The Importance of Patient Comfort
While meeting your dental patient’s expectations in terms of results is crucial when it comes to patient experience and satisfaction, you shouldn’t underestimate the impact of patient comfort. Patient comfort doesn’t only refer to physical and mental ease or freedom from pain during dental procedures, it covers almost every factor of your practice, from the appointment-setting to the waiting room, to the period spanning before and after they step out of your dental chair.
Ensuring patient comfort promotes better patient experience and satisfaction, which then boosts affects patient loyalty and referrals and your clinic’s reputation, all of which can affect the business aspect of your practice. As such, we’ll be taking a look at ways your dental clinic can improve it’s patient’s comfort:
#1 Easier and Stress-Free Appointments
More often than not, people who set appointments don’t just do so for regular teeth cleaning or inspection, most of them call due to an existing dental issue that needs to be diagnosed and treated. In other words, they’re already experiencing a certain level of distress, and you don’t want to add to their discomfort by making it difficult for them to set an appointment with your dental clinic.
As such, you should provide them with multiple options in setting appointments such as through your clinic’s website, social media account, and not just through walk-ins or over the phone (some of them may even find it hard to speak due to their dental issue). It’s also vital that your appointment requests are handled by a well-trained and well-mannered receptionist, to make the entire appointment-setting a breeze for your patients.
#2 Waiting Time and Waiting Room Tweaks
Long waits can affect not only your patient’s comfort but the overall patient experience of your dental clinic. However, sometimes, long waits can’t be helped, especially if the patient arrived too early or if the current procedure extends beyond the estimated duration. As such, if you can’t reduce the waiting time, the next best thing to do is to ensure that their comfort in your waiting room and find ways to make the wait ‘feel shorter.’ Comfy and ergonomic chairs, a pleasant waiting room layout, reading materials (and toys for kids), and relaxing music can go a long way to improve patient comfort in the waiting room.
#3 Give A Tour, Connect, and Educate
Unless it’s an emergency, try to allocate some time to tour your dental patient around your dental office. Doing so would make the place feel less “alien” or unfamiliar to them, and can help put them at ease. While you’re at it, you should also try to get to know your patients more and connect, encourage them to ask questions, and let them feel that they’re in good hands. Not knowing what to expect can also make your patient anxious, so properly educating your patient with regards to their dental issues(s) and the treatments can put their mind at ease while also preparing them for any discomfort that may follow during and after the procedure.
#4 Invest in A High-Quality Dental Chair and Lighting
Your patient is going to spend a lot of time on your dental chair, so it’s only reasonable for you to invest in one that’s comfortable, functional, and safe. You should also be stringent when it comes to the examination lights you’re using; you should get a medical exam lamp which lights are soft enough not to cause any discomfort but bright enough for you to get a good look at what you need to inspect and treat.
These are only some of the many different ways you can improve your dental patients’ comfort, but the bottom line here is to put yourself in the shoes of your patients and try to see what you can change or add to your dental clinic (and practice) that can make the entire experience a lot easier.