Lighthouse 360 Review, Pricing & Features: Automated Patient Communication Software

Lighthouse 360 Review, Pricing & Features: Automated Patient Communication Software

Lighthouse 360 is the leading patient communication system for dental practices, and is ideal for practices looking to reduce cancellations and no-shows, and reactivate inactive patients.

Pros

  • Designed specifically for dental practices
  • Excellent for increasing existing patient recall and engagement
  • Encourages patients to write reviews of your practice to improve your online reputation
  • Sends automatic appointment reminders via text or email to reduce no-shows by an average of 40%

Cons

  • Does not include some core features found in competitors including teledentistry, appointment scheduling, and online payment processing
  • Reporting on marketing campaign performance is not robust
  • Communication history with each patient is not aggregated into a single inbox

Editor's Rating

4.5/5.0

Lighthouse 360 (LH360) is a popular patient communication system that was designed specifically for dental practices. The founders of Lighthouse have a strong understanding of what it takes to optimize a dental practice -- they also created PracticeWorks, a popular dental practice management system that was acquired by Carestream Dental in 2003.

The creators of Lighthouse created PracticeWorks in order to fill the gap in patient communications left by current dental software. Currently, Lighthouse 360 is used by more than 11,000 dental practices, making it the top patient communication option designed specifically for dentists. It is also the winner of the prestigious 2019 Dentaltown Townie Choice Award for Dental Marketing and Patient Communication Systems.

As a leader in the patient communication software space, Lighthouse 360 continues to develop new features to improve its product. For example, in late 2017, Lighthouse 360 launched its new "Fill-In" feature, which helps to fill in last-minute cancellations and unexpected schedule openings. In addition, in early 2018, Lighthouse released its new paperless forms feature, called "Patient FastTrack".

Lighthouse 360 Pricing & Cost

Here's an overview of Lighthouse 360's pricing:

  • $329 per month. No long-term contract.
  • One-time startup fee of $299.
  • $1 for Postcards, $2 for Letters.

For a free demo of Lighthouse 360, here.

Table of Contents

Lighthouse 360 Full Review

LH360 was designed specifically to help dental practices communicate efficiently and effectively with their patients. Earlier in its life cycle, LH360 ventured into other industries such as chiropractic and auto repair. However, its current focus appears to be solely dental, supported by the fact that the company was acquired by Henry Schein in 2019.

Lighthouse 360 is best known for its patient recall & retention capabilities. The system integrates with many popular dental practice management systems, including Dentrix, Open Dental, Curve Dental, and Denticon. LH360 syncs with your practice management system every 10 minutes, to make sure that Lighthouse has the most up-to-date data. This helps to avoid sending text reminders to patients who recently cancelled their appointments, for example.

Lighthouse 360’s primary competitors are Solutionreach and Weave. Doctible and NexHealth have also emerged as innovators in the patient engagement market. Lighthouse 360 and Solutionreach are the more mature systems in the market – these are ideal if you prefer tested, feature-rich systems. Doctible, NexHealth and Weave each come with unique tools not found in Lighthouse 360 including web chat, online scheduling and integrated VoIP phones. Consider these solutions if you prefer to use more modern software.

Lighthouse 360 Features

Below, we'll discuss some of the key features of Lighthouse 360, and how they can benefit your dental practice.

Patient Recall & Reactivation

Lighthouse 360 has various capabilities that help increase patient recall automatically. For example, Lighthouse can automatically integrate with your practice management system to detect if a patient has a treatment plan, and send reminders to patients accordingly.

If patients have scheduled appointments, Lighthouse 360 can send them automatic appointment reminders through text, email, postcards, letters, or automated phone calls. LH360 claims that this functionality reduces no-shows by an average of 40%. Note that postcards and letters come with an additional charge. One of Lighthouse 360's major selling points is its robust messaging capabilities, which enable you to create custom messaging schedules that help you follow up with patients at various points prior to their appointment. For example, if a patient doesn't confirm their appointment after your first message, you can schedule to have subsequent messages sent on future days, through a variety of mediums, until they ultimately confirm their appointment. This helps maximize the chances that your patient shows up for their appointment -- otherwise the patient may miss your initial message, or simply forget to respond.

To see an in-depth case study we did with Smileboston about reducing patient no-shows, click here.

The system comes with sample texts and emails that you can use immediately. Alternatively, you can create your own custom messages for different types of reminders, and customize them with your own images, copy, and design. Here's a sample text message:

Lighthouse Sample Text Message

If a family has scheduled multiple appointments on the same day, you can send one appointment reminder to one person, instead of sending multiple messages to each individual member. This is a nice personal touch that shows that you understand your patient's needs, and avoids needlessly bombarding your patients with too many messages.

Daily Task List & Online Appointment Book

Lighthouse 360 is also intended to simplify your staff's workflow. Each employee can manage a daily task list to remind them of various things that they need to do throughout the day, and help keep them focused. Staff members can also access their schedules in an online appointment book, which is especially important if your practice management system isn't already web-based.

Lighthouse Scheduler

Another added benefit is that since most reminders will be sent through the system automatically, your staff will spend less time following up with patients by phone, email, or other means.

Appointment Fill-Ins

Lighthouse added its "Fill-In" feature in late 2017. This feature will identify patients who are likely to want the available slot when there are last-minute cancellations or unexpected gaps in your schedule. Lighthouse can then send patients a message, letting them know that this last-minute availability opened up, so that they can reserve the slot. Since these time slots would otherwise go unoccupied, this feature helps ensure that your schedule remains full, and gives patients the opportunity to receive treatment when they want to.

Patient FastTrack Paperless Forms

In early 2018, Lighthouse released its HIPAA-compliant paperless forms feature, known as "Patient FastTrack". Patient FastTrack reduces patient check-in time by allowing patients to complete intake forms on their smartphone device prior to their appointment. This information is sent to your Lighthouse system, so that you'll have access to the patient's forms when they arrive for their appointment.

Paperless forms save patients time compared to traditional paper registration forms. Also, they save your staff’s time since they won't have to manually enter the patient's information into your practice management software. From the patient's perspective, paperless forms give your dental practice a more professional and modern feel, which plays an important role in providing your patient with an exceptional experience.

Reviews

After a patient finishes an appointment, the system will send him/her an email or text that requests that he/she fill out a review for your business on your preferred reviews site (Yelp, Google, Facebook, etc.) The time intervals that review requests are sent are customizable. Additionally, review requests can be turned off for specific patients who may have had a negative experience at your practice. Lighthouse also provides a widget that integrates with Facebook, so that reviews automatically display on your Facebook page. This saves you the time of manually updating your page with new reviews.

Soliciting reviews is an important step in managing your online presence and will go a long way in increasing your perceived credibility. These are important factors that potential patients take into consideration when trying to decide between several dental practices. Lighthouse also provides a widget so that you can display your reviews on your own website.

Reporting

Lighthouse includes basic reporting capabilities that provide more insight about your patient demographics, as well as your business's performance. For example, you can better understand who your new patients are (broken down by age, gender, zip code, etc.). You can also understand how efficient your scheduling has been, by seeing how many appointments have been scheduled, cancelled, or completed.

Lighthouse 360 Alternatives & Competitors

Lighthouse 360's primary competitors are:

Lighthouse 360 Integrations

Lighthouse 360 integrates with over 35 practice management systems. Here are several high-quality vendors that Lighthouse 360 integrates with:

Lighthouse 360 vs Solutionreach

When comparing Lighthouse 360 vs. Solutionreach, it's important to consider features and pricing. Overall, Solutionreach has a broader set of features, but is more expensive.

Lighthouse 360 has a slightly higher monthly fee at $329 per month, compared to Solutionreach's $299 monthly base price. However, Solutionreach is more expensive than Lighthouse 360 once you consider the additional fees for many of their add-on features. For example, Solutionreach charges extra for digital patient intake forms and review solicitation, features that are included in Lighthouse’s base price. Purchasing these features would increase Solutionreach’s monthly cost to $477 per month, substantially higher than Lighthouse 360’s.

Also, Lighthouse 360 has a more favorable, month-to-month contract compared to Solutionreach’s annual contract. Many customers report having issues with Solutionreach's contract, which auto-renews at the end of each period.

Though both systems offer similar functionality, Solutionreach is the more feature-rich platform. Three key features that can only be found in Solutionreach are:

  • Online appointment scheduling
  • Digital payment processing
  • Telehealth

If these are must-have features for your practice, Solutionreach is the cheaper option because you would have to purchase each feature separately from other vendors. For example, if you want to use online appointment scheduling with Lighthouse 360, you'll have to pay for a system like LocalMed or Zocdoc, which will cost an extra $250-$300 per month. In contrast, purchasing Solutionreach's online appointment scheduling module will only cost an extra $79 per month.

Lighthouse 360 vs Demandforce

In terms of pricing structure, Lighthouse 360 is the clear winner. As with Solutionreach, Demandforce requires users to commit to a long-term contract. Also, Demandforce’s monthly fee of $399 is more expensive than Lighthouse's $329 per month price.

Both Lighthouse and Demandforce offer similar core functionality and integrate with many of the most popular practice management systems. Also, the two systems both have many satisfied customers and are very popular amongst dental practices nationwide. Unless you have a personal preference for Demandforce, Lighthouse 360 is the more attractive option because of its affordability.

Is Lighthouse 360 right for you?

Lighthouse 360 is the most popular patient communication system used only by dental practices. It has all the major features that your practice needs to effectively engage patients. This includes appointment reminders, patient recalls, automated fill-ins for no-shows, treatment reminders, email blasts, and two-way texting.

The $329 per month price tag may seem steep, but users report that it's well worth it, and Lighthouse has a lot of data that suggests that the system can easily pay for itself by bringing in additional revenue through patient recall and reactivation. In addition, since Lighthouse integrates with many popular dental practice management systems, using Lighthouse won't introduce as much of the overhead that typically comes with managing multiple software systems simultaneously.

However, if your current PMS system doesn't integrate with Lighthouse 360, then you're better off finding a patient communication solution that supports your practice management system, or paying for it as an add-on module through your existing PMS. In addition, if you're looking to enable patients to book appointments online, you'll have to consider another system such as Weave or Solutionreach.

To learn more about Lighthouse 360, you can visit their website here.