- Canadian public spends about $12.2 Billion per year on dental services
- Chatbots can help your dental practice increase revenue by speeding up response times, freeing up staff for more dental-related work and automatically booking appointments reducing no-shows
“Thanks to AI and chatbots, the future of dentist appointment booking is here. Is your dental practice ready?”
It’s 11 PM on a Tuesday. Mireya, a shift worker at Highland Valley Copper Mine, got called into work by her boss due to a shortage of staff for Wednesday. She accepted the shift for Wednesday at 7am. Mireya frantically panics because she has a root canal appointment with your clinic at 11am on Wednesday. She called your phone to leave a message. Meanwhile, the voicemail was full. Then she noticed on your website she can just send a text message to reschedule via a 24/7/365 chatbot appointment system. When the chatbot responds to the message, Mireya stops to panic.
In under 15 seconds, the chatbot appointment system understands her intention of wanting to cancel and reschedule. It even gave her free slots for Friday and rescheduled her in for her much needed root canal appointment.
After waking up on Wednesday, she was able to make her shift. Your dental clinic was able to fit in another patient on the waitlist for 11am on Wednesday and you kept your revenue for that 3-hour slot.
What is a chatbot appointment system?
First, a chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the internet.
A dentist chatbot appointment system allows patient to interact with an artificial intelligence (AI) program that schedules appointments based on your practice calendar and policy. It uses natural language understanding (NLU) to interact with the patient.
A sample conversation might be “When would you like to schedule the appointment?”, “Thursday”, “When on Thursday?”, “Noon”, “Your appointment for cleaning has been scheduled for Thursday at 12PM”.
How is my current appointment system impacting my bottom line?
According to Dental Health Services (DHS), there were 19,563 licensed dentists in Canada in 2010. In 2006, dentists saw an average of 61 patients a week. Canadian public spends about $12.2. Billion per year on dental services, which is on average of $623,626 per dentist. Given this amount of dollars spent, about 10% are no-show dental appointments. This is > $60,000 per year thrown down the drain. The very worst case you and your practice can be leaving $155,906 (25% no-show) or more on the table.
Not only is the bottom line affected, the dentist, hygienist, dental assistants, denturists scheduled for that time have nothing to do. This can lead to overall inefficiency of your dental practice.
How to reduce no-shows
According to an informal survey of specialists at Toronto General Hospital, no-show or cancellation rate can be higher between 20 and 25% for doctors who didn’t provide their patient with a pre-appointment reminder. Saying that, you can make reminder phone calls, send manual text messages and send postcards.
These solutions can reduce the number of no-shows but requires some form of human intervention that can be costly and error-prone.
A more holistic approach is to use artificial intelligent chatbot appointment systems. That’s a mouthful, isn’t it? These chatbots automatically allow patients to book, confirm, cancel, reschedule and remind them of dental appointments.
They aid faster response time, open 24x7x365
Patients can book any time of day, on holiday and any day based on treatment plans.
Appointment chatbots can enable your dental practice to get a virtual reception that gives increased productivity and efficiency gains.
Better patient experience, at a lower cost
Letting chatbots book appointments at dental offices frees up receptionist time to handle more complex task. It allows your practice to provide better patient service. It optimizes the number of receptionists and increase staff satisfaction because of repetitive nature of routine appointment booking workflows. When the chatbot cannot satisfy the patient request for appointment, the chatbot can pass on the call to the receptionist while providing the context of the call.
Human-only appointment booking systems can affect the bottom of your dental practice. Chatbots using artificial intelligence is a way to assist your receptionist and allow your dentist practice to increase its revenue.
Maybe tomorrow, you can talk to you office manager or coordinator about no-show. Let me know the effect of no-shows in the comment.
- How chatbots can help reduce customer service costs by 30% https://www.ibm.com/blogs/watson/2017/10/how-chatbots-reduce-customer-service-costs-by-30-percent/
- The Cost of No Shows https://static1.squarespace.com/static/570fc4338a65e27bed147ea1/t/57ed18f38419c2255ba70de5/1475156211779/The-Cost-of-No-Shows.pdf
- Prevalence, predictors and economic consequences of no-shows https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4714455/
- Dental Health Services in Canada, Facts and Figures 2010 https://www.med.uottawa.ca/sim/data/Dental/Dental_Health_Services_in_Canada_June_2010.pdf
- Should patients pay when they miss a doctor appointment? http://health.sunnybrook.ca/navigator/patients-pay-miss-doctor-appointment/
- How Is Online Appointment Scheduling Beneficial To A Medical Practice? https://gainfy.com/how-is-online-appointment-scheduling-beneficial-to-a-medical-practice/