Software developer Welltime’s Mubbasher Khanzada considers the importance of patient feedback in the dental setting
When we think of feedback, it’s likely we only consider various different professional or educational scenarios. In reality, however, we are providing feedback every time we communicate with another person – through our body language, tone of voice and the words we use.
Each of these communicative elements come with certain connotations that are picked up by whomever we may be communicating with – and based on those connotations, that person may change their own attitude or stance on the conversation. In this sense, it is almost impossible for us to not give feedback.
In a dental setting, this is particularly important. As practitioners, we may be able to identify our patients’ attitudes by the way they are communicating their desires or concerns with us. The way they react when we administer anaesthetic, for example, may help inform us about the efficacy of our technique – or, the way they communicate with our front-of-house staff may indicate how welcome they feel upon first entering the practice.
Feedback in this sense is non-quantitative – we cannot record each verbal or physical nuance that our patients communicate with us – but, nevertheless, it is still important to take note of in order to improve the service we provide.
More quantitative sources of feedback, such as patient surveys or comment cards, are usually deemed to be more helpful. The information captured by these methods can be used to gain a real insight into how our services are perceived by our patients – and with this, we can work to either maintain or improve certain areas. While many of us might roll our eyes at the idea of filling in a feedback survey – since, after all, we’re inundated with them these days –people do not mind taking the time to give their comments if they feel that their opinion will actually be taken into account.
Providing your patients with opportunities to express their views on your service will also strengthen the relationship you have with them. They will feel valued and important if you take action on the points they raise. In return, you will be seen as caring for their needs.
This kind of controlled feedback is very effective at helping you pinpoint areas for improvement, but can also be used to motivate and uplift your staff. If a survey does come back with positive comments, be sure to make your team aware of them – after all, praise is always welcome.
Author and PatientConnections
Mubbasher Khanzada launched Welltime over 10 years ago, to address the inefficiencies in the health sector and to improve the quality of services provided to patients. The company’s flagship product, first of its kind for the UK dental sector, allows practices to provide online booking for patients in a controlled and structured fashion.
PatientConnections is a web-based solution from Welltime. Designed to be a useful tool for dental practices, PatientConnections combines an effective feedback system with Google Reviews, a smart patient education service and a powerful social media marketing tool which “can help improve any practice’s service and build a stronger relationship with its patients”.