How to increase patient volume in lucrative dental market - Dr. Austin Roberts explains the biggest trends & issues

Austin Roberts, DDS, is the owner of Family and Implant Dentistry in Ooltewah, Tenn.

In the middle of a changing, crowding market, Dr. Roberts discussed how to increase patient volumes while remaining ahead of the curve with Becker's Dental Review.

What issues do dentists face in increasing their patient volume? What market forces are at play here?
Dr. Austin Roberts: With the advance of consumerism in healthcare, now more than ever, today's dentists are subjected to the changing demands of their patients. It's important to create a brand around the office so both existing and prospective patients understand that the dentists and staff care about them. Patients have expectations to be met where they are today, and as practitioners, it's up to us to tailor our treatments, interactions and communications to best fit their needs.

What is one thing a dentist can do today to market their practice and increase patient volume?
AR: Something that has helped increase my practice's patient volume is accessibility. Not only is our office in a convenient location, we also leverage the most recent advances in teledentistry to ensure we are accessible online through all mediums. For example, we're using text communications through our main office line to manage remote patient monitoring. It significantly cuts down on physical chair time for our practice, so we can maximize the opportunities available for patients in need.

Where do you see the dentistry field trending?
AR: I have been practicing for seven years, including two in which I have owned my own practice. Already in that time, advancements in patient care and workflow have been tremendously impactful. At every opportunity, we are giving patients convenience when communicating with our office - allowing them to text pre- and posttreatment photos and questions [to] me, and securely exchange insurance documents and scheduling issues with our front office staff. I can see the field of dentistry leveraging efficiencies such as telehealth and other digital technologies even further to create better care outcomes along with greater productivity for the practice.

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