Going paperless: green dentistry can truly improve profitability

Going paperless: green dentistry can truly improve profitability

SmileVision explains the benefits of going paperless in your dental practice – both for the planet and for your profits.

Green dentistry, eco-friendly dentistry, sustainable dentistry – call it what you will, there’s a big drive at the moment for dental practices to reduce their impact on the environment and avoid wasting valuable resources.

There are many ways that you can make your dental practice greener, more eco friendly, and sustainable – everything from improving the insulation of your premises to implementing a more energy efficient sterilisation programme. However, many of them require significant financial investment that will take years to recoup.  

The quickest, easiest and least expensive way to become a more eco-friendly dental practice is to switch from paper-based communications to electronic communications. Almost every industry, including many dental practices, now use electronic media to communicate – and for a host of good reasons.

Digital marketing for practices 

The benefits of paperless communications are hard to ignore – your practice will save time, money, effort and the planet. Ignore them and you are missing out on improved productivity and profitability.

Printing is expensive, both in terms of money and resources. Especially when literature needs constant updating, wasting more paper and money every time.  

Equally important, patients prefer to get their information on a screen and to store it digitally – printed materials are likely ignored then discarded! Digital marketing materials, such as digital leaflets to promote lucrative cosmetic treatments, will be read more carefully and are easily retrieved when the patient is ready to make a decision. This means that a digital leaflet generates a much greater number of treatment bookings than a printed one – less investment plus a much better financial return.

Pre and post-appointment information 

Digital patient communications make it easy to provide patients with useful information before an appointment. This means they arrive better prepared and know what to expect. After the appointment, digital communication makes it simple to provide the patient with all the after-care information they need. You and your team will spend less time talking to patients. What’s more, patients only remember a small amount of what you tell them – a digitally delivered document they can refer back to is much better for you and them.

Digitised patient communications also provide an audit trail to demonstrate your patients have received excellent levels of care. This helps ensure that you are complying with CQC requirements and provides proof patients have been informed before, during or after a course of treatment.

Go paperless – but do it properly!

You need to design your digital leaflets, information sheets and patient messages correctly. That means delivering the content in a format that’s responsive to the device your patient is using, whether that be a smartphone, tablet or desktop – otherwise they won’t be able to read it.

Trying to read a document on your phone is not easy but when on a computer screen it is much easier. So having content that adapts to the device is important. With digital, unlike print, you are also no longer restricted to words and pictures. You can utilise video and buttons to link to functions (such as calling or visiting a website).

Dental waiting room TV

These days people are so busy and overloaded with information that their attention span is almost non-existent. Businesses find it very difficult to communicate even a small part of their offering before people mentally switch off. They’d pay a fortune for the opportunity to sit potential customers down and have their undivided attention.

Your practice has this opportunity – the waiting room! Patients waiting for their appointment are sat in a relatively distraction-free environment where they welcome a distraction – often feeling nervous about what lies ahead. They may not actively engage with posters and leaflets but waiting room TV is very hard to ignore.  

It’s important to show the right content mix and make up. If it includes news, entertainment and sport as well as information about treatments, then the levels of engagement are maximised.  

We admit to being a bit geeky about this stuff and have an unhealthy obsession with studying how to get and maintain attention long enough for viewers to understand the benefits and act on it.

We’ve spent years studying the psychology, and experimenting with different approaches, to get the best possible results for our clients.

We talk the green talk – but do we walk the green walk?

We constantly look at how we make improvements to our products and offices to increase our environmental performance. 

All our communications with customers and prospects are paperless. We recycle all our equipment and donate any kit we no longer need to schools. Our offices are powered by solar panels and have been comprehensively insulated. We invested in a hot cup as it potentially reduces the power consumed by a kettle by over 75%!

We minimise the environmental impact of travel by conducting meetings via video calls wherever possible. In a current technical project, we are looking at how to improve our software performance to reduce power consumption used at the datacentre.

The old ways of communicating are unsustainable

Whatever information you must share with your patients there really is now only one way to do it – digitally. Going paperless and switching to electronic media improves the patient experience, generates a greater number of treatment enquiries and bookings, saves your team time and reduces your cost while also demonstrating your commitment to protecting the environment. 

Book a free remote SmileVision demonstration to find out more.

This article is sponsored by SmileVision.

Get the most out of your membership by subscribing to Dentistry CPD
  • Access 600+ hours of verified CPD courses
  • Includes all GDC recommended topics
  • Powerful CPD tracking tools included
Register for webinar
Add to calendar