While online scheduling is the norm for just about every other industry, dentistry seems to be an untouchable field. But why? Why can we book a flight across the country online but we still can’t schedule a routine cleaning?
The answer, in short, is because it’s complicated. Dental scheduling involves a series of steps and complex rules that differ for every practice. To many dentists, the thought of opening up their schedules to the public and letting patients schedule their own appointments seems like a nightmare.
This is where a company called LocalMed comes in. LocalMed recognized this demand from patients, but took the time to listen to concerns from dentists,and build the first live, online dental scheduling platform.
LocalMed started as an idea by several LSU students at the Louisiana Business & Technology Center’s Student Incubator in 2011 in Baton Rouge. LocalMed gained the attention of former State Sen. Marty Chabert and start-up veteran Keith English, founder and CEO of LeadRev, a $36 million-a-year software company. Seeing the potential of LocalMed, English took on the role of visionary founder and CEO and localmed.com went live in May 2014.
“After spending extensive time studying and working with dentists, we have developed a system that caters directly to the needs of both patients and practices,” says English.
English explains in more detail how the system works in order to show differences between their system and other scheduling companies currently available. “Direct integration with practice management systems allows patients to view all availabilities for their particular appointment type and select the most convenient time and date for them.Unlike other systems available, once an appointment is selected using LocalMed it is a confirmed appointment, not an appointment request, and requires no further contact between the patient and provider.”
Patients are able to book appointmentsthrough LocalMed’s scheduling widget on practice websites as well as localmed.com, 24/7. Patients can search for dentists using filters based on name or specialty, location and insurance accepted. Provider profiles on localmed.com feature real-time availabilities, practice pictures, a professional statement, and accreditations to help patients make a selection. For example, patients can find a Baton Rouge dentist. Patients then have the option to create an account, which allows them to save providers, customize reminders, view appointment history and manage appointments for their dependents.
In an effort to bring online scheduling to the masses, LocalMed formed a partnership with United Concordia dental insurance, which has over 98,700 dentists and over 7 million members. LocalMed recognized that their technology could bring convenience to United Concordia’s members and providers alike. In September 2014, LocalMed’s online scheduling capabilities were made available on the insurance company’s Find a Dentist page. Dentists who sign up for LocalMed receive the scheduling widget next to their name, and are featured at the top of the results. This marks the first time ever that patients areable to schedule an appointment directly from their insurance company’s website.
LocalMed has big plans for the next year, and online scheduling is just the first step. They have identified what they call the “appointment process,” which includes basically all of the steps that are taken on both the patient and provider sides prior to an appointment. LocalMed wants assist in all of these steps in order to simplify the entire appointment process for everyone.
LocalMed has expanded rapidly since the software’slaunch in May, and currently has providers in 16 states and counting.Visit localmed.com today to refer your dentist and bring online dental scheduling to your city.