I try very hard to ask the question of every new patient I see early on in our first visit. My favorite answer is that a friend or neighbor recommended you. Isn’t that amazing? I make choices off recommendations all the time – who to meet with about technology, which labs are my colleagues using and happy with, where would you take your out of town guests for dinner? A recommendation embodies trust, value, and quality all in one sentence – and we have the power to make that recommendation at the tips of our fingers, 24/7. I love to hear we’ve been a recommended dentist by someone, and for all of you who have supported us in these first three years, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are appreciated!
We still see a lot of new faces NOT on recommendation. People who moved to the area, their dentist retired, or they just wanted something different. What is everyone else looking for in making their decisions on medical or dental care? I spent a lot of time this month cruising editorials and forums for what the prospective patient is looking for out of their doctor. Shockingly, people want their healthcare provider to run on time. This is one of my biggest goals – start on time, finish on time, keep everyone on time.
Something I look for routinely when I visit just about any business is how I am presented with the cost of doing business. Not surprisingly, DentalIQ found that prospective and existing patients want to feel valued for their business and not to be treated like an ATM. Unless cosmetic or elective procedures are requested by a patient, we make it a point to present plans that address the near, middle, and long term needs of our patients while presenting the options available. Many people will choose to do the best we are able to offer which should provide the longest-term successful result, and this usually has a higher short term cost, but a lower long term overall cost by avoiding the need to redo, replace, or extensively fix something later on.
Right up there with timeliness is clearly explaining what is happening, what is about to happen, and what has happened. Unless it’s the lottery, a vacation to Bali, or anything won on a game show, people generally don’t like surprises, so we make an effort to be as thorough as possible. I routinely tell patients I’ll plan for the worst and prep for the best – this gives me latitude when I’m treating a tooth to treat conservatively but with the patient prepared for possible outcomes.
On that note, one of the most striking attributes people look for in a healthcare provider is accessibility. Patients want to be heard, they want to be able to ask questions and get calls back quickly, and they want support after hours. Technology helps tremendously in these regards – we cover emergencies with a handful of other doctors in the valley so someone is almost always available within 30 minutes to an hour. I make it a point to follow up with procedures that may result in discomfort or required an extended appointment time, and always want our patients to feel comfortable in asking questions.
I’ll be the first to say I’m not perfect at all of these simultaneously, but I’m sure going to give it my very best effort along with Tishena, Erin and Cindy. What are you looking for in a practice? Call us or stop in sometime to say hello – we won’t bite!