We’re living in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live, work, and even think about healthcare. What’s more, it has shifted my job description from full-time orthodontist into fourth-grade teacher, sous chef, sanitation engineer, virtual-visit specialist, retainer solver, on-call Netflix navigator, and all-around problem solver.
In an effort to find some distraction from these burgeoning responsibilities, my husband and I sat down to watch Season 3 of the crime drama “Ozark.” (It might have been at noon. Don’t judge!) This week the lead character, Marty Byrde, was kidnapped by the head of the Navarro drug cartel and forced into solitary confinement. Each time the drug lord visited his cell, he asked Marty one simple question: “What do you want?” And each time Marty would answer with a half-baked truth. It wasn’t until Marty came forward with a pure, honest answer about what he wanted that he was set free and sent back to his family.
So, what is it that you want?
You want COVID-19 to disappear as quickly as it arrived. You want your practice to not only survive but thrive. You want to put people first and be a leader in your community. And 10 years from now, you want to look back and recognize how tough this time really was, but also see the good that came from it. I know because I am walking this journey with you.
But as we continue down the COVID-19 path and its aftermath, we also should be keenly aware of what our patients want and pivot our practice to meet those needs. But what do they actually want?
Patients want efficient treatment, esthetic solutions, and clear communication. They want treatment to finish on time and retainers not to be a burden. They want to be treated in a sterile environment and have necessary appointments easily coordinated with their schedule. Not least of all, they want to know that we care.
In short, patients want us to make every aspect of orthodontics easy for them.
Together, we will speak to the needs of our patients. Like the Phoenix that rises from the ashes, we too will emerge from COVID-19 even better than we were before. We will encourage and depend upon each other, and the success of our profession will soar like never before.
We are more than orthodontists. We are thinkers, problem solvers, community leaders, philanthropists, and artists. We are greater than the sum of our parts. Just like that Phoenix, our profession will emerge stronger, smarter, and more agile.
The world has changed. Our patients’ expectations have changed. We will rise together to face these new challenges and find new solutions. And that’s the pure, honest truth.