Summary: Orthodontic care involves communication with both patients and their parents, often leading to challenges, especially in complex family situations. Intiveo Connect helps by allowing multiple caregivers to receive treatment updates, reducing missed appointments and paperwork delays.

Key Takeaways:

  • Intiveo Connect enables communication with multiple caregivers, improving engagement and reducing appointment no-shows and paperwork delays.
  • Effective communication tailored to patient needs enhances treatment outcomes and ensures minor patients’ care is prioritized despite family complexities.

By Steven Martinez

Since so much of orthodontic care occurs in adolescence, communication between doctors and patients necessarily includes parents or guardians. Parents keep their children on track with their treatment, oral hygiene, and getting to and from appointments.

Occasionally, communication breaks down, and doctors find that they are having trouble getting parents to sign necessary paperwork or show up to their appointments.

Keeping Patients Engaged Through Intiveo Connect

Patient communication software provider Intiveo recently released a new feature called Intiveo Connect that solves some of the issues inherent to keeping patients and their families engaged with their treatment.

Josh DeVries, chief executive officer and co-founder of Intiveo, says that when it comes to oral care, particularly with specialists like orthodontists, the experience for families can be overwhelming, emotional, and challenging to manage.

This alone can lead to delays, says DeVries, but it can be exacerbated when the patient’s parents or primary guardians do not live together. With patients going back and forth between parents, a patient no-show can happen when one of the parents is less informed than the others.

Solving Complicated Family Situations

Early on, DeVries says that Intiveo would group messages together and have practices assign a single parent as the primary contact for these messages. Grouping messages helped to cut down on the number of texts that patients were inundated with, particularly since families with multiple kids in orthodontic treatment preferred to have all their appointments on the same day. However, requiring patients to designate a single primary contact proved to not be flexible enough for every family situation.

“We understood that there are single people and there are couples and there are families and there are all sorts of disparate situations,” says DeVries. “To not take into account when you’re trying to communicate something with your patient for a procedure is just naive.”

That’s why Intiveo Connect allows practices and patients to add non-patient contacts to the communication process. Through Intiveo Connect, practices can send text messages, automated or manual, to patients and any caregiver throughout the treatment cycle to keep them apprised of any upcoming visits, follow-up care, or paperwork.

For security purposes, practices still have to verify who the number is associated with and it has to be approved by the patient/parent who’s providing the contact information. Adding this capability brought more complexity to the task for Intiveo and DeVries says that might be why the company’s competitors haven’t implemented similar features yet.

Good Communication Leads to Good Treatment

What this ultimately enables is that when a child might be with a different parent on the date of their appointment, every parent or guardian will be on the same page. The idea behind the enhancements that Intiveo has made is simply to give patients/parents more options and freedom to tailor communication to their needs, says DeVries. For practices this leads to fewer missed appointments and less delays when filling out necessary paperwork.

“70% of all forms that are sent within our system are completed before the appointment starts, which is a phenomenally high number. You don’t really see that as a paper equivalent anywhere,” says DeVries. “What we have found is when you actually put the needs and desires of your patients, and you design communication around what they care about and how they want to communicate, every single metric you will track will improve.”

Complicated family situations are fraught with emotion and practices may be wary of placing themselves in the middle of it. But DeVries says that not only is it better in the long run to keep everyone in the loop, it’s also a necessary part of good treatment.

“I think it’s unavoidable. It’s a reality that when you’re serving a patient who is a minor, you have a responsibility to put that minor’s care first and foremost, above your own comfort of dealing with uncomfortable situations,” says DeVries. “I think it’s about delivering different solutions for different problems. And that’s really what we’re about.”