The Benefits of Using Digital Communication During the Pandemic
In March 2020, life as we knew it came to a halt! We stopped going to malls, walking the streets, and randomly popping into places that we wouldn’t have given a second thought to in the past.
Our dental offices ceased accepting patients, and our teams stayed home! The practice owners leaped into action, looking for protective equipment and adapting an already strict protocol to an even stricter one.
Meanwhile, in our patients’ world, they needed answers to their questions:
- Can I continue wearing my Invisalign aligners?
- I still need my root canal treatment, when can I see you?
- I am midway through my treatment, how long can I stay like this?
- Does this mean I cannot have my checkup?
The questions were continuous, and justifiably, everyone was concerned. Our respective governments initially deemed dentistry and all comprehensive treatment “non-essential” (except for dental emergencies). We were all doing our best to appease everyone’s concerns (not to mention our own).
The unknown was bewildering. However, due to our innovative nature, we found ways to move forward.
Social media and dentistry
The dental offices that were once dabbling in social media now noticed that the issues at hand were pressing, and utilizing communication tools was of great urgency. The public wanted answers, and they wanted them now.
We had to devise how to implement a system and expedite mass communication rapidly, efficiently, and with clarity.
Enter Zoom, Facebook, Instagram, email, and in our case: WEAVE!
As a busy orthodontic practice manager, the impact of not seeing patients every day translated to approximately 100 patients per day needing to be rescheduled. Talk about daunting!
Delivering communication was time-sensitive and had the utmost importance. That’s where my journey began with Weave.
Weave provides software that creates a messaging campaign. Once created, we enable and upload the patient emails, and in seconds, the patients receive the message.
It was by far the fastest and easiest way to contact everyone at once.
What are some communications that we published on Facebook and Instagram during the pandemic?
- Closure of the office due to the pandemic
- Directives not to present themselves to the office without over-the-phone screening
- Instruction on how to take photos of the patient’s orthodontic or dental emergencies
- We needed to communicate with precise instructions to the patient how they should present to our office during this pandemic
- We became adept at communicating updates to parents and guardians concerning their children’s treatment with Zoom and WEAVE texting
As Rita Zamora states, “The pandemic made it clear that we have now become a NO-TOUCH society.”
The question then begs to be asked:
How can we connect? How can our patients come to know us?
They cannot know what our personalities are through email alone; email is only a means of delivering information.
When they receive communication through email, they should be able to visualize us through what they have experienced with us. But how?
Social media is the answer!
Through Facebook and Instagram, we can show them all that we possess. Our professionalism, funny moments, the authenticity of our relationships with our patients. The experience on social media should be organic and simple. In other words, just be ourselves.
Who is Zooming you?
What a great tool Zoom has been. We began using Zoom in the pandemic simply to be able to remotely connect for specific situations, like emergencies.
We now use Zoom to complete the diagnostic process.
The benefits are numerous:
- Patients can tune in from work or home
- They have a view of their treatment plan and treatment through screen share
- More than one person can participate (both parents for a child treatment)
- There isn’t any downtime with regards to work
- Shortened visit time for our office staff
- Treatment coordinators can often complete this process without the doctor’s time
- If needed, the doctor can be called in at any point of the discussion
- We have an opportunity to communicate in a mask free and relaxed manner
- We stay connected with patient needs
Yes, this past year has been difficult to deal with. In hindsight, we must ask ourselves what the significant lessons have been.
I would say learning to connect by other means has been the big one for us. We’ve been able to reach out and be creative with solutions that we would have otherwise believed to be impossible. We become a different version of ourselves.
Looking back, we can say that we see clearly now where we’re going in the future.
Meet the Author
Rosa Pasquantonio, MAADOM has been in the dental field since 1980.
She’s the office manager at TGO Orthodontics… This text opens a new tab to the practice’s website… in Montreal, Canada. Since 1998, Rosa has dedicated her professional life to helping create and perfect “The TGO Way.”
She received her certification from Concordia University in Administration and Human Resource Management.
In 2017, she became a Fellow of the American Association of Dental Office Management, and in 2020, she achieved AADOM Mastership. She’s also the recipient of the Practice Administrator of Distinction award.
Rosa is passionate about all things dental and loves public speaking. She enjoys getting to know people from every walk of life.