Who is the most important person in a dental practice? Some might say the dentist or name some other employee within the clinic. After all without the dental care team, you wouldn’t have a practice in the first place!
Actually the real answer to this is pretty simple – the patient. You could have a fully equipped clinic with the best staff and updated technology to perform the most complex procedures. But none of that matters if you don’t have patients to treat. In this respect, the healthcare industry is no different from others – the customer is the reason your business exists.
However, many clinics lose that laser sharp focus on patients along the way. The dentist is too busy handling the growing volume of patients to spend time talking to them. The receptionist or office employees are swamped with filing, scheduling appointments or other administrative tasks. As a practice owner you may be worried about the financial stability or marketing problems of the clinic. It’s hard to think of the patients during stressful times.
Turn your Practice into a Patient Centered Clinic
What does it even mean to have a patient centered practice anyway? It simply means that the entire clinic revolves around the patient. Every decision you take should help your patients in some way. Each and every employee should give 100% to those tasks that involve patients in a typical workday.
Are you thinking of updating your tools? Think of how it will benefit the patient before purchasing anything. Hiring a new manager? Consider the candidate who has a pleasant demeanor or customer facing experience. Any improvement or change you make to the practice should factor in the effect on the patient experience. There are a few ways you can start on this journey towards a patient centered clinic.
Switch to EHRs from Paper
This is easily the biggest step you can take for your clinic. Using an EHR can free up so much time for your team. Get back all those hours spent in filing records in huge cabinets or searching for missing patient files. Now you can access every patient file in a few seconds. Your receptionist can schedule appointments online and send reminders through email or text according to your patient’s preferences.
Using an EHR will reduce errors and mistakes in writing prescriptions, deciding treatment procedures and trying to understand the medical history or previous notes for a client. If you use a hosted EHR service, you can also reduce downtime. There’s no need to keep your patients waiting just because the computer stopped. Simply log into another device (even your phone) and continue working!
Train Employees to put Patients First
Training is a big part of your lives as healthcare professionals. You and your staff are constantly studying and learning to improve patient outcomes. But it’s not just enough to stay up to date on the latest medical issues, treatments and drugs. Your team also needs to know the right way to treat patients. Whether they’re in your office or out, patients should have a positive experience every time they interact with your team.
Not everyone is a natural at creating the best customer experience. Most of us need training in various aspects to get us up to speed. Invest in that training time for your practice and watch it pay dividends. All other things being equal, patients tend to remember practices which treat them right. When you impress a patient, not only do you get a satisfied client but they will also recommend your practice to others.
Technology and people are the two main prongs of any transformational project. Invest time and resources in these areas and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results!