It is the goal of every practice to retain a patient throughout the entire lifespan of the patient. There are many systems practices have developed to increase patient satisfaction and loyalty to the practice. You most likely have your favorites or have found the ones that have been the most successful for you.
An important factor in keeping patient retention at a high level is excellent communication. Most team members believe that communication is about talking but the most valuable gift is our listening skills.
Listening skills require us to put aside our own biases and our own agenda. It helps us put the patients’ focus and needs before our own. Listening skills require us to ask questions that draw out the needs, desires and wants of the patient. Patients will choose a practice where they feel seen, heard and trust has been established and fostered.
This exercise gives us an opportunity to practice our best listening skills in being curious and learning what the patient sees in their mouth and what is most concerning to them.
Have each team member select a patient. Print intraoral images of the patient. Have the patient review their photos, writing down or circling concerns they see directly on images.
Team members will invite the patient to share their concerns. Did you find that the patient had different concerns than you? Did this lead to discussions regarding treatment possibilities that you may not have considered?
Have each team member share their experience using the photos to learn about the patients concerns. What did you learn about the patient? What did you learn about yourself?
Exercise # 68: Practice Co-discovery with a patient. Share the experience with the team.