A goal for many offices this year is implementing an electronic and automated appointment reminder and continuing care system. This is such a great idea! Not only will you save time by having someone else do the task for you, but you will be able to fill that time with more productive things. Here are some frequently asked questions that I have heard from offices.
Q: Is email and text part of Dentrix?
A: They are part of eCentral, which is fully integrated with Dentrix. eCentral is a big umbrella that includes Communication Manager, Insurance Manager and Website Manager. I will focus today on the Communication Manager, which includes email, postcards and texting. With this product, you can set the frequency of the correspondence, customize the email message and choose from hundreds of template selections. What do I think is the best part of it all? It will update the status of the appointment instantly.
Q: I am not sure about texting as part of our appointment confirmation procedure. What do you think?
A: When I first initiated text messaging, I was very nervous—and I hear the same thing from other offices. However, the majority of the confirmations from most of my offices (including my own) come from text. I was surprised by this, but more people walk in and say, “I love the text messages” than call and say, “Take me off the text message list.” We have more than 70% of our patient base opting in for text and only slightly more than 50% opting in for email—and my office is in a huge retirement community.
Q: I signed up with eCentral but I don’t know where to start. What do you suggest?
A: You don’t want to overload the patient with too many messages. For appointment confirmations, I suggest sending out a postcard to all the hygiene patients two weeks before their appointment. Since you know everyone has an address and these patients have been scheduled for the longest amount of time, they all need a reminder and you don’t want to miss anyone. Next, I would send an email confirmation out five to seven days before all appointments. This gives the patient the opportunity to confirm the appointment through the email and saves your office a phone call. The final message I would send is a text message out 24 hours prior to their appointment.
Q: What if patients do not want to get text messages because they don’t have an unlimited plan?
A: If patients are upset because they had to pay 50 cents for a text message I sent, I would offer a $5 credit for their trouble at the next visit and then remove that patient from all future text messages. It is very easy to remove the patient from specific correspondence methods when using eCentral. Open the Websync toolbar (while in the patient’s account), click the wrench, then select patient setup and uncheck text.
Q: Can I edit the content of the email? I don’t like the wording.
A: Yes, if you open the Communication Manager in eCentral, you can go to edit email templates from the drop-down menu. Then if you select the template and click edit, it will open the template in an edit window where you can change the words, font or merge fields.
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