As dental professionals, we share a common goal of providing our patients with the very best. Maintaining a professional team image, with an up to date, stylish office will certainly impress your patients when they walk in the door.
However, the one key element that determines both patient loyalty and referrals of family and friends is how you made them feel. The ability to positively connect with your patients is so important that it should be an inseparable part of dental practice training.
3 Traits of Excellent Patient Care:
EMPATHY: is a teachable skill to learn the ability to listen without judgment, to identify with and understand another’s feelings, situation and motives. View care experiences through the eyes of them by taking off our own eyeglasses and put on those of the patients and families to see through their eyes. When we do so, empathy transforms “I” or “you” to “we.”
• Ask open ended questions and get them talking about themselves
• Don’t interrupt when they are telling their story
• Reply back what you think you heard to show understanding
• Respond to non-verbal facial expressions
• Pay attention to body language cues exhibiting frustration
HONESTY: to be forthright with clear communication and education that is relevant to their clinical status diagnosis and options for treatment planning. Facilitate autonomy, self-care and health promotion.
• Explain in simple terms their information and check that they understand
• Clarify their oral health status of health, disease, and maintenance
• Don’t leave anything out on their diagnosis and ideal treatment options
• Present the fees prior to treatment and stick to them
THOROUGHNESS: attentive to accuracy, details and executed exams without omissions or short cuts. The time spent often reflects how thorough the providers are with meticulous documentation.
• Involve the patient in the collection of data during examinations and invite them to follow.
• Use the intraoral camera so they can see and own what is occurring.
• The efficiency of the hygiene exam and how the hygienist prompts the doctor in a recall exam shows professional transfer to the dentist with the patient listening.
The best way to determine if the patient is satisfied with the service is to survey them about their satisfaction and measure and evaluate service performance to continuously refine offerings. Patients will say yes more often if they receive personalized care from empathetic providers who are emotionally connected to patients’ concerns.