The current outbreak of COVID-19 is quickly changing our lives in unprecedented ways. This has placed a unique burden on the dental community as we navigate and adjust to new protocols and guidelines.
A current issue dental practices must tackle is, what exactly does physical distancing look like for my practice and my patients? We want to stress that distancing should NOT mean isolation from your patients. Rather, this is a critical time to reach out and connect with your patients in new ways, cementing your relationships with them and providing them with the comfort of knowing that you are there to care for them during this difficult time.
Luckily, there’s a multitude of resources available to enable you to do this more easily than ever before. Thanks to technology, there is so much that can be done virtually, including teledentistry. Here are some ways to strengthen your practice and support your patients during this vulnerable time.
- Keep lines of communication open- First, make sure to answer your phone during regular business hours even if your practice is not active right now. Utilize call forwarding or your answering service to ensure that there is a person on the other end when a patient calls. In addition, providing various other methods for open dialogue, inquires, and consultations are essential. People are tuned into technology more than ever, so ensure your practice is equipped to communicate through email, social media, and phone/text. Needless to say, make sure to return calls and reply to inquiries in a timely manner.
- Be a role model-Use social media to post pictures/videos/live updates and connect with your patient community. When they see you practicing healthy dental and overall well-being habits, they’ll be encouraged to do the same. We have created some sample posts for you to use that can be found here.
- Provide consistent care-Assure patients that even in the absence of face-to-face contact, their level of care will be maintained. In fact, teledentistry eliminates office wait times, driving to and from appointments, and other constraints, leaving more time during the appointment for dentists and patients to talk.
- Give patients a reason to smile-We could all use an extra reason to smile during this time. Providing positive messages through encouragement, inspiration, and humor go a long way.
Some may wonder about patient reluctance to adapt to new technological changes. Recent studies in teledentistry show that 70% of patients are comfortable communicating with their practice via email, text, or video. Furthermore, 30% of patients are already using some form of technology to check medical information.
Practices should be prepared to address questions and concerns from their community as they arise. When people know they can rely on you, it quells their fears and helps strengthen their relationship and confidence in your care.
GLO is committed to helping our partner practices navigate this new and challenging reality. Our website and social media pages will continue providing you with helpful tools to maintain a successful practice while physical distancing regulations are in place.
Please visit our website at glosciencepro.com for customizable templates, video tutorials, and FAQ’s. GLO Science products like ECO Balance and Take-Home Teeth Whitening Kits are also great at-home supplements for routine visits that may need to be postponed.
We encourage you to continue reminding patients that good oral care leads to better overall health. By implementing some of these initiatives in your practice, you’ll be sure to strengthen patient relationships, creating an even more loyal patient base, both now and for the future.