Patient engagement is a term that has become extremely popular throughout differing disciplines in healthcare. However, the term is often misconstrued, misused and difficult to interpret. We see it as a simple tool that other industries have utilised to increase consumer satisfaction and drive repeat business, and it’s simply referred to as ‘customer service’.
Within an Orthodontic Practice there are countless areas to create a unique, tailored and efficient patient journey. The key is identifying areas of strength and weakness within your practice and utilising all your resources effectively to create a streamlined process. Something that seems as simple as a treatment plan can be adapted to specifically suit the way your practice operates. A carefully managed treatment process will not only create synergy but will also improve the patient experience. This will allow the opportunity for the patient to become an advocate for your practice, something money can’t buy!
First impressions are lasting impressions. Practice staff should be aware of the importance of patient relations. Often they will be the first point of contact and will be present throughout the entirety of the treatment. Creating a safe and professional environment will allow an easy transition into whatever treatment is required. An employee’s actions and manner account for a significant portion of the reputation of a practice and represent the company’s values. Providing training in these areas is essential, as your team is a reflection of the service you provide.
Communication = Cooperation
Communication is essential from day one of treatment until the patient is fully satisfied in the end. Keeping patients informed during each stage is crucial. If a patient is aware of the stage and importance of the procedure, they will ultimately feel more comfortable and cooperative with the process. Different methods should be explored to ensure information is readily available to access at any time. Participation in decision-making at each stage and expressing aspirations and expectations are encouraged to leave both patient and practitioner satisfied.
Ultimately it may not be the large changes to practice efficiency that create a monumental shift in your patient’s journey. It may be the small incremental steps taken by all individuals within your team that allow you to reach your goal of a satisfied patient.
Consider every step of the patient’s journey and ensure you are effectively engaging at every opportunity.
Building a relationship and rapport between the patient and practitioner will create a culture of mutual respect between both parties.