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Patient Experience: More Than NPS or Google Reviews

by adminjay

In the realm of oral health care, where patient satisfaction holds paramount importance, the concept of net promoter score (NPS) has gained significant traction in the past few years, sitting alongside Google reviews as the way most organizations and practices measure patient experience (if they measure patient experience at all). While these metrics provide valuable insights into overall patient sentiment, they fall short when it comes to truly understanding and improving the patient journey.

In this article, we will: 

  • delve deeper into the multifaceted nature of patient experience in oral healthcare
  • show why Google reviews and NPS fall short when it comes to measuring the “why” behind your patient experience measurement, and
  • demonstrate the need for a more comprehensive approach to continually elevate the patient perception of his or her dental experience.

What Is Patient Experience? 

As defined by the Beryl Institute, a leading nonprofit committed to improving patient experience, patient experience is “the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care.”1

Why Is Patient Experience Important in Dental Settings?

From a clinical perspective, patient experience with care correlates with adherence to medical advice and treatment plans, as well as processes of care, like preventive compliance and chronic disease management skills.2-6 As dental professionals treat chronic diseases where adherence to daily prevention and completion of treatment plans is crucial for achieving overall oral health, it follows that practices and groups looking to support these patient goals would do well to pay close attention to measuring and improving patient experience. 

From a business perspective, many factors have contributed to results such as a 633% ROI and payback time of less than 3 months for organizations that focus on experience management.7 Good patient experience is associated with improved patient retention and loyalty,8 lower malpractice risk,9-11 and decreased employee turnover.12 As Dr. Adrienne Boissy, former chief experience officer at Cleveland Clinic, notes, “As patient trust is tested, service represents an opportunity to differentiate in this new world. But I have yet to see most organizations make substantial investments in service training, even though the cost of getting a new patient is multiple factors higher than keeping the one you have.”13

What Is NPS?

NPS, simply put, is a measure of how likely your patients are to recommend your dental practice to other people. There are many articles about the origins of NPS, how it’s measured, and its peer-reviewed applications in healthcare. Or, if you’re a fan of reading the original source material, you can check out Fred Reichheld’s book, The Ultimate Question 2.0.

It is unlikely that we need to provide a similar explanation of Google reviews. 

Why You Need More Than NPS and Google Reviews

NPS and Google reviews, at their core, provide a quality assurance marketing metric based on a single question. This metric can help you understand your patients’ overall feelings about the care they are receiving in your office (and, increasingly, outside of your office). While this might be all you need if you’re running a restaurant or selling a product online, as healthcare providers, we need more to understand the multifaceted nature of patient care. Additionally, we have never been satisfied with “good enough.” We understand that there is always room for improvement, both clinically and as it relates to patient experience. The problem with both NPS and Google reviews is that the score is completely detached from the “why” behind the number. If you have an NPS of 71, that’s great. But why is it not 80 or 40? If your practice has a Google star rating of 4.7, why is it not 4.9 or 4.2? To understand how we can continue to improve, we need more than single-question quality assurance metrics; we need systems of measurement that holistically capture the entire patient journey coupled with quality-improvement skills.

So what is the solution if NPS and Google reviews aren’t enough to measure and improve the patient experience sufficiently? Several important attributes of a meaningful solution are essential, but perhaps the most important one is that any solution must capture depth and breadth across the entire patient journey. This unveils patient pain points from the first touch to recare and allows offices to fix what is not going well. Most often, this data is collected via a digital survey, allowing for real-time reporting that allows for both meaningful system changes and service recovery, when needed.

For too long, oral health professionals have not had access to a solution that understands the unique workflows, challenges, and opportunities that dental care presents. Enter DifferentKind. As oral health experts, we have deep and meaningful experience understanding the factors that impact the patient journey and the evidence-based approaches necessary to do something about it. We help you measure, understand, and improve the aspects of the care you provide that impact trust and loyalty. It’s one thing to know you might need to treat your patients with more empathy, but it’s another thing altogether to understand and implement the style and skills necessary to actually do it.

From Convenience to Quality

As digital transformation has accelerated the consumerization of healthcare, many of the solutions currently being developed target making the patient experience more convenient. I’m all for this, as no one likes sitting on hold while trying to make an appointment when one click on his or her phone could accomplish the same thing. However, while convenience is important, it does not necessarily lead to quality.

This presents modern dental practices and organizations with an incredible opportunity to differentiate themselves by delving deep into their patients’ wants, needs, and desires. This opportunity includes solutions that help make dental care easier for patients and make them healthier. But to understand exactly what patients want, it is imperative to measure their experiences first. At DifferentKind, we’re committed to helping you thoughtfully excavate the experience goldmine, ultimately creating lasting and lifelong promoters of your practice. It’s time for more than NPS and Google reviews in dental care; it’s time for a DifferentKind of measurement altogether.


In conclusion, while NPS and Google reviews serve as first-pass tools for assessing patient satisfaction, the dynamic field of oral healthcare requires a more intricate and comprehensive approach. Dental professionals must evolve beyond the confines of conventional metrics and embrace a different kind of measurement that encapsulates the holistic patient experience. By combining quality-improvement skills with a commitment to patient-centric care, dental practices can transcend the limitations of NPS and Google reviews and cultivate enduring relationships with patients, ultimately fostering a reputation as providers of exceptional oral healthcare.


1. The Beryl Institute. Defining patient and human experience. https://theberylinstitute.org/defining-patient-experience/ 

2. DiMatteo MR. Enhancing patient adherence to medical recommendations. JAMA. 1994;271(1):79, 83. doi:10.1001/jama.271.1.79 

3. DiMatteo MR, Sherbourne CD, Hays RD, et al. Physicians’ characteristics influence patients’ adherence to medical treatment: results from the Medical Outcomes Study. Health Psychol. 1993;12(2):93-102. doi:10.1037/0278-6133.12.2.93 

4.  Safran DG, Taira DA, Rogers WH, et al. Linking primary care performance to outcomes of care. J Fam Pract. 1998;47(3):213–20. 

5.  Zolnierek KB, Dimatteo MR. Physician communication and patient adherence to treatment: a meta-analysis. Med Care. 2009;47(8):826–34. doi:10.1097/MLR.0b013e31819a5acc 

6. Sequist TD, Schneider EC, Anastario M, et al. Quality monitoring of physicians: linking patients’ experiences of care to clinical quality and outcomes. J Gen Intern Med. 2008;23(11):1784–90. doi:10.1007/s11606-008-0760-4

7. Qualtrics. Forrester: The total economic impact of Qualtrics CustomerXM. 2019. https://www.qualtrics.com/uk/lp/total-economic-impact-of-qualtrics/

8. Safran DG, Montgomery JE, Chang H, et al. Switching doctors: predictors of voluntary disenrollment from a primary physician’s practice. J Fam Pract. 2001;50(2):130–6. 

9. Stelfox HT, Gandhi TK, Orav EJ, et al. The relation of patient satisfaction with complaints against physicians and malpractice lawsuits. Am J Med. 2005;118(10):1126–33. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed. 2005.01.060 

10. Hickson GB, Clayton EW, Entman SS, et al. Obstetricians’ prior malpractice experience and patients’ satisfaction with care. JAMA. 1994;272(20):1583–7. 

11. Levinson W, Roter DL, Mullooly JP, et al. Physician-patient communication. The relationship with malpractice claims among primary care physicians and surgeons. JAMA. 1997;277(7):553–9. doi:10.1001/jama.277.7.553. 

12. Rave N, Geyer M, Reeder B, et al. Radical systems change. Innovative strategies to improve patient satisfaction. J Ambul Care Manage. 2003;26(2):159–74. doi:10.1097/00004479-200304000-00008

13. Boissy A. Getting to patient-centered care in a post-COVID-19 digital world: a proposal for novel surveys, methodology, and patient experience maturity assessment. NEJM Catalyst. 2020. 


Dr. Allen is the CEO and co-founder of DifferentKind, a platform that helps dental professionals measure and improve patient-reported outcomes and experiences. He can be reached at matt@differentkind.com.

Disclosure: Dr. Allen is the CEO and co-founder of DifferentKind.   

FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Panchenko Vladimir/Shutterstock.com.

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