Who’s your customer?

In order to compete in today’s healthcare market, dentists running private practices need to also think of their practice as a business, know the channels through which their business communicates with and reaches paying customers, then cultivate those channels.

Endodontics is a Referral Business

For specialists like endodontists, the vast majority of patients are referred to them by general dentists, who in effect act as their ‘sales agents’. However, unlike a typical sales agent, general dentists are not generally paid a monetary fee for referring patients. Instead, general dentists are ‘paid’ with the currency of service, care, and trust. Both the service provided directly to them as well as in the care provided to their patients. They need to trust their patients will be provided the utmost care, compassion, attention, and thoughtful followup.

Benefits and Costs of Referring

The value of service is the difference between benefits and costs. For a general dentist, the benefits of referring to an endodontist may be better equipment, additional chair capacity, or specialized skills. Benefits of referring to a particular endodontist over others may include the extra time and attention patients are given by the endodontist throughout their visits, their track record of successful treatment outcomes — both physical and emotional, their consistent and outstanding reliability in following up with patients after treatment, their ability to cultivate positive patient perceptions and online reputations, the particular ease experienced when coordinating treatments with them, the extra visibility they provide into patient status, and the ease experienced in communicating with them when needed. The costs considered when referring to an endodontist may include costs of disruption, risks of poor patient outcomes, risks of poor patient perceptions, lack of visibility into patient status, difficulties coordinating treatments and communicating with them when needed, and others.

General Dentists are Customers

To win in a competitive market , it’s important for endodontists to increase the value of their service to general dentists and their patients. Deliver more benefits and satisfaction at lower cost to general dentists. Provide the most comprehensive physical and emotional care and attention to patients throughout their office visit and after. To do so begins with a clear ‘customer orientation’ that guides the behaviors of every member of an endodontic clinic’s staff in how to provide excellent customer service both to general dentists and to the general dentist’s customers, their patients.

Your endodontic clinic practices both medicine and business. Orient your customer service to your referring general dentists. The better your endodontic practice works with your general dentists, the more everyone wins, including, most importantly, the patients you share.

Consider the cloud before purchasing endodontic practice management software

Cloud software has mostly replaced in-office servers, and for good reason. Cloud software eliminates a whole spectrum of hidden costs and risks associated with owning your own server. And while many assume the cloud is less secure than a server protected by their own lock and key, they forget that a server on an office network connected to an Internet connection is also on the cloud! Not only are the security measures used by professional cloud providers far superior to those available to a typical small business, specialized cloud providers also add strict compliance controls for standards like HIPAA. When purchasing or upgrading your endodontic practice management software, consider:

Would I rather:

  1. Pay for endodontic practice management software server and client licenses, pay for server management software, pay for server and backup hardware, pay for backup power equipment, pay for HIPAA-qualified IT consultants and services to monitor and maintain my servers, pay for server software license upgrades every few years, pay to upgrade my server hardware every few years, pay for all this again when opening a new location, and manage a variety of byzantine HIPAA server security procedures myself– and all the while hope the server in my office will not be stolen, damaged, improperly handled, or crash — or
  2. Pay for a cloud-based endodontic practice management solution and leave the rest to the experts?

Merideth speaks a bit more about the benefits the cloud can provide practices in her latest video:

You are invited to speak directly with Merideth to learn about how the cloud and Dental EMR can benefit your unique practice.