Why do dental patients no-show or cancel an appointment?
The knee-jerk response is to blame it on forgetfulness or irresponsibility. Those could fit some chronic patient behaviors although the reasons can run deeper for many.
Frankly, dentistry can be expensive. And a number of patients face ongoing challenges with resource allocation - even for their health.
Dental insurance considered, some out-of-pocket costs can force your patients to avoid the financial tension.
Care education lacking
If they knew what you knew - perhaps they would think twice about avoiding or postponing dental care. That raises the question about how informed your patients are about their oral health.
Patients can see what the x-rays reveal but they must be educated about the outcomes of receiving or avoiding treatment.
Some patients have an automatic mental and emotional hurdle to overcome about dental care. The thought of traveling to a dental appointment, sitting in a reception area, and experiencing the sounds and smells is a bundle of reasons to say - not today! And COVID-19 has added to the ever present anxiety for many.
These are adequate reasons for a percentage of patients to merely no-show. As earlier mentioned, teledentistry and the virtual dental home solution deals with each of these no-show causes.
How teledentistry and virtual dental care can help reduce dental patient no-shows and cancellations
Acquaint your patients with the virtual dental care environment
Many dental practices (perhaps yours) pivoted a portion of their schedule to virtual visits during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was an easier pivot for those already equipped for teledentistry.
Digital innovation has helped carve out a service niche for a growing number of dental practices. The virtual dental care and broader virtual dental home model is gaining a following because of innovative digital solutions.
Add mobile dentistry to the mix alongside teledentistry and patients now have a safe, secure, and convenient solution for care access. And you have an option to help offset some of the reasons a patient could no-show.
- Remote pre-visit consultations and triage
- Emergency dental care
- Virtual post-treatment follow-up
- Virtual referrals and specialist consultations
Highlight the safety and security of the virtual dental visit
The dental “dread” felt by many has a lot to do with the negative associations of a brick-and-mortar facility. It’s among the reasons why second-thoughts about a dental appointment arise and cause a no-show.
A dedicated teledentistry platform has built-in security and HIPAA compliance. It’s important to educate your patients that a virtual visit happens on something other than a standard video feed (e.g. FaceTime, Zoom, etc).
- Create teledentistry awareness via content on your dental practice blog and social media channels.
- Provide a teledentistry/virtual dental care FAQ link on your dental practice website - featuring security and safety related benefits.
- Provide a free virtual (“open house”) visit to acquaint them with accessing and using your teledentistry platform.
Upgrade your digital patient resources
Teledentistry is effective as it exists within your practice’s broader digital environment. Patients could be more likely to stay committed to their dental visits when you provide digital-familiarity.
Let’s face it - we’re accustomed to online access to most services these days. And that trend will favor those who are equipped with patient-facing digital options.
- Design and provide an online patient portal
- Digitize your scheduling, patient forms, payment process, insurance verifications, and more.
- Provide virtual solutions for initial consultations, follow-up protocols, and referral hand-offs.
What you’re after is less reason for a patient to cancel or no-show a dental visit. The virtual environment helps tether them to your practice in a place they already invest a lot of time - online.
The user-experience around virtual dental care and teledentistry is another way you can help reduce your no-shows. Check out these resources for insight into teledentistry and its impact on your patient relationships:
Provide an alternative patient connection on a dedicated, secure teledentistry platform
Teledentix is an innovative, turn-key teledentistry solution created by Virtual Dental Care. The all-in-one platform will enable you to adapt teledentistry to your patient care and extend your services beyond the walls of your dental practice…and improve your patient care in the process.
- Teledentix provides an easy-to-use video conferencing tool that’s secure, HIPAA compliant, and specific to dentistry.
- Teledentix Basic is a perfect starting point. Begin with a free trial and then transition to a very low monthly fee. You and your patients can join unlimited video conferences including screen-share, file-share, video-share, and real-time chat communications.
LEARN MORE about the Teledentix platform.