Why You Might Be Overpaying for Your Patient Engagement Platform?
As technology evolves, the products and services become cheaper and more efficient as well. And this is especially true for software products/services.
Let me begin with a personal story.
Seven years ago, we purchased a house. As every family does, we wanted to install a home security system as soon as we purchased the house. At the time, I did not know many options, and the only one I knew was ADT, so we went for it.
Although the installation process was a little complicated, we got help from the ADT technician, and he took care of the setup for us. We loved it; we felt safe; I could operate it with my cell phone, all is well. I have been using the ADT security system for six years and pay around $60 per month. I was quite happy using the service until I learned about alternatives (e.g., Ring, SimpliSafe, etc.).
And much to my surprise, I found that these security systems cost just a fraction of what I was paying. I also noticed that they are simple to use. I just turn them on, and they're ready to use. There's no setup, no installation, no technician coming to your house.
After some procrastination, I finally made the switch to Ring Security System. I was able to order the device online and set it up myself. I only have to pay for the device, and there's no monthly fee, although I can get emergency support for less than $10 a month.
I couldn't be more satisfied with the switch. I was able to get all the features offered by ADT, operate it on my mobile phone. The Ring device was compact enough not to take up much space in my home, and I am able to save $720 annually.
That’s the end of my story.
Now, coming back to the patient engagement services for dental offices, over the years, I got a chance to speak with hundreds of dental practitioners belonging to different categories (pediatric, orthodontic, and endodontic, etc.), I have observed that 90% of them were overpaying for their patient engagement platform.
Here are some of the core reasons I felt many dental practices are overpaying for their patient engagement platform.
You Only Use a Few Features
In most cases, dental offices make use of the patient engagement platform for two main purposes.
Send and receive text messages to their patients.
Send automated appointment reminders and get confirmations.
The rest of the features are rarely or not used at all, but your service provider might be charging for all those features that you may not even be aware of.
Drop-in Communication Costs
With the evolution of technology, communication costs have dropped drastically in the past few years. Remember those days when your mobile service carrier (AT&T, and Verizon, etc.) used to charge 5 cents for each text message sent or received? Then WhatsApp happened, and the mobile carriers were forced to make text messaging free of cost to the customers.
The same thing happened for business texting too. The cost of business texting has come down drastically in the past few years. If you are paying more than $100/month for your text messaging and confirmation service in your dental office, it’s time to renegotiate with your current vendor.
Usage Volume Matters
Not all dental offices have a large volume of daily appointments; take, for example, dental offices that provide specialized services like endodontics, periodontics, etc. The specialized offices would be seeing fewer patients daily, and the usage of a patient engagement platform is very minimal. Although it is convenient to have a patient texting and appointment confirmation service, it is not required to pay the same price as the office with a large appointment volume.
How to choose a patient engagement platform that suits your needs?
While choosing a patient engagement platform, here are a few things you may keep in mind -
You will find various patient engagement platforms in the market, especially for dental practices. While you explore the platforms, look at the features they offer and then ask yourself, what are the features that you would be using regularly.
Start small. Start with the essential features and then add on additional features as you get used to the system.
Check whether the service provider offers you flexible pricing plans based on the services that you need. This way, you won't have to pay for features you don't use. And if you need more features in the future, you can add them.
Look for a service with no long-term contracts involved, so if you don't like the service, you can move onto another one without much difficulty.
Consider the ones that offer a generous free trial, so you have adequate time to evaluate the product and decide if it's right for you.
In the final analysis
Most of the Patient Engagement Services have very similar features. If you are familiar with one system, you will have no trouble accessing a similar one. So, you don't have to worry about the transition because, in most cases, it's seamless. If you find a better-priced product, do not be afraid to give it a try.
Look at the features you need most, pay close attention to how frequently you use them, justify the fees you’re paying for the benefits you’re receiving, and then make a prudent decision