We know what you’re thinking: the perfect patient experience, dental or otherwise, doesn’t exist.
Indeed, chasing perfection often leads to disappointment. But, what we’d like to tell you about are ten steps to how you can get there.
Let’s dive in!
#1: Everyone On Staff Knows the Practice’s Values
As a dental practice, ensuring a perfect patient experience begins with your staff. They are the ones that patients interact with the most, and their level of professionalism and care makes a significant impact on the experience patients have in your office. To ensure your staff is providing the best possible experience for your patients, it’s important to make sure everyone is aligned with your company values. This starts with knowing what those values are and then communicating them clearly to your team
One great way to do that is to have a weekly staff meeting where the values are discussed in some way. That might take the form of inviting employees to compliment other employees for moments when their peers saw them embodying these values.
Consider values like respect, dedication, empathy, and diligence. By encouraging your staff to embody these values, you’ll be well on your way to providing a truly perfect patient experience in your dental practice.
#2: Your Staff Knows Priorities & Expectations
Your dental practice’s values will help inform your team’s priorities and expectations. Your staff members must understand the importance of these priorities and the expectations that go along with creating a positive patient experience. Some of these priorities and expectations might include:
- making sure patients feel comfortable and welcome in the practice
- providing excellent customer service
- creating a secure and clean environment
- speaking kindly to colleagues and patients alike
- being attentive to patient needs
- ensuring that all procedures are performed with professionalism and care.
If expectations are not met, it’s important to generate a plan to help staff members regain focus and approach their roles with renewed commitment and attentiveness. Ultimately, knowing your staff knows these expectations will foster a great patient experience at your practice. We will see more about this later in the blog!
#3: Communication Between Different Roles or Teams
Moving toward the perfect patient experience at a dental clinic requires meticulous attention to detail, beginning with the communication between staff members. From the front desk staff to the dental assistant and the dentist, everyone must be on the same page to ensure a seamless experience for the patient.
More than just basic communication, coordination between different roles and locations is essential to create a positive and memorable experience for the patient. To achieve this, ask yourself some important questions:
- Are check-ins easy?
- What platform is best for communication?
- And does everyone understand their roles?
Addressing these questions will enhance communication and create an atmosphere of openness at your dental practice.
#4: The Team Has the Right Tools to Do Their Jobs
While many factors contribute to a great patient experience, one that is often overlooked is ensuring that staff members have the right tools to do their jobs. Imagine being in a situation where a dental assistant is frustrated with a computer program or a receptionist handwriting on a form. This situation could lead to a negative patient experience if they cannot complete their tasks efficiently.
Addressing issues like this can make a big difference in the overall patient experience at your practice. If staff members are struggling to complete tasks in one area, it might be time to consider a new tool. For instance, instead of manual tasks like calling patients, they could start texting them instead or automating these texts with software. Your staff could read digital forms much more easily than handwritten ones, for another example. Taking these steps can help your practice achieve excellence in patient experience.
#5: Ensure Work-Life Balance
By now, you are probably getting the idea that a perfect patient experience at a dental practice begins with staff. This means that the mental health of staff – dentist, dental assistant, hygienist, office manager, receptionist, everyone – needs to be prioritized. This can’t happen when there is a poor work-life balance.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial. Not only does it provide an opportunity for quality family time, but it also allows for indulging in activities that bring joy and satisfaction. It’s imperative to step out of the clinic and unwind, leaving work behind for a while.
A good work-life balance does not just foster happiness – it also fosters productivity and a pleasant work atmosphere. A well-rested and satisfied employee is more resourceful when it comes to providing quality patient care.
As a dental clinic, you all know that your staff is the backbone of the organization, and it’s therefore of utmost importance to prioritize their well-being. A healthy work-life balance improves staff retention and emotional well-being, making them more inclined to give patients a great experience.
#6: Have a Solid Messaging Cadence
One aspect of creating the perfect patient experience for your dental practice, that should not be overlooked, is having a good messaging cadence. By connecting with your patients at key touchpoints in their journey, you can build a stronger relationship and provide a more personalized experience. Touchpoints should optimally include:
- Appointment confirmations by text, email, or phone (according to your patients’ preferences)
- Pre-appointment instructions and reminders about any pre-medication
- Appointment reminders – if possible, include information on how to get to your practice
- Reminders about forms, either filling out a digital form before the patient arrives or coming early to fill them out manually
- Post-appointment instructions, if required
- Feedback surveys
- Requesting reviews, provided the feedback is positive
By establishing a consistent and thoughtful messaging strategy, you can ensure that your patients feel cared for and supported throughout their entire dental experience.
#7: Let’s Talk More about Pre- and Post-Appointment Instructions
Part of a good patient experience is supporting both a successful appointment and a successful appointment outcome. As we’ve noted, you need to send pre-appointment instructions. Let’s talk a little more about that!
Not only do these instructions ensure a smooth and hassle-free patient experience during the appointment, but they also contribute significantly to the appointment’s ultimate success. The instructions provide patients with the knowledge and information they need to prepare themselves, their medical records, and their queries before the appointment.
This enables us to optimize the appointment time and, more importantly, deliver the highest quality of care that our patients deserve. Post-appointment instructions serve a similar purpose since any ongoing care at home will help support a great appointment outcome.
#8: Make It Easy to Bill Their Insurance
When it comes to achieving the perfect patient experience at your dental practice, make it easy for your patients to bill their insurance!
Efficiency and clear communication are key. To provide a smooth and transparent experience for patients, it’s important to verify insurance details in advance and educate patients on their coverage. Offering pre-authorization assistance when needed can also help to streamline the process. Additionally, supplying transparent cost estimates and utilizing electronic claim submission can speed up processing times while implementing online billing services can make it easier for patients to access information. Insurance software can help support this outcome!
By training your staff to handle insurance-related queries and communicating clear payment policies, you can further enhance clarity and minimize patient confusion.
Lastly, following up on unpaid claims on time can help address any delays and ensure a smooth billing process. By adopting these measures, patients visiting your dental practice can feel confident in their insurance coverage and have a seamless experience when it comes to billing.
#9: Create a Welcoming Space
When it comes to the patient experience at a dental practice, creating a welcoming space is crucial. A well-designed waiting room can alleviate anxiety and set the tone for a positive experience. It is important to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities, such as having chair lifts or ramps available. Additionally, providing appropriate reading materials, such as magazines or educational brochures, can keep patients occupied while they wait. Including a TV with a calming program or soothing music can also help ease any nervousness. Soft, calming colors can create a relaxing atmosphere and make patients feel more at ease. Pediatric practices should also include children’s toys or books to entertain young patients.
By implementing these elements, patients can have a more comfortable and enjoyable experience at the dental practice!
#10: Let Your Patients Know Their Feedback Matters
It; ‘s hard to know if the patient experience at your dental practice is perfect, without knowing what your patients think! How can you know if you’re achieving this goal?
One of the most effective ways is through feedback from your patients. Soliciting and incorporating their feedback wherever possible, including positive patient reviews, can allow you to track patient satisfaction and identify areas for improvement. Patient experience software with a feedback feature can be an incredibly useful tool for this purpose, as it allows you to easily collect and analyze patient feedback. By leveraging this feature, you can aggregate constructive feedback and take actionable steps to improve the patient experience at your dental practice.
Ultimately, incorporating feedback from your patients is a critical part of providing the perfect patient experience in dentistry.
Perfection is Out There
Providing the perfect patient experience in a dental practice goes beyond just quality dental care. From aligning values with your team to ensuring that your staff has the right tools to do their jobs efficiently and effectively is crucial, to a consistent messaging cadence and more, so much goes into making patients feel at ease during their appointments.
Here at Intiveo, we understand the importance of providing an outstanding patient experience in the dental industry. That’s why we offer various resources such as template packages, ROI calculators, and other tools to help you give your patients an exceptional experience from start to finish. Be sure to subscribe to our content at the link at the top right to stay updated on all of our helpful resources and tips for creating the perfect patient experience in your practice. Together, let’s elevate the standard of patient care in dentistry and create happy, satisfied patients every step of the way!