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How To Improve Dental Patient Experience With Effective In-Office Communications

Melissa LuVisi
July 30, 2020

The success of any business can partly be attributed to its customer experience, which is becoming a key brand differentiator. Meanwhile, consumers wouldn’t hesitate to switch service providers if they don’t get a satisfactory experience.

This consumer mindset is changing dental patient expectations. Your patients’ in-office experience will have a significant influence on whether they’ll return to your practice -- and therefore impact your patient retention rates.

So how can you retain more patients by delivering an outstanding patient experience?

Effective in-office communication helps educate patients, alleviate their anxiety, set realistic expectations, and guide them to make informed decisions -- all of which contribute to shaping their in-office experience and treatment outcomes.

Master In-Office Patient Communications For Your Dental Practice

Here’s how to combine good communication skills with technologies, such as mobile devices and dental practice management software, to deliver a patient experience that not only attracts more patients but also helps improve treatment outcomes:

1. Use Mobile Devices to Facilitate Patient Education

Tablets (e.g., iPads) can help you educate patients as you discuss their conditions and treatment options. For instance, you can show patients their X-rays on a tablet. The visual can help you effectively explain their conditions and clarify questions while making the experience more personal.

Use a cloud dental software with robust dental EHR functionalities that allow you to easily share patient histories and treatment options on any device so you can augment your in-office patient communication.

Patients will feel more informed and empowered when they see their histories and treatment options all in one place. Sharing this information on a tablet also allows you to explain procedures in a more relatable way that puts them at ease. It helps you build trust and relationships with your patients so they’re more likely to return to your practice and follow through with their treatments. 

2. Personalize Your Communications

Patient communications and experience are very personal. For example, when you share treatment options with your patients, you need to gauge how each individual handles information. Some people need to arm themselves with a lot of details to feel empowered or in control while others may become overwhelmed and anxious.

As such, you should get to know each patient by honing in your communication skills. Be friendly to establish a good impression and build rapport. Listen to your patients attentively to understand their needs and take their input seriously to inform how you communicate with them and design your treatment approach.

3. Use Patient-Friendly and Consistent Language

During examinations and treatments, explain what you’re doing with terminologies that laypersons can understand. Avoid jargon and encourage patients to ask questions when you review treatment options with them.

In addition, use consistent verbiage throughout the patient journey -- from the content on your website and how your staff communicates with patients to how you explain their conditions and discuss their treatment options. This will help you deliver a consistent patient experience that not only builds trust but also reinforces your brand.

4. Text Post-Op Instructions To Patients

While post-op instructions are important to ensure optimal treatment outcomes, sending patients off with a wad of gauze and a few pieces of paper doesn’t make for a modern and outstanding patient experience.

You can leverage the patient communication module of a dental practice management software (e.g., tab32’s HelloPatient) to text the links to your post-op forms to each patient so you can improve the patient experience and optimize recovery.

Conclusion

Effective patient communication is the backbone of an outstanding in-office experience, which will in turn help you retain more patients. Not to mention, these happy patients are more likely to refer others to your practice, helping you improve patient acquisition cost-effectively through referral marketing

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