"Our philosophy is that if we make it easy for our clients to send us work, they'll continue to do so," says Christian Saurman, Vice President, New England Orthodontic Laboratory (NEO), Wilmington, MA. With that thought in mind, the laboratory has implemented the following tools on its website to make case submission simple:
A quick and easy shipping option. To service clients across the country, the lab integrated its website with UPS. Users simply click the UPS button on the lab's homepage to automatically print a second-day air label; all of the fields and addresses are already filled out and the lab is billed directly.
An online Rx form that allows the doctor to set up standard Rxs for his most commonly prescribed appliances. The office simply signs in to the lab's website with its account number and password, selects the Rx form which automatically prepopulates with all of the office's account information, enters the patient's name, chooses the Rx and selects a due date.
While the office still prints the Rx and sends it with the models, the system helps streamline the process and keep everyone on the same page. "It eliminates carbon copies of the Rx and gives them a digital record of the case," says Saurman. "Since multiple people can be logged in at the same time, everyone can easily see when appliances are due which helps in scheduling patient appointments."
An online portal for intraoral scans. After completing the online Rx, the client simply attaches the .stl file which is then encrypted for HIPPA compliance and saved to the lab's server; a technician at the lab gets an email that says a new case has arrived.
While Saurman admits that the lab has spent thousands of dollars on its website and not all of its clients take advantage of these services—about 10% of them are using the online Rx and just a handful are sending digital files—he expects those numbers to grow.
"More and more of our clients are going paperless and also adopting new technology like intraoral scanners," says Saurman. "In the last month alone, we've gotten a dozen inquiries about whether or not we accept digital files, and I'm happy to be able to tell them that we do. We've positioned ourselves to be ready for the future."
What website strategies has your lab used in the past? What have you found to be most effective? Share your thoughts in the comment box below—our readers would love to hear from you!