When building a medical or dental practice, it is crucial to have the trust of your patients. If patients do not trust you, they will be far less likely to continue their treatment in your office. Building a positive relationship with patients may seem like a difficult task, but there are concrete steps that any medical or dental practice can follow to keep patients happy. Dr. Sally Gerges from Gerges Dental shares these steps and offers suggestions to help practices achieve the highest level of success.
1. Listen to Patients
It is vital that medical and dental offices listen to their patients’ concerns. When patients’ needs are not taken into consideration, the office’s reputation suffers. Medical and dental providers may find it useful to put feedback systems like surveys into place. Filled out anonymously, these surveys can help practices decide where they should put their efforts into improvement.
2. Build a Dialogue
Communication between the medical/dental office and the patient should be free and open. Patients should feel free to express their feelings about their treatment, rather than passively accepting anything the medical provider has to say. Encouraging a collaborative environment will help medical offices build their public profile. For example, a patient who needs extensive dental work may contact a variety of practices to get an estimate. This should be encouraged, not frowned upon. Feedback from clients who have done their research may be useful for fine-tuning your own services.
Allowing patients to have some say in their treatment is vital to the success of any medical or dental practice. Patients should have a full understanding of all procedures before they are undertaken. In cases where a third party needs to be informed, such as when treating a child or an elderly person, make sure that this third party has an equivalent level of understanding.
3. Be Upfront About Charges
One of the best ways to build a positive relationship with clients is being fully transparent about the billing process. Patients will lose faith in their medical or dental provider if they are not billed in a fair and understandable fashion. Making a treatment plan for each patient and going over each line item in a one-on-one discussion is a great way to ensure that each patient has a full understanding of what their financial responsibilities will be. The patient can also ask any questions regarding the priority of items on their treatment plan, building a good working template for the physician or dentist to follow.
4. Respond to Community Feedback
Today, there are many online review sites which patients use to judge whether a medical or dental practice is right for them. Practices should keep on top of these review sites and make sure that the information presented is fair. There are often procedures that practices can follow to remove unfair or defamatory reviews. When a patient reads positive online reviews, he or she is more likely to stay with the practice.
5. Be Personable
It is vital to have a good “bedside manner” to build a good relationship with patients. Patients are often intimidated by health care providers, and if they are afraid to say what they are thinking, they will not have as much trust in the practice. When dentists and doctors are friendly and approachable, they are more likely to build trust among their patients.
6. Take Care with Anxious Patients
Some patients are more anxious about procedures than others. These patients can present problems to medical providers, but their concerns and needs should be met at all times. For example, dental offices should be aware that many patients have strong anxiety about getting work done, and many more are anxious about the needles used in anesthesia. These practices can offer help like sunglasses, music players with headphones, nitrous oxide, and oral sedation to their patients. Taking away some of their worries will make patients loyal and will keep them coming back when they need treatment.
7. Bill with Care
When you are setting up a billing system, make sure you are completely up-front with your patients. Let them know exactly how much they will be expected to pay and let them know how much their insurance, if any, will cover. Hire employees who are experts at handling insurance companies and make sure that your patients receive the maximum level of coverage allowed under their plans.
Gerges Dental reminds all medical and dental providers that they should always put patients’ needs and comfort first. These 7 tips will help medical and dental practices of all sizes build trust and positive relationships with their patients. Happy patients are much more likely to become regulars, aiding an office’s revenue stream. They are also more likely to praise your practice online and in person, gaining you valuable referrals.