Many dental practices focus on the patient experience from the moment the patient walks into the practice. The Smilist knows that the experience actually starts when the patient first sees your social post, searches for your practice, and visits your site. It also extends well after the treatment to when the patient makes a payment, leaves a review, and books a follow-up appointment.
"Patients form an opinion about your practice long before they meet the dentist," said Melanie Basile, Chief Growth Officer. "We needed a digital patient experience that matched the best-in-class care our dentists delivered."
The Smilist's top requirement for patient experience software was the ability to sync data in real-time with Dentrix Enterprise. The digital patient experience – online booking, reminders, recalls, forms – would not work if it couldn't read and write to the practice management system.
"Synchronization with Dentrix was a must-have," Basile said. "We saw a lot of dentists purchase software based on a list of features, only to find out none of those features synced with the practice management system. We were not going to make that mistake."
The Smilist also had plans to grow from 18 locations to several dozens, and needed a partner that could scale with them.
"There are two types of technology partners, those that you outgrow and those that help you grow faster," said Philip Toh, co-founder of The Smilist. "We wanted a partner that would share a mutual roadmap and help us tackle the technology challenges facing our business as we expanded.”
After evaluating several solutions, Basile and Toh selected NexHealth's patient experience platform, taking advantage of the full suite of products: Online Booking, Two-Way Messaging, Online Forms, Recalls, Marketing Campaigns, Reviews, and Support.
Out of all the solutions they evaluated, NexHealth was the only one that offered a bidirectional sync with Dentrix Enterprise. This allows The Smilist to use NexHealth across all of their marketing channels, knowing that appointments will be reflected in their practice management system.
"We can put the NexHealth online booking experience literally everywhere – on the website, social posts, emails, and even QR codes," Basile said. "Both new and existing patients love it, and in just a couple of clicks, they can get an appointment booked."
With months left in the 2022 calendar year, The Smilist has already scheduled more than 6,700 new patient appointments through NexHealth Online Booking.
NexHealth also saves The Smilist office managers valuable time. The Smilist has a high volume of patients, which means office managers have to manage numerous pre-visit confirmation calls, post-appointment payments, and rebooking reminders. Once a patient books through NexHealth online booking, all the reminders are automatically triggered--the office manager never needs to worry about following up with a patient.
"With NexHealth, you set it and forget it," Basile said. "We use reminder texts and emails set up for pre-appointments, and then patients get digital payment links and are automatically rebooked 6 months out. Our office managers love the experience as much as the patients do."
The Smilist is using the NexHealth platform in 42 locations and trending well ahead of industry benchmarks for annual revenue per location–making sure every appointment slot is filled.
"We want to use technology as a growth lever. NexHealth gives us an advantage in acquiring new patients, retaining existing patients, and saving our team valuable time," Basile said.
For example, Online Forms was transformative during the pandemic in cutting down patients' time in the waiting room. In addition to saving time for patients, Basile estimates each location’s staff saves 1-2 hours daily because they no longer have to retype information from paper forms. NexHealth Forms syncs automatically with Dentrix.
"Our office team loves NexHealth Online Forms. What used to be hours of manual data entry is now hours spent connecting with patients," Basile said.
Using NexHealth's automation tools, The Smilist practices run multiple recall campaigns, all fully automated. They can return patients for 6-month cleanings and target patients at the 9-month or 1-year mark if they've seen a long absence.
Basile estimates that 85% of patients who visit for an appointment become recurring patients.
The Smilist practices have a lot of demand, but if they get cancellations, they use the NexHealth Waitlist to trigger an automated email to patients. Patients love getting in earlier than expected, and The Smilist never has an operatory chair go empty. And with NexHealth Reviews, patients get an automated email after an appointment to fill in a satisfaction survey, with high scores immediately routed to Google to generate a positive review.
"Every patient looks at the quality and quantity of reviews before selecting a new dentist," Basile said. "NexHealth ensures we're constantly getting positive new reviews on Google."
The Smilist has forged a deep relationship with the NexHealth team, allowing them to deploy new features quickly.
"NexHealth customer service is at a very high level, and that's key to what we look for in our partnerships,” Basile said. "NexHealth is always rolling out new functionality, and it's not even something we have to ask for. NexHealth has already thought of it."
As The Smilist looks to the future, they've started adopting other patient experience technology built on the NexHealth API. The Smilist is working with TrueLark to use an AI chatbot to communicate with patients after hours and schedule appointments.
"We’re going to keep adding new practices to The Smilist family,” Toh said. “We have a lot of confidence in acquiring new locations, knowing that NexHealth raises their value from day 1.”