Build Trust with Effective Hand-Offs

One of the most frustrating experiences for patients is repeating key points about health history and treatment needs to multiple members of the clinical team. Patients may wonder if the team is on the same page or if the practice is just too busy to care. How can you build trusting relationships with patients if they feel like this?

Dentist and patient

Contrast this to appointments where one team member completes the update of information and the dentist and team are well informed when talking to the patient. When patients believe you are listening and making the effort to understand their needs, their trust in you grows, and this trust leads to strong patient retention, more internal referrals, and higher treatment acceptance.

One of the best ways to make sure you are informed about your next patient is to have effective hand-offs. Hand-offs can occur in the operatory where the patient hears the exchange and can add additional comments, or hand-offs can work outside of the operatory and the dentist arrives chair-side ready to discuss key points with the patient. Either way, effective hand-offs demonstrate to the patient that everyone is on the same page.

Dentist and xray

What makes for an effective handoff? Most effective hand-offs will contain the following:

  • New potential treatment concerns.
  • Pending treatment that was reviewed.
  • Specific perio and hygiene findings including recommended recall interval.
  • Changes in health and medications.
  • Personal items of interest discussed during the visit (vacations, promotions, hobbies, etc.).

Since the most important patients in your practice are the ones seated in your dental chair, make sure those patients feel valued. With some extra effort, you can implement consistently effective hand-offs that will build patient trust and ultimately your practice.

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