The UK’s leading online automated patient communications provider, PatientComms has partnered with Infobip, global cloud communications and omnichannel engagement specialist to launch a Virtual Waiting Room solution for mobile patient messaging set to usher in the definite age of contactless journeys for patients and clinicians.
Through seamless integration with patient & practice management systems, the PatientComms Portal allows dental practitioners to create and send health-related messages, reminders, recalls and alerts to patient bases as well as allow practices to collect post treatment feedback. Appointment optimisation of this type has led to efficiencies that have markedly improved profitability with the average NHS practice traditionally seeing between 40 to 50 patients a day.
But with as much as 60% of an average 15-minute visit taken up with form filling at reception, today’s pandemic has highlighted a need for wholesale change to how patients are processed.
Max Bentham, Product Director, from PatientComms commented: “Appointments today are going to be around treating less by examination and more where these treatments are needed. Virtual triaging while at first a necessary measure will become a patient expectation as they too realise the time and convenience benefits it affords. This will be a catalyst for change, and we believe it will change cost models and allow more focus on preventative care.
“A service like Virtual Waiting Room introduces new efficiencies so patients still get excellent care while ensuring surgeries stay viable. This is not just a Covid thing anymore. While partly to do with infection risk control – this contactless patient journey will become the new normal. We chose to work with Infobip due to the critical real-time element underpinning the service where messages have to reach patients at the right time, every time.”
The Virtual Waiting Room solution offers an SMS and online based service that allows patients to provide information, review and agree all medical history and consent forms digitally on their own devices without the need for face-to-face contact anywhere in the practice. Each appointment confirmation comes with a secure link to a patient portal containing all forms that need to be filled prior to the consultation. The same portal is used to check in and can flag when the dentist is ready to see you. The technology means front of house staff can also be redeployed to other higher value tasks.
The advent of the Covid crisis has emphasized the need for a much more risk averse end-to-end digital strategy to fit with the new reality facing healthcare professionals and patients. It has seen clinicians having to restrict the types of patient and treatment a dental surgery can currently carry out leading to over 50% decrease in appointments with revenues impacted too.
Lin Partridge, Dir. Operations at Carholme Dental Group is excited to be part of the Virtual Waiting Room pilot: ‘We want to keep our staff and patients safe so we’ve embraced new technology that enables a more contactless approach. We’ve partnered with PatientComms to design and trial Virtual Waiting Room and hope to achieve significant safety and efficiency benefits across all the practices in our group.
Noel Lavery, Sales Director at Infobip said: “We aim to be the catalyst for the business success of our customer, providing them with the business communications tools to grow, innovate and create value for their customers anywhere, anytime and on their preferred channels. A service like Virtual Waiting Room offers the ability to streamline the patient journey, thereby minimizing the impact of reduced volumes experienced by dental practices on the bottom line. We’re honoured to be part of their digital transformation journey. We believe the PatientComms’ service will be a game changer for healthcare practice providers and patient experience.”
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