If you’re trying to gain a competitive advantage, grow your orthodontic practice, or even just make overall enhancements, finding high-leverage strategies is important. Every orthodontic practice wants to improve; the key is finding specific areas of improvement that will make the largest impact. To succeed at this and realize an advantage over the competition, orthodontists should look to their workflow.
Research from the National Center for Biotechnical Information breaks down patient expectations of their healthcare experience into three distinct domains: health outcomes, individual clinicians, and the healthcare system. The first two have always been of high importance when it comes to patient satisfaction. But the healthcare system is often forgotten, even though it has evolved over the past twenty years because of various technologies that have enhanced the experience. It’s possible to show a strong ROI when it comes to making an investment in this area, due to an increase in patient acquisition and retention.
Every healthcare sector has experienced a technological shift, including orthodontics. One example is how 3D printing has revolutionized the industry and patient expectations. Some practices have also discovered that the orthodontic workflow itself can make a vital difference in the patient experience.
Here are five tips for improving the orthodontic workflow in your clinic.
1. Minimize errors and variability by using fewer software platforms.
Workflow, prescriptions, and orders all might have their own software and system. But this is hard to manage and expensive and can create errors and orthodontic workflow delays. Reducing the number of these platforms is possible if you can find systems that automatically complete many of these tasks. This will all be “behind the scenes” to the patient, but it will benefit them greatly by reducing the likelihood of errors due to software platforms not being fully integrated.
2. Meet patients’ needs by knowing (and communicating) the timelines for orders to be filled.
When it comes to orthodontics, patients sometimes have anxiety about the process. Any step that the practice can take to decrease this anxiety is helpful, such as the ability to communicate timelines. This information should be available through the system and should not require a call or email to the lab to check on it. Not all systems can track workflow like this, so finding one that does is essential.
3. Streamline the process of filling orders.
Workflows become delayed when orders must go through many channels to be completed. Remember, straight lines are faster than winding roads. You can “straighten the roads” by using an integrated software platform like EasyRx. Integrating the multiple steps of the process into one system makes it possible to decrease the delivery time of the devices to get them to the chair faster.
4. Ensure file compatibility.
If STL files are not compatible, it can cause delays and inaccuracies. High-powered software solutions accept dozens of file types and enable easy file sharing with in-house needs and commercial labs. The costs of inaccuracies during this step are high. No one wants to reprint or remake an orthodontic device. File compatibility helps fix this.
5. Make sure you check all the right (legal) boxes.
HIPAA compliance might seem like a minor issue until it is not, so every technology that you consider must have this box checked. Every orthodontic practice should verify this with all its software providers. The fewer different software systems that are used, the easier this will be.
These orthodontic workflow tips are just a few of the ways that a lab workflow solution can impact the healthcare experience of the patient. Having great doctors who provide great outcomes are two factors for success, but the third, often forgotten factor, the healthcare system, is also vital. By finding the right software partner, like EasyRx, which can integrate multiple systems and steps, your orthodontic practice is on the right track to success and improvement.
Here at EasyRx, we help orthodontic practices by giving them the tools that they need for comprehensive case management to streamline their workflows and achieve maximum clinical efficiency.
To see how we can help your practice get away from paper documentation, confusing spreadsheets, and costly workflow errors, contact our specialists today!