17 Effective Ways That Are Sure To Improve Patient Satisfaction

17 Effective Ways That Are Sure To Improve Patient Satisfaction

You may think that there is no way you can improve your patient satisfaction, but that just isn’t true. At the heart of any dental practice is high-quality patient satisfaction.

Making patients feel respected, appreciated, and above all else, cared for is a crucial part of ensuring the success of a practice.

17 Effective Ways That Are Sure To Improve Patient Satisfaction

How can you improve patient satisfaction? In this article, we have put together a list of methods you implement throughout your dental practice to increase patient satisfaction.

From communicating with your patients to implementing behaviour-modifying tools, there are a whole host of ways to improve the quality of the service you provide.

Find out more below!

The Patient Experience

Certain elements can make or break a patient’s experience and, as a result, their satisfaction.

Before patients have even made an appointment, expectations are created on how they should be treated and how their experience will go.

They anticipate being welcomed promptly and courteously, being made to feel at ease in their surroundings, and receiving quality dental care from a reputable dentist.

They also anticipate having a favourable overall experience. If you can achieve these experiences, then you may just be excelling in the field of patient satisfaction.

Although, patients also expect their dental providers to be available and adaptable. Through the use of technology, the patient experience has become a lot more simplified and personalized.

For example, patients can make, change and cancel appointments online without picking up the phone and talking to someone. They can also view their dental appointments and have their simple questions answered.

The patient experience should be upbeat, convenient, and quick through technology. If your patient experience lacks any of these elements, you may lose out on a high patient satisfaction rate.

Methods To Improve Patient Satisfaction

Below are 17 methods to help improve your patient’s satisfaction rate and the patient’s overall experience.

Dentists And Patient Engagement

As dentists are the people who deliver most of the patient’s experience, it is of no shock that they play a pivotal part in ensuring the patient’s satisfaction is high.

Dentists must be trained to treat patients to gain the highest patient satisfaction rate.

With the internet and patients having a list of possible injuries, diseases, and illnesses at their fingertips, it is important to make a patient feel valued. Patients are more interested in their treatment options than ever before and expect recognition when determining the cause.

To ensure that a high level of patient satisfaction is achieved, certain aspects should be prioritized:

  • Accessibility
  • Communication
  • Quality of care
  • Education
  • Positive outcomes

Ensure each dentist is trained on the level of care needed to meet the patient’s expectations. Otherwise, your patient satisfaction rates could fall drastically.

Communicate With Patients

Taking the time to communicate with your patients will massively improve patient satisfaction and the patient experience.

The steps to improve communication with the patients include:

  • Positively interacting with patients as they make their appointments. Remind them of their appointments, complete confirmation calls, and accommodate their needs.
  • During an appointment, how you interact with patients should be clear communication about their dental health and prospective treatments, as well as listening to and addressing their concerns.
  • Post-appointment care. Call to book follow-up appointments, send follow-up emails, and make their health and well-being a priority.
  • Be polite. Whether you are answering the phone, greeting patients at the practice, or returning calls, be polite and well-mannered to ensure the patients feel respected and valued.

All parts of communication, including your tone of voice, body language, and the way the patient perceives you and your practice overall.

Being honest with your patients and communicating every step of the way will increase patient satisfaction immensely.

Limit Patient Anxiety

As you are aware, dental practices, in general, are a trigger for many patients. Many are plagued with fear and anxiety before making the appointment, whether for extensive oral surgery or a simple check-up.

This is where dentists, dental nurses, and others working within the practice can help improve the patient experience.

You can provide as much information as possible when aiming to limit the anxiety and stress a patient may have. This can include information about the procedure, staff profiles, and the dental practice.

Being transparent with your patients will make them feel safe and as comfortable as they can be throughout their experience.

There are simpler ways to deliver the information to your patients without spending hours on the phone or having them come to the practice unnecessarily.

You can set up a monthly newsletter to be sent to your patient’s email or through text. Here patients can be reminded of the experience and care they will receive before entering the practice.

While monthly newsletters or other forms of automated marketing can be time-consuming to establish, they offer great comfort to those apprehensive about coming in for their routine check-up.

You can also create a stronger relationship with your patients and improve loyalty.

Behaviour Modifying Tools

From a revenue point of view, it may seem counterproductive to help educate and establish healthy habits within your patients. But it can do wonders for those all-important patient satisfaction rates.

Habits such as smoking, excessive drinking, and an unhealthy diet are all habits that result in high dental expenses. Helping your patients establish healthier behaviours can help make their lives better and improve their patient experience.

Once a patient has completed all of their treatment and is within their routine oral care plan, you can provide more support and utilize the data you gather to enhance the experience of others.

There are new and improved mobile applications that you can implement within a patient’s aftercare treatment to help guide and track the patient’s behaviour.

This, paired with regular check-ups, will provide a personalized experience and allow the patient to learn healthy habits within their lives.

By seeking patient satisfaction and happiness, you may also track the overall performance and development of the practice.

It’s crucial to remember that once the data has been gathered, you should continue monitoring it because this is an ongoing method that will help improve your practice as a whole.

There is a range of apps that you can implement to begin helping your patients after their treatment.

Social Media

You may think that as a dental practice, there is no need to divulge into social media.

Now, there is no need to hire a social media manager or have an account on every social media platform.

A simple Facebook page with a post a few times a week can do wonders for your practice.

Your page should have a combination of curated and organic content for your patients to enjoy. This is an excellent way to engage with your patients and even expand your client base.

Keep your platforms light, and fun and add in an element of education. Answer patients’ questions or share a fun, exciting fact to surprise your followers.

This is a great way to make patients feel more comfortable before they enter the practice and provide appropriate expectations for the care they will receive.

Utilize the invention of content scheduling programs to minimize the time you spend planning your content.

You can even become creative through memes, videos, and contests on your page! Take time to enjoy creating a relationship with your patients through the use of social media.

Implement A Patient-Focused Business Model

One of the most important things you can do to improve patient satisfaction is to implement a patient-focused business model. This entails setting clear expectations for how patients will be treated and what they may expect from their visit to your office.

The easiest way to implement this business model is to put it onto paper. From here, you can begin to train your employees on the tools and methods you will use to improve the patient experience.

This should be included in the employee handbook should a member of staff need to refer back to it for guidance on how to handle a situation.

You may want to include words such as safe, understood, and valued within your business model, as this will help your staff understand the goals you are working to achieve.

Prioritizing patients will undoubtedly improve patient satisfaction. If the organization doesn’t embrace a patient-centric strategy, it runs the risk of concentrating on tasks that have little bearing on patient satisfaction.

You want to be firm when it comes to ensuring that a patient has a high-quality experience and is satisfied with their treatment.

Understanding Your Patient

People, no matter the situation, want to be understood. Taking the time to understand your patient, their needs, and their wants can help to improve the service you deliver and their experience.

Give your staff a chance to receive cross-training from different departments inside your practice. By doing this, they can communicate directly with patients to better understand them and increase your staff’s productivity.

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As your employee’s skills to understand patients better develop, they will be able to provide a better service to your patients. It is important to encourage staff to converse and interact with staff frequently.

Whether a simple phone call or sitting in on an appointment, your staff can learn how to understand what patients are experiencing and how to help them more effectively.

You may improve the effectiveness of your entire patient-centric strategy by building and maintaining a solid database of patient encounters.

Internal data, patient satisfaction surveys, and feedback are just a few examples of the types of information that can be gathered.

You can continue to perform these tasks and be able to identify the correct opportunities to improve the patient’s experience. The research completed within the practice should remain professional, be linked to the practice’s goals, and have defined limitations.

Accountability

Accountability, or in other words, feedback, is an excellent tool for recognizing when you need to improve a patient’s experience.

This measurement system should allow patients to give direct feedback about their experience from the practice environment to the people they interacted with.

This information can also be utilized to inspire staff members by praising those who delivered exceptional service. The data can be used to enhance their performance and learn from others’ successes.

This is also an effective tool for learning from mistakes. Whether it is an individual or the entire practice struggling to provide a high-quality service, systems can be put in place to improve service and accountability.

A simple feedback form or a more in-depth survey can be given to patients where they can directly state their satisfaction with their treatment will make patients feel valued.

Patients should believe that their experiences and opinions matter regarding their health and dental care. Take their words into account, making changes to the patient experience systems you have in place.

Transparency

Patients often complain about the pricing used by dental providers.

The experience of receiving a bill from a dentist and discovering that the overall charges are more than anticipated is one that many patients have encountered.

The pricing shock may result in a poor patient experience and lead patients to seek care elsewhere.

You can remedy this issue by being as transparent with your pricing. Telling a patient the actual procedure cost can be intimidating; your patients deserve the truth.

Especially when it comes to expensive dental bills.

This practice of being honest with your patient is crucial when a patient is uninsured or has a high deductible plan that will result in them having high expenses.

You and your staff should be straightforward with your patients while remaining compassionate and understanding of their situation.

Not informing them of hidden costs will only cause them to be unhappy with their service when the medical bills come through.

Produce Online Resources

In the modern day of technology, most patients in the US go to the internet for medical and dental information.

Providing direct sources from your practice that they can access online will make their experience significantly easier and increase their satisfaction rates.

Regularly updating your practice website is a great place to start.

Ensure it is up to date with information regarding staff, the services you provide, and the practice overall. Photographs are also a necessity as it allows patients to envision the environment before they get there.

Creating a library for your patients is another form of a resource that they could access for information.

Create short information videos explaining procedures, and provide links to articles and scientific studies that correlate with your practice. Allow patients to access this at their leisure for more information on a procedure or to help put their minds at ease.

One of the most common and least time-consuming is to have a frequently asked questions page on your website.

While search engines may provide similar answers, having the information written by a dental professional is proven to increase the authority of the information and provide patients with peace of mind.

If you feel that you do not have the time or possess the ability to create a full library with enough information for your patients, there is another way to give them the information they need.

You can create a list of useful links. This can include links to YouTube videos, professional journals, periodicals, or anything you feel would benefit your patients.

Including abundant information for your patients will surely increase their satisfaction rate and make their experience smoother.

You can direct your patients to these online resources when you are too busy or do not have the information they need to hand in. You also can attract new patients, as they will be fascinated by the materials you provide.

Create A Positive Working Environment

Positivity in the workplace significantly affects, just as it would in any other company. Encourage an environment where workers are motivated by helping patients rather than avoiding reprimands.

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Creating a positive working environment will empower your staff to maintain a high standard of patient care which can only have positive effects.

Dentists and staff members can easily reach burnout, which can cause the workplace to become hostile and patients will quickly notice that their level of care is decreasing.

As patient experiences create satisfaction, you must ensure they are treated with the highest level of care, which can only be done if your staff are happy within their work environment.

By being kind and fair to your staff, you can have a working environment that allows patients and employees to feel cared for.

This can be translated into their work with patients and will only increase patient satisfaction scores.

Provide A Clean Waiting Room

We have all experienced sitting in an uncomfortable chair while waiting for the dentist to announce our names. It makes the experience just that tiny bit worse.

Providing a comfortable and clean waiting room can make all the difference to a patient’s experience.

Providing a simple glass of water and a magazine to entertain your patients can make them feel at ease while waiting for their appointment. You want your patients to be happy and comfortable when you call them in.

Some changes you can make are:

  • Make the seating as comfortable as possible.
  • When treating young patients, you may find it beneficial to have a small selection of toys, puzzles, and books to keep them entertained during their wait.
  • Acquire a tablet station. Here patients can check in through your patient portal quickly and quietly.

The time a patient has to wait is also a major factor in patient satisfaction. You want to keep it short and ensure staff keeps your patients updated if you run late.

Ask Patients Of Their Needs And Wants

You may think you offer an excellent service for your patients and know their needs and wants within the office. But there may be some things you are missing.

Through your practice website and social media platforms, you can gather data to help you determine methods to increase patient satisfaction.

You will also be able to determine a budget for your online marketing campaigns and where you may need to make some changes.

You may also want to gain direct feedback from your patients. This can be done in a multitude of ways, but the most effective are:

  • Patient Satisfaction surveys. Directly asking your patient’s opinions will make them feel valued and appreciated in their dental care.
  • Place a feedback form at the end of their use on the patient portal. Make a small questionnaire to allow for quick yet effective patient feedback directly after their use on the patient portal.
  • Post questions on social media. Ask simple, direct questions and let your patients answer them freely to improve their experience at your practice.

Start A Blog

Including a section on your practice website for a blog can be great for connecting with your patients.

Allowing your staff to be involved is also great for boosting staff morale and increasing the work environment.

You can share your day-to-day life as a dentist or special moments with patients.

Patients can also comment on your blog posts allowing you to gain another form of feedback.

Share your experiences as a dental provider to ensure your patients are not alone. Create a long-lasting bond with patients to help retain patient loyalty.

However, there should always be a form of professionalism when creating a blog. Remain respectful and do not become overly personal when sharing your thoughts and opinions.

Offer A Payment Plan

Even when a patient receives a correct bill and their insurance claim is processed and reimbursed promptly, financial problems may still arise.

Patients with high deductible plans and those without insurance might require some time to make payments.

Offering a payment plan to your patients who need financial aid, especially with medical expenses continuing to rise, can give your patients a sense of security when treated at your practice.

To provide financing for a payment plan, you can either do it yourself through your office or in conjunction with a third party.

You should provide your employees with authority to discuss payment options with patients who express concerns about their ability to pay. Alternatively, you can do so directly with patients.

Final Thoughts

Ensuring your patients are satisfied can be a difficult and confusing expense. With these 17 simple ways, you can easily increase your patient’s satisfaction.

You can gain patient loyalty and even see an influx of patients as word spreads about the incredible quality of service and patient care you provide!