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Dental Tribune U.S. Edition

A8 Dental Tribune U.S. Edition | March 2013 CLINICALINDUSTRY NEWS Use an online ‘ecosystem’ to find, attract and keep patients The digital age is completely changing the way dental practices and patients interact. The days of low-tech marketing efforts are long gone. The need for personal contact from a patient’s perspective has been rendered less important with the advent of digital communications, as patients increasingly state they prefer the convenience of online, on-demand information. Interestingly, 93 percent of There are four key outcomes that drive a sound patient-engagement strategy. Each of the outcomes is interrelated and work in concert to position a dental prac- tice for sustained growth and stability. New patient acquisition The first step in acquiring new patients is making them aware of your practice. Be where your prospective patients are — online. This includes an optimized website, having an established presence in the social media world, and the ability to be present on search results. The next step is being chosen. An optimized website is the corner- stone of a successful patient engage- ment strategy. Achieve this by building your site based on patient behavior and ensuring that it can be easily found by prospective patients within your region. This includes content, design and search engine optimization. Practice loyalty While finding prospective patients helps offset attrition, it’s always easier to keep a patient than acquire a new one. To ef- fectively manage a dental practice for profitability it is imperative that you retain relationships with existing pa- tients. Gain practice loyalty by respond- ing to patient preferences. A digital patient communication sys- tem offers a secure site that offers a comprehensive list of online services such as automated reminders, auto- mated calling, invoice review and on- line payment. This part of your strategy seeks to deepen the relationship with patients while reducing administrative burden on office staff. Practice loyalty can also be defined as patient engage- ment, which speaks to interacting with current patients in their arena. Your patients are avid social media users, and having a strong presence on these platforms promotes interaction and builds stronger relationships. Increased treatment plan adoption This same portal also provides a new lev- el of education and understanding for your patients. It lets patients review ad- vanced treatment plans and helps them articulate the benefits of the procedure recommendations. Suddenly the dental practice is transformed from the role of Hinman BOOTH nO. 1646 patients find it more convenient to find answers online com- pared with calling the office. Patients have embraced the digital age, and practices must adjust to their patients’ preferences and be where their patients are —online. A digital strategy focused directly on patient engagement is now imperative to grow and maintain a long-term, sustainable practice. A digital patient communication system offers a secure site with a comprehensive list of online services, such as automated reminders, automated calling, invoice review and online payment. Photo/Provided by Sesame Communications Ad ” ECOSYSTEM, page A9