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The Future of Oral Health in the Wake of the Pandemic 

By KJ Anderson

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Blog Home    The Future of Oral Health in the Wake of the Pandemic 
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How do dental practices  communicate with clinical teams to ensure they effectively operate in a new work environment?

What role will the dentist play in systemic healthcare? 

Answers to these questions were recently answered by two thought-leaders in the oral health industry. 

During a recent QSIDental webinar, Practical Tactics to Recover Strategically, Mike Jettner, CAO at DecisionOne Dental Partners, and Roger Squire, VP, Strategic Initiatives & Revenue Operations at 42 North Dental, shed light on issues shaping their industry. The discussion covered multiple timely topics— efforts to protect their patients and employees, internal communications, technology to enhance the patient experience, tactics to maintain production goals, as well as the connection between oral health and systemic health. 

Highest safety standards

Dental practices were diligent in establishing and maintaining safety measures from the point patients entered the office, to the moment  they leave. Significant changes in the way practices operate helped ensure a safe work environment and protected the patient’s health regardless of the extra costs for PPE, time spent on sanitizing equipment, and changing protective clothing for every patient visit.

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the oral health industry’s commitment to maintaining the highest safety standards for both patient and employee. This culture of safety reflects the close attention to detail in sterilization, protective barriers, masks, face shields, and other infection control practices which made dental offices one of the safest places to go during the pandemic. Also, dental organizations have  maximized weekly internal communications with staff and providers  to ensure consistent messaging regarding safety protocols.

Greater reliance on patient engagement

Increased reliance on patient engagement tools has reduced the need for waiting rooms and streamlined workflow, so patients can go straight to the dental chair for their treatments. 
When a patient receives an advanced notice via text, phone, or email explaining what to expect when they arrive for their appointment, there is a quicker transition from the COVID-19 screening to treatment. Online, pre-visit forms and payment options are other tools that can save time for staff and providers so they can focus more on dental care. 

Dental organizations are also optimizing external communications to stay connected with patients. Practices are sending out a higher volume of emails and texts which convey the importance of scheduled examinations and teeth cleaning visits. The messaging is a helpful tactic to fill in hygiene schedules in the upcoming months. This outreach can be particularly useful for patients who have not seen their dentists for a long time. 

Through QSIDental® Web integration with MMG Fusion, patient outreach can become an automated process. For example, patients who are overdue for their teeth cleaning can be easily grouped into an email campaign, then  followed up on with a phone call/text to schedule an appointment. 

Dentists’ role in systemic care

For the two oral health organizations - DecisionOne Dental Partners and 42 North Dental, business is bouncing back. Demand is increasing  since patients who want to restore their care routine, are making  up for the lost time during the shutdown. Patients' sense of urgency helps make up for some lost revenue which was experienced during  the early stages of the pandemic.

The increasing demand is also linked to a growing awareness of how oral health is closely related to systemic health. This connection elevates dental care as a necessity for complete wellness. After all, dentists can detect warning signs that a patient may have heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other serious conditions, during a routine exam to  look for and treat periodontal diseases.

The oral health community’s role in a patient’s overall health will continue to evolve. Dental practices will take steps to offer health screenings in their menu of services beyond routine, traditional dental care. 

Watch the webinar now to glean some insights which  may assist  your dental health organization  to not only recover from the shutdown, but also prepare for future success. 

 

KJ Anderson

Regional Manager, QSIDental

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