Ways to Improve Dental Patient Experience

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For
many, going to the dentist isn’t the most pleasant experience. The
mere thought of laying down with one’s mouth open for an extended
period while someone pokes around with sharp tools often deters
people from coming in for their regular checkups. As such, it’s
important to try to improve the patient experience as much as
possible to ensure they keep their appointments and get the treatment
they need. Improving your patient experience has many other
additional benefits, such as improving customer loyalty, increasing
the number of patient referrals, and facilitating growth. While it
may be difficult to have a great time at the dental office, these
effective ways to improve dental patient experience can help make
their appointment as pleasant as possible.

Streamline
the intake process

Wasted
time is one of the biggest contributing factors to a poor dental
patient experience. Most patients do not find the idea of dedicating
hours of their free time hanging out in a dental office to be very
thrilling. They want to get in and out as quickly as possible. One
way to ensure patients spend their time as efficiently as possible is
to streamline their intake process. After walking into your office,
patients should be able to easily check-in and immediately start
their intake process. This way they can productively utilize the time
they spend waiting for the dentist to update their information,
schedule future appointments, and pay.

Create
an entertaining waiting environment

A
patient’s experience can become tarnished before they even set foot
in the examination room if the waiting process is inefficient.
Because long wait times are often unavoidable in a dental office, it
is important to do whoever you can make that time pass as quickly as
possible. One of the best ways to improve your customers’ waiting
experience is by providing them with ample entertainment. Make sure
to stock your waiting room with magazines, children’s toys, and
games depending on your primary patient base. In addition, you could
also consider adding a television or charging station for electronic
devices to further entertain them during their waiting experience.

Provide
free Wi-Fi

Many
people look to their smart devices when faced with a situation that
involves waiting. Such devices offer endless forms of entertainment
that can keep your patients distracted during their wait. However, if
your office doesn’t offer free Wi-Fi, patients may not be able to
use their devices or may have to sacrifice a large chunk of their
data. Both options are sure to leave them feeling annoyed and
frustrated. Therefore, it is a good idea to offer free Wi-Fi in your
office or have the Wi-Fi information displayed somewhere noticeable.

Provide
amenities that improve comfort

When
it comes to improving your patient experience, comfort should be one
of your top priorities. If your patient is uncomfortable during their
visit, it is likely to drag on and on. While a slight amount of
discomfort is unavoidable when poking around in someone’s mouth,
there are many amenities you can offer to help decrease irritation.
For example, offering Chapstick to patients to avoid dry, cracking
lips or shaded sunglasses to protect their eyes from harsh lights can
go a long way for reducing discomfort. Because many patients find
visiting the dentist to be a stressful experience, you could also
consider diffusing some soothing essential oils in your office to
help calm their anxieties. Neck pillows, eye pillows, and hot towels
are additional amenities that you can offer to go the extra mile when
it comes to improving patient comfort and overall experience.

Provide
entertainment in the examination room

Many
dental offices put a lot of energy into making their waiting rooms as
enjoyable and entertaining as possible. However, they often neglect
to do the same for their examination rooms. Staring at the same
motivational poster on the ceiling while getting your teeth cleaned
can get old fast. To help a patient’s appointment go by as quickly
as possible, consider providing some form of entertainment in the
examination room, such as dental operatory televisions or music. Such
entertainment will help distract patients and make their appointment
go by faster.

Invest
in high-quality tools and equipment

Time
and comfort each play a monumental role when it comes to providing an
optimal patient experience. A great way to satisfy both needs is by
investing in updated dental tools and equipment. Having high-quality
tools can have a huge impact on your patient’s overall experience.
While your current equipment may work well enough, it could be
preventing you from providing the most efficient and comfortable
patient experience. Newer and more advanced equipment will allow you
to decrease your patient’s time in the chair while maintaining a
quality level of service. Your patients will surely appreciate the
time you saved them and will be more likely to report that they had
an enjoyable experience at your practice.

Send out
feedback surveys after appointments

Nobody
provides better advice on how you can improve your patient experience
than your patients themselves. One of the best ways to improve your
patient experience is to simply ask your patients how you could
improve. An easy way to get their feedback is by sending them a
review survey after their visit. If they had a poor experience, being
able to provide feedback will make them feel heard while also
providing you with applicable information on how you can improve your
practice. Once you receive such information, don’t just let it
collect dust in your mailbox. Try to implement changes in your office
that will help improve their experience in the future.

Hopefully,
these ways to improve your dental patient experience ensure that your
patients always leave with a shiny smile on their faces.

Henry Schein Professional Practice Transitions is a leader in dental practice transition planning, sales and valuations, dental practice financing, and buyer representation. If you are in the process of selling or purchasing a dental practice, we have the skills, experience, and expertise to facilitate a smooth transition for all parties involved. For more information regarding our services, contact us today.

Dental Patient Experience

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