Patient Experience – The Most Important Part of Dental Care
Why is this an issue?
Just how important are first impressions? One study estimates that you only have a few seconds to make a great first impression. So, what does this mean to your team and dental practice? This means that you have a brief opportunity to make a great first impression and distinguish yourself and your practice. This is your opportunity to build a strong relationship of trust with your patients. The more connections you and your team make with your patients, the stronger your bonds become. Common connections include their hobbies, hometown, family, career, and other interests. These common connections go a long way to building bonds and putting patients at ease. This is also to establish the bond between the patients in trusting the Dental expert.
How to make things better for the patients:
Typically, when adult patients are on the hygiene schedule for 40 to 60 minutes, there is initial information to be gathered, the clinical exam, a prophylaxis, and the doctor exam. This can work perfectly for those who have no complex needs, however, for most adults with an extensive dental history, the most important parts of the process get shortened or eliminated to accommodate the time schedule. These important parts include spending time connecting with the patient to discuss their needs and wants, educating them about their dental conditions and possibilities for their oral health, and treatment planning and sequencing the next steps for treatment. These components are the key to patients saying yes to your treatment recommendations and improving their oral health.
Consider another more efficient and productive process. When adult new patients are seen first on the doctor’s schedule with a second assistant or new patient coordinator, then the patients can be scheduled for their specific needs and wants more appropriately, and won’t be restricted on the already busy hygiene schedule.
By spending the appropriate amount of time with adult new patients, three things happen. First, patients feel special because their questions and concerns are addressed. Second, the practice wins because a thorough exam allows for more comprehensive diagnosis and potential treatment provided. Third, team members win because they are involved in the process and help guide patients along the path to better health. Patients can then be scheduled for the appropriate amount of time on the hygiene schedule for a prophylaxis or periodontal treatment. Even though some may object to a return visit, once patients understand that this is in their best interest, most agree.
Remember, dentists everywhere:
The stronger communicators and leaders that you and your team become, the more effective this process becomes. The more you can connect with patients, the faster that a relationship of trust is built. The saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” rings true in dentistry. Creating the Ultimate New Patient Experience will be a win-win for everyone!
Below are 4 key tips why a patient engagement is immensely important for healthy practice
- Smile and welcome them to your practice. Assure them that they have chosen the right practice and doctor.
- Make at least two to three connections with them. Some examples include talking about their hometown, hobbies, pets, or family.
- Take the time to acknowledge their wants and needs. Ask them about their goals for their smile and overall health.
- Take photos of their oral conditions and share them with the patient. Intraoral cameras are great for this.