Practice Success Through Consistent Patient Experiences – Part 4

Aside from yourself, there are two groups of people that will inevitably be catalyst for your success.  Obviously, I’m talking about your team and your patients.

This is what I have been saying for nearly two decades; that a practice has to be set up to serve and align all people inside of it.

NOT just the patients.

NOT just the team.

NOT just the doctor.

This is an equilateral triangle with all sides equal.  Therefore, they must all be aligned and connected in order to achieve success in a practice.

This has nothing to do with my Triangles of Trust, though that is a very good parallel for it and relates to what we are talking about today with consistent patient experiences.

My main point is that the success of your practice, regardless of how many bells and whistles, fancy technology, insurance or not, case acceptance, scheduling protocols, doctors skills, and treatment planning, depends on this foundational principle.

That is ensuring every patient experience is consistent and a function of your philosophy, systems, desired outcomes, mission, and purpose.

This is the epitome of my two philosophical pillars of dentistry being lived out with every patient.

Your promise to treat every patient like a new patient every single time.  Which means both clinically to always look at their mouth with fresh eyes but it also stands for always seeking, striving, focusing on wowing them through your undivided attention and a special unique individualized visit.

This is my mantra: IF every patient matters then you MUST make every visit count!

On top of this is the second pillar.

To commit to ALWAYS showing, educating, talking about, and illustrating for every patient THE BIG PICTURE of dentistry and how it fits into their lives by explaining what you do and how everything your practice stands for benefits them.

This is about building comprehensive treatment plans and engaging patients in true optimal health by taking the responsibility of leading and guiding them to smart, proactive decisions for their health.

It is also, in addition to the hard tangibles, about the conceptuality of building the patients’ value of the outcomes and benefits by moving beyond just triaging problems and “fixing” teeth to a bigger objective of what you do and what they deserve.

There is so much right there in this paragraph and really more over in the two pillars I’m talking about here.  You could invest a year out of your life to perfecting this inside of your practice with every team member and for every single patient visit.

Now, in addition to my two pillars, you live out this consistency by having defined what your patient experiences should look like.

What does an ideal Hygiene visit look like for recare patients, for kids, for perio, for new patients (if that’s where they go), etc.?

How do you move a patient experience from hygiene to treatment coordinator or exit them effectively or upgrade them to cosmetics or other specialty procedures or out to a specialists and back in?

How do you organize your emergency patient experience or your consults or your treatment conferences?

It really goes back to clarity of purpose and protocols to arrive at your desired outcomes and then following through on them.

Of course, you have “NEW” Patient Experiences.  That is where most of the thought and effort is put forth but then again – does it happen consistently?

I often hear from practices that someone takes photographs but someone else doesn’t or we do it most of the time or we take pictures but we don’t always show them to the patient.

Everything about your Patient Experience should be deliberate and intentional to serve the greater good of the patient anchoring back to what we agreed to – that helping them say yes to comprehensive dentistry that is in their best interest is the the purpose of everything we do.

To ensure your patient experiences are consistent you must ensure everyone is on the same page and that everyone is committed to this being the most important thing.  This means no one walks in unacknowledged, no one waits without reason and polite notification, no one gets their name shouted from the doorway into the reception area, no one is left alone in the operatory (or anywhere for that matter), no one is addressed by anything other than their name (no “patient” as a pronoun), no one misses the follow up on, no one is pre-judged, no one is underserved on treatment discussion, etc.

Being ‘busy’ isn’t an excuse for defaulting to an inconsistency that could ruin everything that the patient is going through.

I can tell you this: there is nothing more difficult and yet more important than the consistency of your execution of every single patient experience.

This is why you must hit reset every time you engage a patient.  Every time it starts over for this person, no matter where you are at in your engagement with them during their experience.  You have to be on point, purposeful, attentive, personal, and never be the break in the chain.

I’m not saying it’s easy, but I am saying it’s the difference maker.

If it were me, I would take a patient experience and ensure that from phone to follow-through there is a master checklist that contains every step and every nuance that every team member should memorize.  Then I would take it a step further to ensure every team member has their own individualized checklist of their role with every different type of patient experience which they can use as a reminder whenever needed.

What we can all agree is that things will happen, wrenches will get thrown into your plans and the day could fall apart.  However, you never stray from the game plan and from the principles of the Quality and Consistency that EVERY Patient Experience takes precedence over all other things.

You can see why last week’s Report on Teamwork is so valuable and significant to be able to live out this one.

You work so hard, you see so many, you care so much, and all of your team members would say the same thing.  Yet, so often it is one inconsistency or one thing left out or one patient who walks out or one patient left confused or one patient didn’t pay…  all because of a breakdown in communication or someone allowed a single step to drop.

Proactive work on this and building the foundation of your practice is where the greatest leverage is at in order to break records by helping more patients every day.

Next week, we are taking a turn toward the bigger context of leadership and management of just how to make these last four weeks of building and creating CONSISTENCY day in and day out!

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