What is sometimes lost in the new patient experience is, oddly enough, the new patient. The same issues can plague recall visits as well, making some patients resistant to returning to your practice.
What’s the problem? Too many times, there is not enough attention paid to what patients really value. The time and attention of the dentist and team are put toward discussing what patients need, which is certainly an essential part of new patient or recall visits. What is overlooked is the importance of involving patients in the discussion about next steps of treatment. How can we put patients back in the patient experience?
First, watch your pronouns. Use we, us, and you in place of I whenever possible. Bring patients with you by saying, “Let us now take a moment to discuss your treatment plan.” Or, “We can now discuss the best options for replacing your missing teeth.”
Next, ask your patients what they want from their dental care. Some people want to stay on top of treatment needs to minimize discomfort and expense. Knowing this helps align the next steps of treatment to achieve that outcome. Other patients do not want to do anything because they hate coming to the dentist. When this is the case, you can, over time help minimize phobias or sticking points so patients can schedule for needed care. When patients tell you want they want from your practice, it makes it much easier to personalize your approach.
Finally, always come from a place of empathy. Patients sense when you are talking to them about what is best for their health versus what is best for filling your schedule.
By putting patients back in the patient experience, you will not only make patients feel like you are doing what is in their best interests, but you will also build a stronger practice in the process.