Video Consultation And Triage For Dentists

Reaching patients safely and building future business

viewing video on smartphoneIn these difficult times, the priority for the team here at Dental Media over the last week has been to get hundreds of essential COVID-19 updates and announcements in place on dentist’s websites. That and re-organising our team so that they can work safely.

Despite the challenges facing all of us, please be assured that our team members are in place in various locations and continuing to provide a full service for our clients.

We have developed remote working strategies over several years and we are able to work effectively with secure access to all of our systems. Our plan is to be here for you throughout this period of uncertainty and we wish you all the best with your own business challenges in the coming months.

Whilst consolidation and survival will be at the forefront of most people’s minds at the moment, when the dust settles a little, we will likely find time to start considering how to prepare for the future and, hopefully, take advantage of the upsurge in business when the crisis finally passes.

With this in mind and with an eye on providing some form of business continuity, I thought it would be worth recapping on a technique we’ve been using with several of our clients for a number of years, well before coronavirus reared its ugly head. That technique is video consultation for dentists – let’s take a look at how it can be used in the broader marketing context and more specifically during the current isolation crisis.

Video consultation – the tools

Let’s start at the front end of the process and the obvious need to secure potential new dental patients who are interested in your services in the first place. Make no mistake, now is not the time to start broadcasting lots of ads about brace treatments etc on social media – people are still in “lock down” shock and need to get over that. In fact we saw one dental ad recently which had been commented on adversely – the time isn’t right just at the moment. Get it wrong and the adverse effect on your brand could be quite significant.

However, when the dust settles a little and people start thinking about the future and making plans, it makes good sense to start picking up new enquiries and adding them to the pipeline. This is where is does make sense to start considering carefully crafted advertising as people ramp up their web activity, and not just trying to buy groceries! But it’s crucial to get the timing right. Perhaps use this time to plan, prepare your video consultation page and think about how best to offer your services as we come out at the other side of the crisis.

DIY video conferencing

Modern technology gives us the opportunity to video call with ease. There are several well-know tools to facilitate this including Skype, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, Zoom and more. Several of these are free and what’s more, most people are familiar with one or more of them. You will also need a website page or landing page which details your conferencing service and how to use it. This will typically include a contact form to allow the user to get in touch with you and to express their interest. From there you arrange a time for the call and hopefully secure a substantial new treatment case as a result.

A more professional approach

Whilst the DIY approach will certainly be enough to get you moving, there are also video conferencing services available which allow you to interact with potential new patients without them having to download anything at all. You simply set up the initial consultation and then send the link to the patient via text or email. They click and the conference starts. You will also be notified via the administration system and via text so you are ready to go.

These types of systems can also be customised to your own brand so it will be a familiar experience, particularly for existing patients. You can even queue calls, add appointments to an appointment calendar and see the history of events in your admin console. The system will even test that the user’s microphone and camera works – so no embarrassing mess ups. Suffice to say that these systems are super secure, GDPR compliant and a couple of them are actually designed specifically for medical use.

Is it expensive to use? It may sound expensive to deploy a system like this but it isn’t. You can get going for around £35 per month. It is important to note that this will be your own account and not sharing a system as you would be with some of the systems being offered by other dental marketing companies. Security and data control is paramount of course, so you need to be certain that you are not taking any risks or inadvertently sharing data.

Using video conferencing for triage

We are in uncertain times and whilst there is a clear need for emergency dental services, there is also a pressing need to protect the dental team. Part of this process could be video triage whereby the practice ascertains, to the best of their ability, the health condition of the patient before they attend the practice. Whilst this can never be 100% certain, it certainly adds to the layers of protection before treatment actually takes place. This is a small investment for a powerful tool. When the current challenge is behind us, the video triage system can then be re-purposed for other purposes, i.e. remote initial consultations to improve practice efficiency.

Getting set up

Dental video consultation and triage has never been more relevant than now. With just a small, manageable investment and some careful planning, you can get set up and ready to go quickly. This is set to become a key feature in dental practices as dentists set up to preserve business continuity in these testing times. To get started or for more advice, please call the team at Dental Media on 01332 672548.