As an organisation, Dentex is always seeking tools to make our practices better for their patients and their teams. One such initiative, driven by Business Development Manager Team Leader at Dentex, Lee Bilcock, is the implementation of FollowApp, which is an automated patient engagement system that generates text messages to check in on patients following an appointment. This single message can not only improve patient experience but can lead to more Google Reviews and an increase in patient retention and rebookings.
What is FollowApp?
FollowApp syncs with practice management systems to automatically send an SMS message to patients the day after they attend an appointment. This message pulls in the patient’s name, and asks them a series of questions, which starts with whether they are in any pain. The message takes just a minute to respond to and offers the patient the chance to book a follow-up appointment, if they haven’t done so already, and prompts them to input a Google Review if they leave a NPS score of eight or above. The practice receives an alert if the patient records that they are in pain, if they request to book and appointment or if they register feedback. The practice can choose to respond via SMS message, if appropriate, or call the patient at a time convenient to them.
Key benefits of FollowApp
“What we really liked from a practice perspective is that FollowApp adds another level of patient care that we haven’t been able to offer before; it’s not feasible for most busy practices to manually call every patient post appointment,” describes Lee Bilcock. Lee led a trial of FollowApp across Dentex practices and its subsequent integration across the group. He’s seen significant success, including a sharp increase in Google Reviews, with initial results showing practices typically receive three times as many reviews. He also notes an increase in appointment rebookings and a subsequent rise in revenue.
One other benefit is that FollowApp allows practices to better manage issues that can arise; if a patient has a problem or is in pain, they can register it via FollowApp, alleviating the need for them to call the practice, and the potential stress of not getting through, and allowing the practice to respond when is convenient and they have the relevant information to hand.
Implementing FollowApp to a practice
“When a practice wants to join FollowApp, we have the capability to simply add it to their system with the click of a button,” Lee explains. FollowApp syncs with practice management systems, then runs seamlessly in the background to send out messages to patients, while a dashboard allows teams to monitor alerts coming in. Teams are trained on how to use FollowApp during a one-hour online session.
Why would a practice not implement it?
“Good question!” Lee said when posed this question. FollowApp integrates with the five main practice management systems – SOE, R4, Dentally, Systems for Dentists, Orthotrac – so if a practice is on a bespoke or smaller system, it might not have the technology or capability to integrate.
What about all the alerts from FollowApp?
Lee tells us that most practices receive a maximum of five alerts a day; an alert is triggered if someone requests to book an appointment, if someone responds to say that they are in pain, or if someone registers an NPS score below six. “What works well for practices, is that it allows them to deal with any of these alerts at a time that suits them, rather than through a phone call,” Lee explains.
Does it require much management?
Typically, a practice should assign one or two people to monitor FollowApp, who can check it periodically for alerts. FollowApp is also useful and beneficial for collating feedback, which can then easily be shared with teams, and for CQC which requires practices to actively collect feedback.
Any tool that creates a better patient experience, with minimal extra workload for a practice team, is worth considering. Add in the benefits of increased Google Reviews and appointment rebooking, and we feel FollowApp is a fantastic tool for our practices to elevate the care they offer their patients.