Simple tips to deepen connections with your dental patients

November 21, 2014

You work hard to build your practice’s image. Simply by giving patients your best at each appointment, you are establishing yourself as an ally in their health care.  

You work hard to build your practice’s image. Simply by giving patients your best at each appointment, you are establishing yourself as an ally in their health care.  

But in today’s hyper-wired world, there is more to your image than just great clinical care - there is also the relationship you cultivate with patients and how well you communicate with them. Are you doing everything you can to connect with patients, both in the chair and out?

How to connect better in the office

First, let’s consider what happens when the patient is in the chair. If restorative work is needed, chances are you’ve done the procedure hundreds of times before.

This is obviously a good thing in terms of your ability to perform great work, but it may be a bad thing when it comes to explaining the procedure to patients. If you’re tired of explaining how and why a crown is placed, it will probably show in your interaction with the patient.  A worn-out explanation will only hinder the relationship you are aiming to build.

Many practices find that using a video-based patient education system is a good way of avoiding the fatigue of repetitively explaining procedures. Not only does this give you a few minutes of your time back, but it also does a reliable and consistent job of educating patients. The video lays the groundwork for them to ask you follow-up questions from a more informed perspective.

Additionally, the third-party validation provided by a good patient education system can contribute to greater case acceptance. When patients see their condition and treatment illustrated, and are then shown their own X-ray or intraoral photo, it helps them mentally connect the dots and understand the importance of addressing the problem.

Delivering great patient education is an important way of maximizing your time with patients when they visit the office and helps them feel truly connected to the care you provide.

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Keeping the connection going

Patients can also feel connected to the practice when they are outside of the office, provided you have the tools to reach them in a way they find convenient and engaging. If you’re already worried about stressing out your office manager, fear not. A good patient communication software suite can do much of the work on its own.

With automated software, tasks like appointment reminders and recall notices can be accomplished with next to no effort. Software can also facilitate online appointment scheduling and bill payment for patients.

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A system like this not only gives patients a way to connect with your office 24/7, but gives your office easy and unobtrusive tools to stay in touch with patients. Whether it’s by automating birthday cards, marketing campaigns, or post-op instructions, you can easily add a few simple connection points to help keep your practice in the patient’s mind.

In addition, some patient education systems allow for patients to access instructional and educational videos outside of your office. Your office manager can email links to presentations or animations that can be viewed on a patient’s personal device. This allows for constant contact with your patients, both in and out of the office. By keeping up the communications, you’ll be demonstrating to patients that yours is a 21st century practice that is committed to accessibility and convenience.

When you hear the word “automated” you may think “impersonal,” but the truth is that automating select aspects of your patient education and communication can actually be a great help in deepening your relationship. Your patients will be better educated and better able to get in touch with you, and your practice staff will have more time to engage with them in truly personal ways.

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Note: This article is sponsored by Patterson Dental as part of the Dental Practice Management Partner Voice Program, which provides a way for leading dental manufacturers to share quality content with our audience. Patterson Dental offers a wide range of dental products including Eaglesoft Practice Management SoftwareCAESY Patient Education Systems and the RevenueWell marketing communications suite, which are backed by the renowned support and customer service team at the Patterson Technology Center. With multiple support options and more than 125 years experience in the dental industry, Patterson has the resources and expertise to help customers and practices reach their greatest potential.