Lighthouse 360 Helps Elm Park Dental Keep the Schedule Full
Elm Park Dental in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, is small but busy, with one full-time and one part-time dentist, one full-time and one part-time front desk employee and four hygienists. “We’re always looking for ways to communicate quickly and easily with our patients,” says Managing Partner Nancy Cooke. So when she learned about Lighthouse 360 two years ago, Cooke decided to give it a try. “The fact that email, text and phone can all be automated was what closed the deal for us,” Cooke says.
A Solution that Works in the Background
Prior to using Lighthouse 360, Elm Park Dental used phone calls and emails for confirmations and appointment reminders, which was often difficult to do in a timely fashion. “We called everyone two days prior to their appointment, but if it got really busy, the call might get bumped to [one day before] the appointment, which creates issues,” Cooke explains. Now, automated reminders are sent in the background, saving the staff at least an hour a day and getting more responses than phone calls. Automation allows for an extra reminder an hour or two before the appointment, which Cooke says patients really appreciate.
Lighthouse 360’s Recall feature saves even more time. “It automatically identifies who needs to be contacted and generates reminder emails that they’re due or overdue for an appointment,” Cooke explains. “We used to do all that manually; now it all happens in the background and we just do the follow-up.” Automated recall helps the practice boost retention—vitally important in today’s environment.
Cooke also loves being able to text patients right from the Lighthouse portal. Before Lighthouse 360, staffers would sometimes text patients using their own phones, but there was no organized texting system. “We knew texting was the direction we wanted to go in,” says Cooke, adding that patients “have responded really well.”
Staying Connected with Patients Through the Pandemic
“Lighthouse has been ahead of the curve in [developing] new products and getting them implemented quickly,” says Cooke, citing the Virtual Waiting Room features that have helped Elm Park Dental see patients safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Having cloud-based patient communication software had an unexpected benefit during COVID-19. “The same day we had to shut down due to the pandemic, we also had a power outage,” Cooke recalls. “The only way I could find out which patients to contact was to use Lighthouse online at home. The remote connection was extremely useful!” Because she can access Lighthouse remotely, Cooke still works from home even though the clinic has fully reopened; this reduces the number of people in the office and enhances patient safety.
The pandemic has highlighted the value of the wide range of communication options Lighthouse 360 provides. At a time when patient visits may be less frequent, “having an additional way to communicate and keep patients engaged with the clinic has been great,” says Cooke.
Elm Park Dental uses Dentrix to manage patient and appointment information, and Cooke says that Lighthouse 360 works seamlessly with that platform. “Information flows nicely between the two [apps], which has been very helpful,” she says. “When someone texts to confirm, it confirms [the appointment] in our calendar.”
Cooke says the Lighthouse 360 system is very user-friendly. “Staff have come and go, and we’ve had to train new people [on the software], but it’s been easy because Lighthouse is so intuitive.” When the staff needs assistance, Lighthouse customer service is responsive and helpful.
Taking full advantage of Lighthouse 360’s automation tools, Elm Park Dental also relies on the daily task list to remind them what to follow up on each morning, and the Fill-in feature to automatically fill last-minute cancelled appointments. Saving time, making the practice more efficient, and keeping the schedule full—Lighthouse 360 is the solution Elm Park Dental was looking for.