Patient Advocacy is a widely-known term in general medical environments. While similar to treatment or insurance coordination, the focus is different. Advocacy means taking a patient-centered approach and making sure patients have the information and support they need to make complex medical decisions.
What is a Patient Advocate?
Patient Advocates help patients communicate with their health care providers, so they get the information they need to make decisions about their healthcare. Instead of just trying to get the patient to accept a case, the patient advocate takes a patient-based approach, helping them make the best decision for themselves instead of drumming up sales.
Along these lines, at Driven Dental, we came up with the concept of Virtual Patient Advocates (or VPAs). Based on the original idea of patient advocacy, VPAs let the patient communicate their needs, and helps them understand the various treatment options.
They also help the patient come into treatment with the right expectations and as much information as possible before a consultation with a dental professional. This process involves asking good questions, making a plan with the patient, and helping them make a decision about their health. Again, it’s a patient-centered approach.
The Difference Between a Patient Advocate and a Virtual Patient Advocate
Our Virtual Patient Advocate program is unique compared to other appointment settings, lead generation, and followup, or pre-sales positions in implant dentistry. We focus on helping patients be informed and make the right decision for them. Our VPAs typically come from the dental industry, highly motivated and passionate about helping patients make good healthcare decisions. That’s why “Advocate” is the most important word in their job title.
The difference between a traditional patient advocate and a Virtual Patient Advocate mostly has to do with geography. While both inform and help patients, a Virtual Advocate doesn’t need to be physically present at the hospital, clinic, or dental implant practice. This widens the playing field and enables implant practices to connect with high-quality advocates all over the nation instead of ones within driving distance.
And as mentioned before, many Virtual Patient Advocates actually come from the dental industry. They may have experience working on the treatment and insurance coordination side, or even as a hygienist or dental assistant. This experience enables them to advocate for patients out of firsthand experience.
What Sets Virtual Dental Patient Advocates Apart
Virtual Patient Advocates are an innovative approach to dental practice and marketing, especially for high-value procedures like dental implants. They go far beyond just remote selling for dental implants. They’re former treatment coordinators, former hygienists, and former healthcare professionals who really have a true passion to help patients and practices improve people’s health. They have the clinical knowledge to talk with patients about the treatment cost and make sure they get pre-qualified for financing before they come in. They’re not salespeople; they’re not appointment setters; they’re advocates for helping patients get the care they need and want.
To that end, Virtual Patient Advocates pre-educate, pre-qualify, and pre-screen patients to ensure treatment is right for them and that they’re ready to move forward. This includes making sure they have a plan for paying for the procedure, and the right expectations going into a consult or treatment. In this way, you could think of them as a virtual treatment coordinator, with a patient-centered twist.
They perform dental implant lead qualification as well as lead follow-up. Their role goes beyond remote selling and virtual selling into true care, which should be at the heart of every dental practice, especially those offering high-value procedures like dental implants.
How Virtual Patient Advocates Help Implant Practices Grow
Virtual Patient Advocates lead to growth for dental implant practices. They increase the phone answering rate and consultation scheduling rate through their hands-on, patient-focused approach. With a good VPA, more implant patients will feel comfortable and confident about moving forward with implant treatment.
Long story short, this leads to a higher case acceptance rate for dental implants. Every potential implant lead comes in pre-screened, pre-educated, and pre-qualified for payment. All that’s left is to meet the dentist and put a few dates on the calendar. They come in feeling confident about treatment and understand what questions to ask during consultation time.
Interested in Becoming a Virtual Patient Advocate for Implant Dentistry? Imagine working from home, one responsibility: Link qualified patients with the care they need. In the world of implant dentistry, a Virtual Patient Advocate (VPA) fills this role. It’s a fantastic job for those interested in dental implant lead qualification, remote selling for dental implants, and virtual treatment coordination.
Why Implant Practices In Particular Need Virtual Patient Advocates
Due to the high-value nature of implant treatments, patients require time and attention before they come into the offices. If all the preparation for treatment takes place at the practice itself, it will take away from the time the doctor and treatment coordinator have for everything else. Most practices are not set up to give patients a couple of hours worth of consultation time while pre-screening and pre-qualifying them for treatment. The VPA program solves this problem by ensuring that every patient coming through the doors has been pre-educated, pre-screened, and pre-qualified.
When you add a VPA, you stand out in the market, becoming known for the level of patient care you provide before a patient even comes into the office. It also solves a key restraint many practices face—having enough people and time to properly connect patients with treatment. The VPA program provides the people.
To learn more about how VPAs could help your implant practice grow, click here.