Balancing the Personal Touch with Technology: Part 1

by Carol Eaton Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Technology has infiltrated the orthodontic industry at amazing rates throughout the past 10 years. Although technology continues to be in the forefront of our practice goals, it is important to remember that it is not the bells and whistles of technology that will bring or keep patients in your practice.Implementing technology to your practice can enhance the overall practice image, streamline your daily protocols, as well as enhance your patient/parent communications. It is critical to remember the importance of balancing technology with consistent and sincere personal interaction with your patients and parents.

Benefits of Technology

  • Increases overall value and enhances perception of your practice.
  • Improves your existing communication with patients/ parents and dental peers.
  • Provides effective marketing in today’s high-tech world.
  • Streamlines the new patient process for greater efficiency.
  • Connects patients with a clear understanding of their orthodontic needs.

Having a viable, visually-appealing, and informative website is a minimum standard of technology in today’s market. Referring your patients to your website at different times during their orthodontic treatment is a great way to reinforce your high-tech message. It also begins or continues educating them about orthodontics and specifically the unique things about your practice.

If a new patient has been given more than one recommendation for an orthodontic office, the difference of a high-tech, educational website might be a strong indicator in choosing your practice over another. Providing access to your website for filling out health history forms, patient motivational contests, and online payment options are a convenient way to show your patients how doing business with you is made quite easy.

It is estimated that 72 % of people use the Internet to research medical/dental needs and influence their decisions. Your website can often be the first visual introduction to your practice, setting the foundation of your practice standards: quality, precision, branding, service, experience, and reputation.

Benefits of a Well-Designed Website

  • Visual appeal and immediate connection with today’s Internet-savvy generation.

  • Added value to your practice image/reputation as high-tech and updated.

  • Communicate more effectively with technology and visual tools.

  • Begin building rapport/relationship with the new patient/parent.

With the use of digital images, patients can better understand their orthodontic problem and be more open to the solution by accepting treatment. You should certainly show the patient his or her own clinical images to illustrate the need for treatment.

To address the solution, you can also show other patients’ clinical images to give the patient an idea of how the treatment might progress – and how lovely his or her smile will be when the treatment has run its course. Orthodontic treatment is a service, which can seem intangible to patients. Digital imaging creates a tangible dimension your patients can understand. The bottom line: people are more likely to go forward with treatment if they can see the problem – and the solution.

In this way, digital images help persuade a remote decision maker that orthodontic treatment, often regarded as simply cosmetic, has a measurable, noticeable impact on the patient’s facial anatomy. This may help move decisions from the realm of added expenses into the realm of dental care, at least in the minds of some decision-makers.

Digital images also have a very important role as a promotional tool, and you should seriously consider using clinical images in your practice’s marketing collateral. Your practice website presents an enticing, professional image that showcases your practice’s experience and accomplishments.

 About the Author

Carol EatonCarol Eaton is best known for her expertise in training treatment coordinators and streamlining the new patient process, she also focuses on enhanced communications that support and encourage orthodontics, internal marketing, team building and presenting your practice message in a professional and fun format. Carol has been involved with the dental community for over 30 years. Eaton Consulting is located in Fresno, CA. E-mail Carol or phone (559) 779-9123.

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