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Patient communication has never been more important.
Patient communication has never been more important.
We live in an instantaneous society where people want what they want now and expect it to be provided. On the other hand, patient service has never been more valued. Our patients expect the best, and we need to always attempt to live up to their high standards.
This can seem unattainable when you look at your practice as a whole and think of the many important things you need to accomplish throughout the day: running on schedule with patient appointments, competitive fees, the newest technology and the list goes on. One small thing that I added to my practice that helped elevate my patient service dramatically was patient education software.
I have been practicing dentistry for almost 34 years and have been using my system, CAESY from Patterson Dental, for the last 15 years, and the new CAESY Cloud for the last two. Since incorporating this software into my daily routine and the routines of my office staff, we have seen an increase in case acceptance and a reduction in patient anxiety.
Best of all, we have built much deeper, more meaningful relationships with our patients, which not only keeps them coming back but brings in new patients because of great referrals. I follow a few simple steps when using my patient education software; read on to see how this small piece of technology made a huge impact in my office.
Complete your co-diagnosis
One of the things I focus on in my practice is co-diagnosis. It is so important for me and my staff to have the support and understanding of our patients as we explore their dental needs together and begin to make recommendations. The addition of our patient education system has helped with this immensely.
As dental professionals, we sometimes default to simply looking at the patient’s problem and quickly telling him or her how to fix it. While this is second nature to us because we understand the common issues we see on a regular basis and know how to treat them, this is new information to the patient and something he or she most likely has never thought about until the problem began to affect him or her personally.
When visiting with patients, I consistently try to explain why the issues they suffer from occurr before I diagnose the solution and offer a treatment. I spend time discussing the effects of the current problem and the ways we can remedy those issues together through various options. I do this to bring my patients into the conversation first by explaining what the issue is, then why it is a problem and finally the treatment options.
This is where my patient education videos come into play. During this one-on-one explanation, I tee up a video that pertains to the particular situation. The videos do a wonderful job of showing certain issues and illustrating how a particular treatment can help.
At this point, I begin to see my patients’ eyes open up. They understand both the issues and the treatment because I have taken the time to sit with them, visually illustrate their case and answer their questions. Many patients have stayed with me for years because they appreciate how in-depth my assessment of their cases are, which is aided by the videos I show during visits. They know that I am interested in their well-being and am invested in wanting them to actually understand their situation, diagnosis and treatment plan. I have had many people in the past tell me they accepted a particular treatment simply because I explained to them why it was needed and visually showed the treatment necessary to remedy the problem.
Stand out from the crowd
A patient education system can truly set you apart from the competition. Let’s face it: A patient can walk down the street and choose a new dentist any day. Most rely on social media and online searches to find someone they think will be the best fit for them, and many take into account the level of technology at their chosen dental office. By instituting this small piece of technology, you can leave a large impact.
One of my favorite features from my patient education software is the ability to show videos both in and out of the office. We have shown hygiene and oral care videos in our waiting room when greeting patients and can send videos home (via email) after visiting with a patient if he or she wants additional information or wants to share information with a loved one.
This is a great add-on that allows you to start the dental conversation the moment the patient steps into your office and extends beyond your doors once the in-person visit concludes. Not only do you appear to be cutting-edge because you can show multiple videos throughout your office, but you show your great level of attention and patient care by providing them with take-home information that benefits them after the appointment.
While it’s easy to forget, remember that we are ultimately only here to serve our patients with great dental care. They have the option to walk away whenever they’d like, so put in the time to build those meaningful relationships, take time to explain your patients’ issues and develop a diagnosis together, and take time to create a plan that both you and your patients are happy with. Patients value this communication and level of service more than you know.