A visit to the dentist has an undeserved reputation as over 50% of the UK are anxious about visiting the dentist, which can lead to them delaying their appointment for as long as possible. However, when a dental surgery provides patient-centric care, a dentist appointment is nothing to worry about.
There are many ways you can ease the worries of your patients, one of which is adapting your surgery to be patient-centric. Before we get started on how you can do this, let’s consider what a patient-centric approach is…
What is patient-centric care?
Patient-centric care is when you provide care tailored to each patient’s preferences, needs, and values while ensuring that their feelings are considered in all clinical decisions. This method eases the tension felt by your patient and fosters a long-term relationship built on ease and trust.
Patient-centric care is not necessarily new in the dentistry world. Many dentists don’t recognise the term; however, when explained, they realise that this is a method they have already adopted.
To achieve patient-centric care, you must ensure your patients feel welcomed and relaxed in your practice, as it’ll instantly put them at ease and make them less anxious to visit. Additionally, when patients feel calm, they are more likely to return and recommend the practice to their friends and family.
Focusing on patient-centric care is not limited to how you care for the patient. In fact, that is one of the last steps in the process. The process starts by building trust from the moment when they step into your practice. Many factors can impact how they feel in your practice aside from their treatment, such as outdoor and indoor decor, reception service, and the technology used.
So, how can you transform your practice to become patient-centric?
1 – Upgrade your technology
Upgrading your technology is worth the initial investment, as it will reassure your patients that you have the latest and best technologies. They will respect the use of properly functioning, clean and modern technology and will recognise they’re visiting a progressive dentist, making them feel calmer and more confident with their treatment.
2 – Individualise your care
The treatments may be the same, but the people are not. When working with the same daily routine, you don’t want to risk your care becoming depersonalised and steering you away from patient-centric care. There are many ways in which you can ensure you’re delivering personalised service. Such as:
- Writing a handwritten thank you note to new patients.
- Greeting each patient by name when they enter the surgery.
- Ensuring that you aren’t dictating treatment to patients by asking what their goals are with their oral health.
- Taking sufficient time to address concerns without an apparent rush.
- Avoiding financial surprises through fee transparency.
3 – Soothe your patient with your practice’s design:
There is a strong correlation between appealing design and customer satisfaction. Creating a space where patients are comfortable and happy will help reduce their anxiety around visiting and could lead them to return for cosmetic procedures.
When designing your practice to be patient-centric, focus on creating an atmosphere that can soothe your patients. Choose calming colours such as sky blue or cheerful colours such as yellow to help your patients relax and feel positive. Make sure to avoid choosing red, which is associated with danger and could increase tension for your visitors.
The layout of your practice is also critical. If you have a large space, avoid adjoining seats in your reception area, as that will create a chaotic feel. Instead, go for seating clusters that section your space and allow it to feel residential, cosy and warm.
When designing the layout of your practice, make sure to put yourself in your patient’s shoes. Look at your floorplan, and ask yourself: what will the patient’s journey be like?
Think of what your patients will encounter when visiting and ensure their visit is well-thought-out and calming. If you were to lay out your surgery in a cluttered or confusing manner, this adds unnecessary stress to your patients’ visit, so ensure it’s clear to your patient where to go throughout a visit.
Last but not least is the exterior, the most forgotten component when it comes to patient-centric care as it can be easy to ask, “why is that involved in patient-centric care?”
Patients’ first impressions when visiting the dentist are about the exterior. The imagery of the outside of the building doesn’t need extravagance, but it needs functionality. When your patients arrive, they need to be greeted with a hassle-free parking situation that encourages positivity throughout their visit. Ensure sufficient lighting in your entrance and parking areas to avoid accidents that may demoralise your patients.
How can Turn Key Dental help me achieve the perfect patient-centric practice?
Whatever you envision for your practice, we can make it for you. We walk you through a design and plan process that helps you create a patient-centric practice.
If you want to discuss how you can create a more patient-centric practice which will encourage your patients to visit time and time again, get in touch by calling 07827 669302 or 01773 543030.