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Visual Cues: Ensure A Better Experience For Your Dental Patients

by | Oct 16, 2018 | Product Updates

Many dental practices are plagued by inefficiencies. For years, everything existed on paper and, both clinical and administrative teams had to rely on paper charts and employee’s memory to make sure that everything gets done efficiently and with fewer errors. Today, practices rely on software to store vast amounts of patient data. We have more data than ever, but it resides in disparate parts of the practice management software.  Quickly retrieving this information when needed is still a challenge because care teams do not have the time to sift through all the information to determine what is actionable.

In many practices, the front office team is still spending time on printing out routing slips and highlighting actionable data on every page.  In other dental offices, sticky notes and word of mouth communication are utilized to relate important information about patients’ medications, health conditions, balances, and additional vital information that could affect patient care. Both processes are terribly inefficient and crucial information is being missed. Because a dental office is a very interrupted environment where every member of the team is helping patients, sometimes, there is just not enough time to comb through the patient record to find every bit of relevant information. Other times, employees might overlook an important alert or reminder. To make sure that critical information is not missed, some practice management software created pop-up alerts designed to warn dental teams of anything that requires attention. These pop-up alerts usually contain a lot of text and, sometimes, they are repetitive, unnecessary, or get in the way. When this happens, the dentist and employees may reflexively ignore or override the alerts and thus miss new and valid notifications of potential problems. This “alert fatigue” is one of many ways in which the complex interaction between clinicians and digital records can contribute to missed opportunities or unintentional patient harm.

Seeing Is Doing:

Interactive and visual decision-support tools have become essential in providing exceptional patient care and improving treatment outcomes. One such tool is YAPI Virtual Dashboard, an innovative solution that offers critical insights and real-time actionable information to help dentists and their team make better decisions about patient care quickly and with fewer mistakes or missed opportunities. Imagine a different workflow for your dental practice. One in which YAPI scans your practice management software automatically, searching for relevant information and delivering the most critical, actionable information on one screen. Instead of browsing digital files, printing routing slips, and clicking and navigating multiple tabs, you and your team can rely on an intuitive dashboard that delivers detailed, real-time information about your patients with visual cues to guide you through your day, right on your desktop monitor. These alerts show up as easily recognizable icons to remind dental teams about everything from uncollected balances, past due cleanings, allergies, medications, medical conditions, patient preferences, attitude towards dentistry, and even special events in patients’ lives.

With timely, event-based notifications, you’ll immediately spot actionable alerts or red flags and decide on the action needed. The ability to view patient information on one screen, in the form of visual icons instead of clinical notes and text pop-ups, may provide a faster and more efficient way to retrieve and remember data. This is especially helpful when both the providers and the front office are busy helping patients and don’t have time to decipher notes and check different parts of the patient’s digital chart for the necessary information. According to eyeQ, “Visual content reaches an individual’s brain in a faster and more understandable way than textual information.” Imagine that! The best part is that when our eyes spot a relevant alert, we can hover over the icon that caught our attention for more information. And, because these alerts readily detect changes and update in real-time, you’ll cut through the noise and see what’s relevant while reducing the bottlenecks and staying focused on your patients’ need. Here’s how it works. An icon of a red pill reminds providers to hover over the icon to review the list of medications the patient takes. All you have to do is hover over over the pill icon, and presto! An intuitive pop up would quickly display all the medications the patient takes. This is much easier and faster than navigating through a tab dedicated to just the patient’s medications. Similarly, a red dot represents allergies and a blue bill is a reminder that the patient requires premedication. A green dollar sign indicates an uncollected balance while a birthday cake icon means that there is a birthday coming up.

Cater To Real-Time Situations:

Now that we have established the reason why visual cues may be more effective, let’s look into further possibilities they could offer with customization. Let’s say a patient mentions that she always gets cold in a dental office. There’s no way to store that information easily in her digital chart, let alone that anyone would see it! But with YAPI a custom icon could be quickly added to serve as a visual cue for the clinical staff to grab a plushy blanket when seating the patient in the operatory. With this ideal visual interface, customization could be endless and allow for a better to patient experience! Remind your team about special events in patients’ lives, any unique preferences, personal referrals, and patients with dental anxiety. Every practice could create their own special set of alerts, for no two practices are alike!

Don’t Let The Little Things Fall Through The Cracks:

Visual cues could also be used as reminders to collect past-due payments, schedule future appointments, and recognize patients who are new or returning after a hiatus from the dentist. Most importantly visual cues could eliminate many of the daily frustrations that result from frequent interruptions and poor communication. They can help cut down on the busy work and allow for a smoother patient hand-off with no bumps or bottlenecks in the way.

YAPI is paperless dental software that seamlessly integrates with most dental practice management software to allow dentists to leverage technology with the ultimate goal of improving patient care and patient experience at the dental practice. Virtual Dashboard is an interactive feature designed to identify patterns, potential issues, and actionable content and delivers this information as visual cues called  “Patient Alerts.”

If you already implemented YAPI in your dental practice be sure to check out our HelpDesk articles and training video on these features! They are linked below.

Your Guide to Patient Alerts