Patient satisfaction and patient-centred care are both multidimensional concepts, however there are four key categories that patients place a high priority on when engaging with a dental practice and evaluating the overall service and experience they receive. These include quality, interaction, access, environment. If any of these components are less than satisfactory, it will have a direct impact on the entire experience of the patient.  

Interaction

Dentistry is considered a “people business” and the overall experience a patient has with a dental practice depends upon the success of the dentist-patient relationship. Providing a friendly and welcoming customer service will play a huge part in nurturing patient satisfaction.

Patients hold certain expectations and perceptions around the personnel of any practice, in particular the communication skills they hold. A dental team that listens, has a friendly attitude, can explain treatment options and procedures in a professional and respectful manner are all key traits in being able to interact with patients on an emotional level, earning their trust, and being able to form lasting relationships.

 It is important to make sure that this translates not just when the patient is visiting the practice, but also during any pre and post treatment communications.

Quality

Quality from a patient’s perspective can be measured in a number of ways. Oral care services are of quality when they are considered to be safe, effective, patient centred, timely, efficient, and equitable.

The increase in public education and accelerated technological and economic developments has especially led to a greater need and demand for quality dental services and delivery.

Incorporating technologically advanced equipment within your practice operations is important in order to ensure that patients are receiving a quality experience and the best treatment available.

These Specialist ANCAR Orthodontic chairs Optima incorporated into the Karaka Orthodontic’s practice fitout deliver a functional patient service area whilst adding a delightful pop of colour to the space.

 

Access

A patient’s experience starts with their capacity to get an appointment when they require it, and continues on to the completion of their treatment through to their long term care plan. Their attitude towards this process can be impacted by the ease of getting to the practice, parking, finding the reception, and the wait time in the waiting room.

It is important that practice owners make an effort to capitalize on their working hours to accommodate their target market. Investing in an online appointment scheduling software will also help with patient ease-of-use and  optimise the service offered to each patient individually.

Environment

In the clinical and waiting areas, every effort should be made to make the patient experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.  

Visual comfort is one of the most important but sometimes overlooked factors here. What do patients see when they first walk in? Incorporating interior design aspects such as colour, artwork, lighting and greenery will assist with creating an inviting atmosphere.

The waiting room and the physical comfort of patients is another important consideration in maintaining a patient-centred environment. Investing in comfortable furniture in both the waiting and treatment areas will make the patient’s experience supportive and comfortable. In the waiting room spaces especially, if patients are waiting, providing some means of suitable distractions will make sure they do so enjoyably and without any frustrations or annoyance.

A combination of seating options were used in the waiting space of the North Shore OMS practice, which provided a nice flow as well as addressing a variety of needs to keep all patients comfortable.

 

Conducting patient surveys will provide a successful way to assess and refine on patient experiences. Through obtaining relevant feedback, practices can develop a better understanding of their patients’ experience and satisfaction of care and identify opportunities to improve.

By optimising the overall clinical experience for patients and making patient satisfaction a priority within your practice, dental care providers can create opportunities of building a strong reputation and attracting more patients in addition to retaining existing ones.

At Optima, we can help your practice adopt a more patient-centred approach and can assist with introducing some of the above considerations to elevate patient expectations. Our Vision is to change public perception on healthcare after all.