Increasingly, Americans are managing their lives from their mobile devices. In fact, according to an eMarketer study, 88% of mobile time is spent on apps,1 creating an opportunity for dental care organizations to use app technology to create a more efficient, on-demand experience for patients and providers.
As patient experience becomes the primary driver of business performance, healthcare organizations are investing in mobile apps to improve patient and member engagement. App technology helps improve the member experience by providing plan information, benefits eligibility, and member education materials in one portable place. Here are five mobile app tools that improve the patient experience.
Find a supplier
Members can find suppliers through a mapping tool using their current location or the postal code of their choice. They can easily communicate with their provider, schedule appointments, and get pre-treatment estimates. Providers also have a direct communication line with their patients to share appointment reminders and messages and education on preventive oral care.
Today’s paper insurance ID card does not guarantee eligibility for services, but this information can be obtained instantly on a mobile app. An app reduces call center and administrative costs by providing members with information on plan design and health education. In an emergency care situation, a mobile ID card with eligibility verification information enables fast and seamless dental care.
Get a pre-treatment estimate
Patients often reject or postpone dental care due to uncertainty about their out-of-pocket expenses. When providers submit treatment plans to insurance companies, they can quickly relay benefit information to patients through a mobile app, helping patients make informed decisions about their care.
Receive the invoice
Dental providers spend an inordinate amount of time collecting relatively small amounts of money from patients who have not paid their bills in full. Mobile apps make it easy for members to log in, manage benefits, and pay dental bills right from their phone. Healthcare organizations can collect payments and distribute them to providers, improving the efficiency and profitability of dental practices.
Get further treatment advice
Sometimes patients have questions about the treatment plan recommended by their provider. Very soon, patients will be able to share a treatment plan and associated documentation with another provider via a mobile application. This will save patients from having to make an appointment with another dentist to receive a treatment plan. It will also save dental providers time in preparing treatment plans for those who are simply looking for another opinion. Today, dental practice treatment plans and documentation are stored on the provider’s server and cannot be easily shared with other dental practices.
Mobile apps represent an innovative strategy to digitally reach members as they are personal, portable, convenient and direct. The mobile app features that currently exist and those that are on the horizon are just the beginning of the transformation underway within the dental industry.
The dental regime of the future will be entirely virtual, supported by technology that can be maintained 24/7 from anywhere in the world. The mobile app will be an integral part of dental services themselves, improving the patient experience as well as the efficiency with which dental practices operate.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the September 2022 print edition of Dental economy magazine. Dentists in North America can take advantage of a free print subscription. Register here.
- Wurmser Y. The majority of Americans’ mobile time is spent in apps. eMarketer Insider Intelligence. July 9, 2020. https://www.insiderintelligence.com/content/the-majority-of-americans-mobile-time-spent-takes-place-in-apps