Innovation and technology have played a major role in dentistry throughout the years. Can you imagine what a dentists’ office looked like in the olden days? What tools cavemen used to fill cavities or what machinery they used to take x-rays with? Okay, okay.. we might be going a little too far back in time, so let’s focus on what happened in the dental industry in 2018 and what we should look forward to in 2019.
New Treatment Programs
As insurance continues to evolve in the United States, membership plans will grow as a viable treatment option in 2019. These plans will include a yearly “retainer”, for which patients will receive a set of services like cleanings and x-rays. Patients who enroll in these programs will also receive a discount on fillings, crowns, and other treatments.
Why does this benefit dentists? Well, these new treatment programs will lead to increased revenue because they are a set amount paid in cash, rather than interfacing with insurance companies. These membership programs also instill loyalty because of the relationships with your team and the added discounts.
The greatest strength of a membership program, though, is that it can be highly customized for each practice. We recommend reviewing your most common services and fee structure and use those insights to shape one to three plans that offer superior service for your patients.
Dental Practices Expanding Their Services
Dental anxiety keeps many patients out of the chair, however, 2019 will be the year ‘dental spas’ become part of the industry vernacular. This idea of a relaxing space that doubles as dental office began in 2018, and we’re predicting it will continue to gain popularity this coming year.
Dental spas offer additional services like massage therapy, reflexology, aromatherapy, complimentary beverages and snacks, and heated hand mitts. These additions may sound superfluous, but they will help calm your anxious patients.
Turning your office into a dental spa doesn’t need to be an overnight evolution. Rather, begin implementing a service like aromatherapy and monitor how it supports your patients. If it significantly improves patient care, then you can begin adding additional services.
The Growth of Corporate Dentistry
Over the last decade, we’ve seen corporate dentistry grow from a few chains in metropolitan areas to a growing sector of the industry across the country. We believe that any opportunity to treat patients well is a worthwhile cause, though these chains are starting to reduce the opportunities private practices have.
In order for private practices to thrive in this evolving industry, they must adapt. This means emphasizing professional growth, patient services, and efficiency through new technology. Empower your team to build lasting connections with patients, find solutions for inefficient processes, and pursue additional certifications or training.
Growth in a changing industry requires finding your niche and spreading the word. Set a goal to invest in a marketing strategy in 2019, whether it’s a financial commitment through advertising or a time commitment through internal marketing.
In-House 3D Printers
We’re excited about the innovation in the dental restoration space, and we have been proponents of 3D printing in dentistry since it began. Now that the technology has solidified within the industry, it’s time to begin implementing it across specialties.
In 2019 expect more 3D printers in dental practices, offering expedited surgical guides and other patient-facing products. Because of the innovations over the last year, this in-house production setup can reduce patients’ out-of-pocket costs for night guards and other 3D printing-friendly appliances.
Cloud Computing Will Become the Norm
Improvements in data encryption and server security in 2017 and 2018 now offer a better way to store patient records and practice data. Safely storing patients’ EHRs used to require an IT manager on staff and physical space to house a server. Now it means transitioning to a cloud computing service that handles maintenance and resolves errors for you.
Storing your records on the cloud is ideal for multi-location practices. The records are accessible from each office so you can offer a seamless experience for every patient, regardless of location.
Make 2019 the year you transition your patient management system to a more efficient solution. Review these cloud-based dental CRMs to find the one that best fits your needs!
The dental industry is filled with opportunities to evolve, especially for those in private practice. These points of growth, including practice structure and technology, are areas to focus on for enhanced patient care in 2019. At Dental Prosthetics, we’re proud to partner with dentists for superior service and treatment. If finding a dental lab with superior aesthetics, exceptional attention to detail, and friendly customer service is on your list for 2019, give us a call. We’d be honored to partner with you.