Improving Patient Communication and Successful Outcomes

I loved your lists from last week.  They were very powerful and I appreciate you sharing.  I hope that you took each item and had real candid conversations about them with each other in order to increase everyone’s effectiveness and cohesiveness.  I can’t think of anything more important than communication in order to develop a world-class championship-level team that has consistent performance (and success) day in and day out.

Of course, we have another group of people to work on communication with.  This one never ends because you can’t ever stop communicating with your patients.

You’ll notice in the Weekly Report that I am in the midst of an entire in-depth series of very advanced discussions around building trust with patients and how ultimately that matters more than anything else in order to get case acceptance, secure financial buy-in, retain the patient in your practice and everything in between.

Today, we are focusing specifically on improving patient communication.

We begin the same place we left off last week – MAKE YOUR LIST.

Each team member has a different vantage point and perspective (as I remind you every week) and therefore you need everyone’s input to cover all bases and points of contact with patients.

Where do you feel right now that you could improve on patient communication?

Just take each patient step in your process and experience.  Walk through and say what you could do better to…

–    Convey your philosophy

–    Discover the patient’s goals

–    Exemplify your differentiation from others

–    Calm the patient, build trust and engage

–    Involve the patient in the clinical experience and diagnosis

–    Work together to create a mutually agreed upon optimal treatment plan

–    Close on money, next steps, commitment to long term outcomes

–    Referrals, reviews and all those other valuable things patients contribute

The point is obvious.  There are so many things the patient goes through in your practice; most of which they had no idea about or may not even understand because they are part of YOUR process.  What great communication will do is the magic that I often describe as dentistry happening WITH someone instead of TO someone.

This special 180-degree difference is all done through communication.

Today, your list is the list that matters.  That is the areas of improvement you can make specific to patient communication.

I would ask you to think about this in three ways…

1st – What do you need to know about the patient to help make it a successful experience for them?

2nd – What does the patient need to know about you, themselves, the process, etc (EVERYTHING) to make it a successful experience?

Now you do this for your own personal position and responsibilities first and then you also think about the your thoughts for helping your other team members.

The secret to this is that no one person stands alone with the patient.  It is about making sure that you are successfully helping the patient be prepared for the next step, phase, team member in the experience.

That’s how we connect patient communication to team member communication, which is so incredibly important.

Your communication with patients matter.

Your communication with each other matters.

But the real magic is connecting the two together and that is where we’ll go next week.

In the meantime, here are the keys to communication with anyone… especially your patients, but also your kids, spouses and EVERYONE else you want to have a great relationship with.

Ask Questions.

Be Curious.

Care.

LISTEN.

Restate.

Describe and Explain Clearly.

Be Transparent.

VERIFY Understanding.

If you want to be the best… add a few adjectives to each and you will be on your way to becoming a more effective communicator with everyone including your patients.

Ask MORE and BETTER Questions.

Be GENUINELY and STRATEGICALLY Curious.

Care MORE and with AUTHENTICITY.

LISTEN MORE and BETTER and WANT TO.

Restate FREQUENTLY.

Describe and Explain Clearly WHAT Matters Most To THEM.

Be Transparent WITH Your Objectives and THEIR Experience.

VERIFY Understanding with EVERY “next step” / Decision.

Remember YOUR List is the key.  You know best where you take shortcuts or miss steps or do not fully engage the patients.

Let’s make it happen – because nothing else does – without this.

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