During this pandemic, the CDC*recommends dental patients “wait in a personal vehicle or outside the dental facility.” Your practice should “construct” a virtual waiting room so that patients can maintain physical distancing by not waiting in your office’s reception area.
Construction of this virtual waiting room begins long before a patient’s appointment — and strong patient communication is the foundation. Your practice management and patient communication software provide the tools you need to easily build it by helping you efficiently communicate new policies and protocols to your patients well in advance of their appointments.
Here’s a blueprint with five steps you can take to successfully construct your virtual waiting room:
1. Update Your Website
Your practice’s website should clearly inform patients of your new procedures regarding what they should do before they arrive for their appointments, including filling out their forms online. List the symptoms of COVID-19 and encourage patients to reschedule if they are experiencing any of them.
2. Customize Automatic Appointment Reminders
Use customized appointment reminder emails/texts to describe your new policies and tell patients what to expect when they arrive at your office. Set up your software to automatically send the message several days before the appointment.
3. Promote Your Patient Portal
Let patients know that they need to fill out forms online, before their appointment. Encourage patients to use or sign up for your online Patient Portal — and include a link to the portal in the message.
4. Update Your Forms
Update your online medical history and new patient forms to ask patients about COVID-19. Review these forms as the patients submit them, and use responses to screen patients who may need to reschedule.
5. Send Automated Next-Day Reminders
Use your software to automatically send tomorrow’s patient an email or text message that reminds them of your new policies, including the need to wait in their vehicle. The patient can then send your office a text notifying you of their arrival, and your office will use your software’s two-way texting to let them know when it is time to come inside.
By using your practice management software and patient communication tools to follow this blueprint, you can build a virtual waiting room that will comply with CDC guidelines and help keep patients and your team safe and happy.
If you don’t have some of these tools, Henry Schein One can help. To learn more about how Dentrix Patient Engage — with Demandforce and Officite — can help you construct your virtual waiting room, call 833.288.9414 or click here for a demo.