When running and operating a dental practice, it’s important to address concerns that could be holding you back from implementing new and better technology.
The Common Concern with Older Dental Patients:
Many practice owners and staff members are concerned that senior patients could have a difficult time with new technology that is patient facing, such as paperless forms on an iPad or online patient registration.
Many are led to believe that senior patients prefer the “traditional” method of filling out forms with pen and paper, but recent studies may shock you! Many seniors are progressing towards a digitally connected lifestyle and are already accustomed to many new digital integrations in their personal lives.
What The Facts Say:
In 2013, tablet ownership among seniors had a double-digit increase! Today, one in three seniors in the U.S. own a personal tablet and one in five have some form of a portable e-reader. (1)
In 2017 it was reported that over 67% of seniors in the U.S. are online regularly (2), while back 17 years earlier, in 2000, that number was only at 14% (3).
These statistics help us to see that a vast majority of seniors are comfortable with digital technology. It can be anticipated that as time moves forward, more seniors will have adapted to future technologies. So, it’s safe to say that a senior patient would not be caught off-guard if they found himself/herself filling out digital forms in a dental practice.
In fact, senior patients may appreciate just how easy it is for them to zoom in to read any small print on a digital consent form on an iPad. Whereas a poorly replicated paper copy would not have such an interface.
What About Those Who Still Have Trouble?
Every so often, a patient might require some assistance. If a patient is not comfortable using an iPad, as a best practice, invite them into a private consultation room or treatment operatory, and appoint a member of the office to help them complete their digital forms. You will save your office time and your patient a headache if you stay true to a paperless process, rather than creating a printout for them to fill out. You also won’t be left having to retype data, followed by scanning and shredding.