We teamed up with Dr. Addison Killeen of the Dental Success Network and Kevin Tallman from Mango to discuss how the right dental practice software and tech tools help you focus on your dentistry, not your front desk.
Flex Highlights: Dr. Addison Killeen (AK), Kevin Tallman (KT), Ashley Palen (AP)
4:48 - Patient Messaging / Reminders & Confirmations
AK: Ashley, as part of the product development team at Flex, and a former office manager in a dental office, how does keeping records and texting with patients play out?
AP: Within Flex, the messages are housed within the Communicator too, so if you're wanting to just see the communication you've had with certain patients, you can see all of that in the desktop app. But when we sync with Open Dental, you have it in the CommLog. You can see the two-way messages, so you can see your patient responses and what your team said.
It's really easy to keep that consistent and keep accountability. I know in our office, I was the Flex user in the practice before I joined the Flex team, and we used the communication tools heavily and could look back and see "What conversations did we have?" "Did this patient know when the appointment was?"
All of the communication can be automated, too, so when they show up to the office and say, "Oh, I thought it was yesterday!" or "I thought the appointment was tomorrow!", you could say "Well you responded "yes" to your confirmation text!"
6:05 - Online Scheduling and ROI
AK: As we market to these patients to fill open chair time, patients are either calling or looking for appointments after hours. When that occurs, you have a couple of tools at your disposal to capture those patients or funnel them in later, the first being online scheduling. As a doctor looking to take on the extra cost of online scheduling with FlexSchedule, what is the ROI on that, and can you tell how many patients are scheduling after hours vs working hours?
AP: Definitely. FlexSchedule as a standalone is $199/mo, with which doctors are averaging about 15 new patients a month. So it more than pays for itself month-over-month. If you already have the base Flex subscription, it only adds $99/mo, so you really only need a patient or two to pay for the subscription.
We've done studies on our side with our customers who use FlexSchedule, and they have about 41% of their new patients who are booking outside of your normal 8:00am - 5:00pm workday. So they're getting almost half of their online appointments scheduled when their patients couldn't even make a call to the office.
If you're an office trying to fill chair time, with online scheduling, not having to have a human available 24/7 to answer the phone really helps.
8:12 - Paperwork and Forms
AK: When a new patient books outside of working hours, do they instantaneously get paperwork emailed to them?
AP: Absolutely! As soon as they set up their appointment, it's automatically sent to Open Dental. Flex will then send them new patient forms through text, email, or both. Once filled out on their phone, it's automatically synced to Open Dental and they're off to the races with reminders and confirmations too! There's nothing that the office needs to do to put them into the workflow. Once they schedule, we'll do the rest!
12:00 - Missed calls and Messages
AP: Offices can look for missed call messages in the Communicator. So, it's really easy to capture the lead. Maybe the patient didn't text back, or they tried to call, you have the record because we sent a missed-call text message.
16:00 - Payment Collection and Resending Statements
AK: Another use for messaging is with payments, both at the time of service and if there are leftover balances. Flex Added in payment options a while back. How does Flex send out statements? Can you send as a batch or single? How do you do that?
AP: They are sent individually. There's a tab in Flex that lets you see the patients in your practice that still have balances. And one of the things that I really like is that we look at everything on the procedure code level. So when you send a statement via Flex, which you can do through text or email, they're going to be able to see exactly what they have the balance for. Was it a child's cleaning, their crown, etc? You can see that all at the code level.
You can also see insurance payments or if they've already made a payment for something else - all of that information is included. You can send family statements, too, if multiple people in one family have a balance, it's available there. We're integrating a new feature to allow offices to auto-send statements that haven't been opened or paid. Your can automate your re-sends to say, for example, you want to send them out every two weeks with a maximum of five re-sends, then that patient will continue to get those re-sends until the statement is paid. You don't have to keep manually re-sending those statements.
Of course, in-office, if you're an office with multiple providers, you can make sure those providers are appropriately credited through those procedure codes too.
We're basically making sure your team doesn't have to do anything with the Open Dental ledger, except enter insurance checks or cash payments. All the rest, you'll handle through Flex, and we'll take care of the ledger for you!
18:24 - Payment by Phone
AK: When I get a paper bill from my children's medical doctor, its so infuriating to have to pay by paper check or some random website portal. (With Flex) These text messages come right to the patient's phone, they type in their birthday to satisfy HIPAA, and they can just pay with Apple Pay or their credit card. That just makes payments so much easier and solves the cashflow issues when you don't collect in a timely manner.
19:55 - Treatment Planning
AK: In Flex, you guys were one of the first to come up with this treatment planning module. Could you us how that works in an office?
AP: Yeah! This is one of my favorite features and one of the things that sold me when I was a client evaluating our options. In the treatment plan, you can do an itemized or simplified view, so if your office prefers not to give an itemized cost for every procedure code you can skip that. You can even present patients financing options, so if you give them a discount or payment options through third-party financing or in-office financing, all of that information can be adjusted on the fly in the treatment plan too. You can set default parameters, then change it as needed on a per-patient basis.
The other great thing about the treatment plan is the signature tab, so patients can sign on their phone via text or email, or they can sign on a tablet in the office, and we'll automatically drop that .pdf into the Open Dental images module. You don't have to worry about printing and scanning and importing. Flex eliminates those steps and it all happen automatically.
26:20 - Flex Mobile App
AK: The Flex Mobile app is a huge value-add because you can continue conversations with patients outside of working hours without using your personal phone number. Do most doctors use the mobile app after hours?
AP: Yeah, especially on the weekends, doctors and office managers will keep track of text messages coming in. One of my favorite features in the app is you can double tap a text message to pin it which basically marks it as unread, and it'll be waiting on you Monday morning.
The other thing you can do with the app is interact with your schedule. You can add appointments and reschedule appointments, and all of that will translate back to your Open Dental schedule. It's a great way to stay in touch with the office without giving out your personal information. When you text through the app, it still has your business sign if your have Mango.
28:10 - Tips and Tricks
AK: Are there any final tips and tricks that we may not know, but should?
AP: One thing that's really cool and unique to Flex that offices may not be aware of is the level of customization they have with their forms. For patients that you may want to refer somewhere else, you can build a customer referral form you can send out to a doctor's office. This is one of my favorite forms for specialty practices. They can create a custom referral form on their website. They can attach images like an x-ray or an intraoral photo. And all of that can be built in the forms editor with Flex. The form editor is really powerful.