The importance of soft skills
Research indicates that a professional’s soft skills have a direct impact on creating a patient’s impression of the care and facilities that are provided. Additionally, communication strengthens the amount of trust put in the dentist and increases the success of the overall treatment. Efficient communication entitles empowering your patients with adequate information that is required to make the best decision about their oral health. It will help build your reputation and practice as well as enhance the image of the profession overall.
To make sure that your patients are loyal to your services and that they continue to reach out to you to provide them care, it is essential to keep them well informed at every step of the process.
Increased patient satisfaction
Evidence from medical research suggests that a patient’s satisfaction is directly proportional to the attention, care and honest communication that they receive from the provider.
It also has been noted that due to open dialogue, there is a reduced yield in the number of complaints. This leads to patient retention.
It is estimated that 4 out of 5 calls from the public to the NSDA would have been resolved through better communication between the dentist and patient.
It is appropriate to provide your patients with adequate time to voice their concerns. This can significantly reduce the likelihood of late-arisen concerns or missed opportunities – which might lead to troubling concerns. If your patients have a positive experience, they are further convinced to accept those treatments that you recommend. Additionally, they will be inclined to return to you for ongoing/post-operative care.
Steps towards success
Among others, the responsibility of building a strong and healthy patient relationship is vital to maintain the success of the profession. It is dependent on the ability to recognize and acknowledge the individual wants, needs and concerns and to offer appropriate advice. The curriculum in medical school often tends to focus on the technical “how-to” aspects of dentistry along with clinical know-how. This results in neglect of the development of effective strategies to communicate better.
Few things to keep in mind to help get you started
There are various dental office management programs and third-party applications such as Slack – get it here – that facilitate ease of communication between operators, offices and the front desk. If your current system does not offer such services, consider upgrading it or downloading an application that can work smoothly on your existing system.
Staff members in a dental office with great communication have an elevated status of respect. Furthermore, its patients know that they are well cared for and the office would ideally have well-structured schedules that are adhered to in an efficient manner.
Here are a few ways to maximize your efficiency in communication as dental health professionals.
Make sure you’re well prepared for the morning huddle
It is extremely essential to ensure that each member on your team is on the same page before the day begins. One should keep in mind to cover the following points in the form of discussion:
- Know who your patients are
- Assess what they are going to need
- Individual concerns that you will address during the day
- How the staff will manage such concerns when they arise.
- Be aware of unique patient situations
Efficiently planning beforehand prevents unnecessary back and forth time for all staff throughout the day. This will also ensure that a sense of reliability is imparted to your patients.
Practice active listening
Effective communication entails attentive listening. Instead of trying to solely focus on the words you would like your patient to hear once they are done talking, shift it to what exactly your patient is trying to convey to you.
This involves actively placing yourself in your patient’s shoes, and getting a feel of his/her personal beliefs, attitudes, frustrations, fears and goals, among others
Verbalize the other person’s message back to them
Practicing active listening enables you to be truly devoted to listening to your patients’ requirements. It also helps you to reply with a better understanding of the situation.
By actively vocalizing and reiterating your patient’s concerns, shows that you fully respect and comprehend that which has been conveyed to you.
You must exercise the same sort of mannerism with your staff members. This improves the overall rapport of the office and prepares the team members with appropriate responses.
Focus on patient hand-offs
Clear communication with the members of staff is key to portraying that the situation at hand is being dealt with efficiently. Here is an example to illustrate this.
Situation 1: Walking your patient to the receptionist, handing the chart and saying goodbye
Situation 2: Walking your patient to the receptionist, making sure that your assistant re-emphasizes the need and specifications of the patient’s treatment to the receptionist while explaining the details.
Such a dialogue between the members of the staff additionally provides a sense of relief and confidence to the on-looking patient.
Communicating and empathizing with your patients is the key to establishing a life-long relationship filled with mutual trust and understanding. Keeping these few important pointers in mind is sure to take you and your practice a long way!
Mary Jones is the co-founder & editor-in-chief at TopMyGrades, which focuses on Content Marketing Strategy for clients from the Education industry in the US, Canada & UK. Mary has conducted a series of webinars for AssignmentEssayHelp on essay assignment help . She has extensive content editing experience and has worked with MSNBC, NewsCred & Scripted. She has also authored blogs on Lifehack.org, Wn.com, Medium.com, Minds.com and many more digital publications