Think positive – the new ‘contactless’ patient journey is good news for everyone
Guy Meyers, Software of Excellence customer success and marketing director, explores how a new ‘contactless’ patient journey will help ensure safety of patients and staff.
The last four months have presented challenges to the provision of global dental care that none of us could have envisaged. But now that practices are starting to reopen and we slowly start to build our ‘new-normal’ life, dentistry also needs to start rebuilding routine attendance. As well as dealing with the re-introduction of many treatments, which by their very nature are aerosol generating.
Dentistry going forward is undoubtedly going to become a very different experience for patients and staff for some time to come. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative experience.
Before lockdown, less than 50% of UK adults were regularly visiting the dentist. It’s true that public worries about returning to what they may regard as a high-risk environment compounds this.
But dentists can bring a positive angle to some of the new measures they introduce. Using dental software can create a ‘new’ contactless patient journey, that is a smooth and streamlined operation.
Alleviating the fear
Thanks to HTM 01-05, dental practices are already highly skilled in infection control. With well-established protocols that are regularly checked and audited against government standards.
The specific COVID-19 related guidance issued by the Offices of the CDOs in England, Scotland and Wales, the FGDP and toolkits published by the BDA and SDCEP, cover in detail the administrative and clinical processes that should be put in place to assure patient and staff safety.
We have to work hard to assure patients that it’s safe to return to the dentist. This means providing a smooth, efficient and above all, safe, patient journey. Making the most of the tools and support that will help to communicate a new way of safely delivering dentistry.
The new ‘contactless’ patient journey
Following official guidance, Software of Excellence has identified seven distinct stages that will create a safe, contactless patient journey:
- How patients find a dentist online
- Booking an appointment
- Pre-appointment preparation
- Contactless arrivals
- In-practice infection control measures
- Contactless departures and card payments
- Post-treatment patient follow-up and digital communication.
One of the key principles noted in the OCDO of England’s guidance is to ‘minimise all face-to-face patient contact’. This element underpins all the stages we have categorised.
Dental software technology can help practices achieve this ‘contactless’ goal. It can make online appointment bookings, remote completion of pre appointment forms and self-check-in accepted parts of the ‘new normal’. And in fact, make them positive contributory factors in creating a smooth and seamless patient journey.
As a result of the enforced changes, practices will look and feel different to patients. Pro-actively communicating the new processes via your website and through direct-to-patient digital communications are essential aspects of managing patient expectations about how your practice will operate safely within the limitations imposed.
Patients are still understandably anxious about how safe it is to return for dental treatment. Using the tools available in dental software will help to manage risk and alleviate patient concerns. All whilst improving communication and streamlining workflows.
As dentistry gets to grips with living with COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to consider what steps you can make to maintain patient confidence as you strive to deliver high quality clinical care.
For more information about how Software of Excellence can help you transform your patients’ experience, visit: www.softwareofexcellence.co.uk.
Read more about the seven stages of the contactless patient journey atsoftwareofexcellence.co.uk/contactless-patient-journey.