There are a multitude of factors that have an overall effect on the patient experience, but possibly the most important, is practice management.
Practice management relates to how you run your practice, from first contact with front-desk staff, to patient communication and to overall patient care. A practice with poor patient experience will not succeed, regardless of how many talented dental staff there are on the team. So how do you know if you have poor practice management or not?
Initial Patient Greeting
The first thing a patient sees when they walk into your practice, is your front-desk staff. It is up to the front-desk administrators to greet the patient, make them feel welcome and get them checked-in and settled quickly. If your front desk is not welcoming or is too busy to greet patients effectively, it will dampen the patient’s experience instantly.
Poor Communication between Team Members
Your patients will notice how your team interacts with one another if they are happy to be there and if you are working cohesively as a team. Communication that is strained, or not constructive, will reflect negatively in your patient’s eyes and perhaps make them trust you less, as your team is not working together. To avoid poor communication, it is necessary to hire the right person for each position, so they are qualified but also a good fit with the rest of your team. If you are working together and appreciative of one another, your patients will feel it.
Outdated Policies & Procedures
To provide the best patient experience, practices need to continually update how they run their practice, to keep up with the times. For example, automated follow up texts provide patients with an immediate follow up, as opposed to waiting for an individual to provide them with important information. Additional courses that provide new techniques can make the patient experience better, by providing quicker and less painful techniques. It is especially important to continue to update your practice policies, as the pandemic and its rules change day by day.
These 3 factors contribute greatly to if a patient will decide to return to the practice or not. Most practices become complacent in their patient experience and take their long-time patients for granted. By continually assessing how your practice is running, and making adjustments as necessary, your patients will appreciate the effort you have put it and continue to trust you with their oral healthcare.
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