The experience your patients have in the dental office is crucial to case plan acceptance, recall compliance, and simply helping them relax during their appointments.
As a hygienist, you play a direct role in the way people feel about their dental care. Here are some simple and effective ways to improve patient experience during every visit.
No, it’s not about teeth. Smiling serves a two-fold purpose. One, it makes you feel happier to be where you are, even if you’re having a hard day. Two, it benefits the people around you, whether it’s the patient or your fellow team members.
Your patient may not enjoy going to the dentist’s office whatsoever but greeting them with a smile will help to ease their hesitations over the course of the appointment.
Practice Active Listening
It’s easy to fall into a routine where we go through our appointment pattern the same way on each patient. But active listening takes practice, purpose, and energy. It will also change the way your patient experiences care and the connections you make with them.
Add Human Touch
Touch helps relieve anxiety for most people. So, whether it’s an elbow bump, handshake, or a pat on the shoulder/arm while they’re in your chair (some people even prefer to hold your hand if the dentist is performing an injection) can help with decreasing patient anxiety and fear.
Depending on the social and cultural setting you’re in, try to incorporate touch in some way other than just scaling their teeth. Even in the days of social distancing, touch can be performed safely and in a way that still connects people.
Never assume a patient doesn’t have questions, concerns, or fears. Many of them will be too hesitant to voice them. If treatment is prescribed, casually explain the needs as you’re performing your duties, to reemphasize why treatment is essential.
As you talk, be sure to drop in basic information about simple financing plans, how insurance works, etc., so that you can help break the ice about payments before the patient moves to the insurance coordinator’s desk. Again, never make assumptions.
Remember Your Patients
Personal connections in dentistry are essential. Everyone likes to be remembered, but some of us have better memories than others. Consider jotting down a note or two in your patient file to help you remember something you talked about during the visit.
That way when they come back, you can ask about the new nephew, vacation, sending their child off to college, etc. It will help you form a personal connection with the patient but more importantly, it will show the patients you remember them and that you care.
Better connections aren’t just vital to your patients; it also helps you feel more fulfilled in your role as a provider.
CHECK OUT OUR MOST POPULAR CONTENT
The Best Dental Cordless Headlight
Fun Dental Conferences to Attend
3 Ways to Customize Your Face Shield
5 Reasons to Add the Featherlight to Your Shopping List