The transformation in our industry to the digital age is opening up more opportunities for practices to connect with the right customers at the right time by letting them know you have the services they are looking for even before they walk in the door. This hinges on building a practice with a proven digital strategy in place and there are a few things you can do right now to put that in motion.

Some might lament the passing of rotary phones and 13 channels on their television dial, but Generation Z is coming up quickly and Millennials are already disrupting how we interact with patients. If you’ve ever watched a Netflix show with a digital native, then you know what I mean – there are at times a minimum of two screens going at once.

Your practice needs to conform to the digital age now. Today, most decision-makers – in our case that usually means parents of kids ready for braces – expect interactivity in everything, and yes, that includes orthodontics. We have to reach patients on their devices where they’re most comfortable, communication needs to be conversational, and we must extend that even into the orthodontic treatment itself.

At People + Practice, we’ve spent a lot of time with our clients testing and improving the performance of practice workflows from marketing to treatment technology. In its simplest form, we break this down into three digital strategies that you need to implement if you are to keep up with the current generation of consumers.

  1. Meet potential patients where they are already

First and foremost, a lead capture and conversion system must allow digital natives to seamlessly discover and interact with your practice. Eliminate the barriers that dissuade patients from contacting you by offering multiple touchpoints on your website through HIPAA-compliant chat, text, and online forms. PatientCue, an integrated product that my agency offers, will also manage online reviews, allow staff to respond to questions in real time, and digitize patient workflows.

  1. Remote monitoring and case management technology

There is an easy win/win technology out there that allows you to be more profitable and make life easier for patients. Consumers demand a more convenient and connected way to communicate. Contrary to what you might think, seeing patients more often does not make them happier. Allowing a patient to send you updates remotely and communicating via two-way communications digitally is really what they want. A remote monitoring system like DentalMonitoring can extend the time between appointments from an average of seven weeks to 14 weeks, something that’s positive for both patients and your bottom line, irrespective of treatment modality.

  1. More profitable clear aligner solutions

It’s no secret that the demand for clear aligners is extremely high. It’s not just for adults who want to hide the fact that they’re in braces, teenagers want them too. There are also patients who are looking to fix the social six without a heavy investment in treatment time. Don’t leave this significant portion of the market on the table for someone else to grab. A company with flexibility like uLab offers clear aligner technology that can be versatile and adaptable to your practice, with the ability to produce aligners on a case-by-case basis or even manufacture them in-house with custom packaging under your own brand, increasing your profitability.

Adults today are busier than ever with more distractions and less time for mundane tasks – like making an orthodontic appointment. If you’re not meeting them halfway and in the space they already expect to find you, offering the products and services that they demand, then they will move on to other options. Want to stay relevant and capture more of the marketplace? Then you must begin by creating a fully digital practice today.

Leon Klempner, DDS is CEO of People & Practice, a digital marketing consultancy exclusively for orthodontists. Dr. Klempner also serves on the Executive Board of The New York State Society of Orthodontists.