Practice Management vs. Patient Engagement Software

Practice Management vs. Patient Engagement Software
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Every dental office must prioritize two critical elements for a successful business: practice management and patient engagement. While there are many software solutions to both of these challenges, the first hurdle begins in simply understanding the differences between them. 

What's the Difference? Practice Management vs. Patient Engagement

Here's a quick overview to understand the differences between these two software solutions:

  • Practice Management System (PMS): The value of this software is to digitize scheduling, record keeping, filing, and all other information in the business. Moving away from paper charts allows for a centralized system with convenient solutions to make everything accessible with just a few clicks. Good software design prioritizes the needs of the practice – not necessarily the patient. It integrates with existing operations to streamline workflow and improve overall results.
  • Patient Engagement Software (PES): Practices need a way to maintain communication with patients without requiring them to be in the office. A patient engagement software works outside of the four walls of the practice, bridging the gap to create two-way communication between healthcare providers and patients. This instantaneous interaction makes dentistry much more accessible to everyone in the community. The focus is on business growth and productivity, with features such as two-way communication, paperless forms, and streamlined payment collections systems.

These systems are great investments for dental practices, and work together to improve communication between staff members and increase engagement with patients. 

Read On: 10 tips to Improved Patient Relationship Management 

Limitations When You Don't Have Engagement Software

The most significant limitation for practices with a PMS but no engagement software is that a lack of cloud-based solutions creates a need for many manual processes. Hard-copy patient forms, tedious appointment reminders, and piles of paperwork cut into staff members' productivity each day. In comparison, a patient engagement software offers a plethora of automation opportunities, such as:

  • Appointment reminders
  • Health history and new patient paperwork
  • Contact information updates
  • Billing and collections
  • Recare reminders
  • Online review requests

A lack of automation and digital solutions limits the staff's ability to personalize communication with patients. Ongoing manual requirements lead to lower production, an overworked office staff, and an inability to push new, fruitful initiatives.

dentist reviewing a patient's chart with her

Does Your PMS Offer Patient Engagement Support?

While there are notable differences between practice management and patient engagement, some PMS providers are starting to incorporate more engagement features in recent years. For example, automated features allow for the simplification of employee outreach through messaging systems. 

However, there are limits to this overlap, with the engagement functions in PMS software less intuitive and lacking in user experience. Since these systems aren't available in one package, the best solution is to find practice management and patient engagement software solutions with full integration. Modento is an excellent example of how to bridge the gap for these practice needs.

Watch a 2-minute video: What is Modento?

Potential Pushback for Patient Engagement Software

Patient engagement software benefits are undeniable when you consider the time and money savings that result from automation, personalized patient communication, and modern technology. Despite the overwhelming benefits, though, some practices might not be the best candidates for adopting patient engagement software. Common issues that can hinder the benefits of automation and technology include:

  • Offices with older patient bases (65+)
  • Dentists and office managers resistant to change

As with any software application, it's not going to be worth the investment if you're not willing to adjust to it. So, each practice must be ready to train staff members and push through the growing pains to onboard a new system.

Integrating Patient Engagement with a PMS

With the right software solutions, it's possible to integrate your practice management software with a patient engagement platform. Not every PMS offers integration with PES systems, so you should confirm your chosen platforms are compatible before investing time and money. Both startups and established practices alike should evaluate compatibility and investigate the available integration features when selecting and onboarding new systems. You may also find it’s worth switching your office’s PMS so you can utilize a specific PES that doesn’t work with your current tools.

To integrate your PMS and PES, you will need to install both software programs on the server with automatic data transfer and continuous updates. By doing this, you’ll never have to worry about information getting lost in the shuffle. 

For example, you schedule a patient for their next visit in your PMS during checkout, and in a matter of seconds, Modento recognizes that appointment. This process triggers automated systems to send the patient a save-the-date message and begin requesting essential patient information. The system sends the patient the necessary forms ahead of the appointment to minimize manual work when they arrive for their visit.

As you evaluate the cost of investing in a PES, you’ll find that valuable software will automate the manual tasks in your office’s workflow (i.e., patient communication, review management, digital forms, etc.), saving you time and money. 

Taking Advantage of PMS and Patient Engagement

To put it simply: practice management systems are essential for running your dental office, while patient engagement software is what you need to grow your business.

Not only do you need to manage existing operations in your business, but it's just as important to maintain organization and communication with each patient. At Modento, our software solutions focus on improving productivity to help your dental practice flourish.

Modento's design prioritizes your bottom line, including solutions to optimize productivity, improve collections, retain patients, and acquire new ones.

Together, a great PMS and PES combination will maintain the strong foundation needed to keep your office running smoothly each day while also helping you provide an exceptional patient experience that keeps patients coming back and referring others. Filling in the gaps with automated solutions allows you to optimize staff performance and makes it easier to turn a profit.

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Modento Posted on 13 May 2021

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