At the heart of every successful dental practice is excellent internal communication. And the way in which dentists, hygienists, and other staff members have achieved optimal communication with each other has evolved over time.
While strong communication isn’t always highly visible to the casual onlooker (aka, your patients), poor communication definitely is. In fact, poor internal communication leads to errors, low productivity, employee frustration, and negative patient experience.
Effective communication, on the other hand, often goes unnoticed because it simply is expected once the right technology and processes are in place. The choreography looks seamless after time.
So how do you go about setting your practice up for success?
To improve internal communication, successful dental practices are implementing intra-office communication systems. These systems have come a long way from traditional intercoms and light boards.
Modern technology and the rise of instant messaging on any device allows for more effective communication. However, not all systems are created equal, nor are they created exclusively for dentistry. With all of the available options, which one should you choose?
How to Choose the Best Intra-office Communication System
1. Evaluate Your Needs
Regardless of the size of your dental practice, your needs will be unique. We all have different methods for running our practices, various styles of management, and myriad personalities to pull together as a team.
The needs of your dental practice should be met with any efforts to improve internal communication.
To begin, assess the style of communication that best fits your practice and people to determine if instant messaging and notifications will be embraced. If your staff is welcoming to new technology, you’re already a step ahead. That being said, look for a reputable provider that also includes training and ongoing support as needed.
2. Consider Your Goals
Why are you looking to improve communication between members of your staff? Are you looking to increase productivity? Improve the patient experience? A combination of both?
Consider your goals for purchasing an intra-office communication system and be sure to address them with the vendor.
The best systems are part of singular platform to make sure your practice stays compliant with internal and external communications, as well as increase your profits and grow your practice.
Rather than piecemealing disparate systems for internal communication, patient recall, and compliance, you may want to consider all of your communication goals from the start.
3. Determine Your Budget
In the past, communication systems often required installation of new equipment which resulted in higher upfront costs and a disruption of service. The latest systems don’t require such heavy lifting.
As a result, you can be up and running with an intra-office communication system using devices you already own (desktops, tablets, smartphones, and smartwatches) much faster and at a lower price point.
However, there are nuances to the pricing of modern systems. Ask vendors what your options are. Find out what can be done to adjust your level of service, should your needs, goals, and budget change over time.
4. Research Your Options
The best way to determine which communication system to choose is to put in the research. Quality vendors will be willing to provide live demos of their products to answer any questions you may have.
Also look for reviews from other dentists and thought leaders in dentistry publications and on third-party review sites. A combination of online research and hands-on demonstrations is a great way to ensure the right fit.
Choosing an intra-office communication system for your dental practice shouldn’t feel overwhelming. Take these steps to better your practice and improve productivity.
Looking for more information to compare communication systems for your practice? Download our free guide.