University-run clinics can reach a changing demographic of patients by implementing dental software along with other digital initiatives. Younger generations are entering practices as baby boomers and elderly patients leave, and these individuals have different expectations when it comes to care. They may also have greater expectations for information technology use when it comes to dental education.
According to Ashley Morin for RDH Magazine, Generation Y patients don't respond as well to traditional marketing pitches or direct mail, making it harder to target them for the purpose of scheduling office visits or even gaining them as new patients. While using dental software is a step in the right direction, offices have to become more active about recruiting younger patients to come in for oral care.
Instead of sending out postcards, Morin's office began sending out emails promoting new products and services. By combining e-newsletters with a digital record-keeping system, the practice became far more friendly to younger patients.
Use dental academic software to recruit students
Using dental software could also be a good way to recruit tech-savvy students to dental hygiene schools. In an increasingly digital world, oral hygienists need to be prepared to work in offices that have electronic services in place. Increasingly, dental practices are adopting digital services to manage patient files. Given how many patients practices already have, they will likely expect schools to have an efficient dental software already in place.
According to a study from the American Dental Association reported by EHR Intelligence, 76.5 percent of dentists were using computers during visits in 2012, up from about 25 percent in 2004. Almost all of the dentists who responded indicated they had computer access or would begin managing aspects of care online within the next few years. Out of group practices, 16 percent were entirely paperless, in addition to 14 percent of solo practitioners.