Did you know that patients who are more present and active during their visits are more likely to experience better outcomes? Research suggests that adopting strategies to get patients to engage with their surroundings is beneficial for patients and practitioners alike.
With all of this coming to light, it’s no wonder that practitioners are taking a vested interest in making their offices more engaging, starting with their waiting rooms. Here are some ways you can revamp the design of your dental office to increase patient engagement.
What is patient engagement?
Patient engagement refers to a three-pronged strategy that targets better health outcomes, better patient care and lower costs.
It involves creating opportunities for patients to increase awareness of their health by making patient education more memorable and experiential. This ultimately helps patients make better decisions about their health, both within your practice and at home.
A growing interest in patient engagement comes directly from bodies of research that demonstrated the benefits of a “patient-centered approach”.
Why is patient engagement important?
Patient engagement is a crucial part of bridging gaps between the services, the care you provide and your patients’ needs. A few barriers that patient engagement can help your dental practice overcome include:
Patient education and dental health literacy
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, roughly 1 in 10 adults in the United States can fully understand written material about their health. This statistic includes material on oral health.
When it comes to making decisions about oral health, more is at risk than just forgetting to floss. The research points out that low levels of patient health literacy are generational. A lack of awareness regarding preventative care and necessary treatment options can have lasting impacts on patients and their children.
Keeping your patients engaged can help them remember to schedule biannual appointments, practice routine oral hygiene at home, and make lifestyle choices that protect their oral health.
Language barriers are not isolated to practitioners in dentistry. It’s a common barrier across the healthcare system and one that is luckily garnering attention from policymakers and healthcare providers alike.
Language barriers in the oral healthcare industry can affect your patients’ accessibility to billing practices, treatment decisions and comfort in your office. Promoting accessibility through translation is one of the simplest ways providers can take a meaningful role in their patients’ patient engagement.
Cognitive or psychological barriers
Dental anxiety is more common than you may think!
Many patients experience symptoms of anxiety when visiting the dentist. In serious cases, it can foster a full-blown avoidance of the dentist’s office, which can lead to minor symptoms developing into more serious oral health risks.
You can help patients manage the symptoms associated with dental anxiety by creating an engaging environment that promotes mindfulness, reduces anxiety and helps your patients feel comfortable in your care.
How does a waiting room factor in?
Your waiting room is the very first interaction your patients will have with your practice. It sets the stage for what your patients can expect from you in terms of care.
While waiting rooms are certainly not anyone’s favorite place to be, your patients will inevitably spend some time there. Creating the right experience can help serve as a precursor for appointments, make patients comfortable and create opportunities to connect with them.
Your waiting room is the perfect place for you to educate your patients about care, make them aware of additional services you offer or inform them about updated office information. It’s also the perfect place to get your patients in the right mindset before a visit.
You can do this with multiple aspects of patient room design, including some of these strategies:
- Water features: Water features are often used because they promote feelings of relaxation and block out noise. Although these decorative elements can sometimes be expensive and require upkeep, they can help make your waiting room more relaxing and comfortable.
- Green spaces: Plants have been shown to reduce stress by nearly 40%! Adding plants to your office is an easy way to not only elevate your space but also help ease tension (even if your patients don’t know it).
- Create an immersive audio and visual experience: Dental offices across the country are leveraging the power of digital displays and music in their office to help their patients become engaged, relaxed and enjoy their time at the dentist. It’s a low-maintenance way for you to address all of your needs in one easy step.
How UPshow can elevate your dental office waiting room design
Provide the right content at the right time
UPshow allows you to easily create dynamic displays that serve more than one purpose. It makes it easy to use your screens to hit all of your patient engagement targets: patient education, stress management and informing patients about treatment options.
If you’re nervous about what this means for you on the content creation side of things, we can put your mind at ease!
UPshow’s dynamic display solution features in-app Canva integration. Canva’s editing platform is so intuitive that all it requires is dragging and dropping content you want to see on your design. You can take full advantage of premade templates, royalty-free media and hundreds of animations to choose from. Best of all, you can upload and incorporate your own media, too!
This is the perfect tool for creating educational content for your patients to stay up to date on best practices when it comes to oral health. Multi-panel displays also allow you to share more than one piece of content at once, so you can let your patient know about the health risks of gingivitis while offering them a way to schedule an appointment with a hygienist from their phone.
Allow your patients to interact
The more your patients get to interact with what they see, the better.
UPshow Connect makes it easy for your patients to move from the screen to their phones. With UPshow Connect, you can incorporate QR codes into your digital displays. This gives you the ability to create a direct link between content and action.
QR codes are the perfect tools to use to help you promote additional or bundled services, like cosmetic services or oral health screenings. With a simple scan using their phone’s camera, your patients will be taken to a direct link for appointment scheduling, interest forms or pricing information.
It allows your desk staff to focus on serving patients without sacrificing the ability to upsell what your practice has to offer. Your hygienists will be relieved that they no longer have to serve as your sales team, too!
QR codes are for more than just selling, too. They can also be used to solicit reviews from your patients or create a unique way for patients to engage with your office through things like trivia or sharing images of their sparkling smiles.
Best of all, QR code campaigns are fully trackable through UPshow’s robust insights and analytics tools. This allows you to track and measure the success of your digital marketing campaigns or patient engagement efforts with a comprehensive dashboard. It tells you which parts of your campaign are most effective and which fall flat so that you can always make the most of your screens.
Growing your rate of patient engagement is excellent, but the missing puzzle piece is often helping patients turn awareness into action. UPshow Connect helps you do just that!
Create a positive audio-visual experience
Creating the right atmosphere for your patients to be in before an appointment is a lot simpler than it seems, especially with digital displays and music! UPshow offers you a solution that rolls everything you need into one easy-to-use platform.
UPshow makes it easy for your office to display content that your patients want to see without any ads or interruptions.
With over 500 channels of entertainment to choose from, you can keep all of your patients happy. From ages 5 to 55, each of your patients will be able to enjoy what they see on your screens. UPshow also offers music services, allowing you to drown out the loud sounds of a dental practice with 50+ stations of add free, fully licensed music.
On their own, these two tools go a long way in creating a positive experience in your waiting room. But when they are combined, you can create the ultimate waiting-room experience to immerse your patient in the right environment. This is especially useful for practices that are interested in combating anxiety in their waiting room and requires way less upkeep than a fountain!
Here’s how you can create a waiting room experience that helps your patients unwind:
- Coupling natural scenery on your screens with lyric-free nature sounds can help your patients lower their heart rates and feel less anxious. Because UPshow Premium audio is ad-free, you don’t have to worry about commercials pulling them out of the moment.
- Classical music is a powerful tool for many reasons! It not only helps with retaining information, a great tool if you want to increase your patient’s oral health literacy, but it also has been shown to help people relax!
Try out a demo of UPshow for your waiting room
Looking to increase patient engagement in your dental office? It all starts in your waiting room! UPshow can help you transform your space with an easy-to-use, comprehensive tool that does everything you need in one intuitive software. Try a risk-free demo today to see how UPshow can help you keep your patients happy and healthy.