Has this ever happened to you...? you have a new patient arrive for their 10am appointment with you at like 9:57am. They have to fill out their medical history and remember their their medication etc, fill out their dental hostory and smile questionnaire, and also any NHS or Private forms that may be needed. You need to review all of this information, and by the time they're in your surgery it's 10:20am.
There are a few simple ways to manage this better for all your new patients:
Ask new patients to arrive early
In their email reminder, ask new patients to arrive 15 minutes early. This not only leaves time for the necessary form, but it's also the patient's first time at your office, so they may need extra time with parking and finding your entrance.
The new patient has the chance to remotely meet the dentist and make decisions with less pressure than that of the clinical environment
Schedule extra time for new patients
If a new patient books an appointment, it can be a good idea to leave some buffer time at the end of your appointment. Even if the patient arrives 15 minutes early and you don't need the buffer time, you'll have extra time to chat with them and develop a closer relationship which is great for patient retention and patient trust.
Send the Medical History Form, and Smile Questionnaire ahead of time
The best approach to these necessary forms is using software to send the form ahead of time with the welcome email. It's done automatically and will save you from waiting for a new patient to complete the forms at reception. Additionally, the forms will often be completed several days in advance, giving you the chance to read it ahead of time so you're better prepared for their visit.
Remote dentistry consultations
At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic dental Practices had to close. When they reopened they dentists were permitted to provide only a minority of dental procedures until SOPs were introduced whist prioritisation has continued. However, to ensure the safety of patients and dental workers, the pandemic has brought us regular triageing before appointments, remote forms, and remote dentistry consultations. The new patient has the chance to remotely meet the dentist and make decisions with less pressure than that of the clinical environment, ensuring the patient is more relaxed and comfortable.
Cloud software systems have made remote consultations much easier from anywhere. All you do is log in with your security details. Notes can be written contemporaneously, medical information is automatically entered into the patient record when they complete the form remotely, and follow up appointments can be made there and then into the Practice booking system. All of these come together to create a significantly better experience for new patients.