Ian Eslick shares reasons to be a health-based practice and how you and your dental team can be more health focused in the year ahead.
What almost all dental practices and all ethical health professionals are really trying to create is a loyal following of essentially healthy patients. Even if your ‘big thing’ in dentistry is cosmetic bonding or makeovers, you know that your work is really designed to make a mouth do its job well.
So why not come out and tell patients that health comes first, and show them how to really look after their mouths?
We know from decades of research that what most patients want from their dental practice is reassurance, help and advice on how to achieve a healthy mouth. They may come into the practice with a problem or a cosmetic need, but long term it’s health that matters. The most successful businesses deliver exactly what the customer wants, often with a few bells on it. Healthy practice = successful business.
Health is becoming even more important in dentistry now. What we know about the next NHS contract for example, is that it is going to be more preventive in focus. You can make sure that your patients know you are ahead of the game as you increase your focus, plans, programmes and communications around keeping better dental health.
There are well-regarded campaigns in place, already championing efforts to improve dental health. For one of the most impressive and a fantastic proof source regarding the importance of good dental health, visit www.efp.org/efp-manifesto. This is a Europe-wide campaign to encourage all health professionals to discuss dental health and the systemic links with their patients.
Further sources are available throughout the profession. For patient education, check out the Oral Health Foundation’s range of leaflets including Tell me about Caring for my Teeth and Tell me about Healthy Gums and Healthy Body.
Building trust and loyalty
Health-based practices can be very attractive to patients who appreciate good, honest, ethical and caring health professionals. Many ‘healthy’ communications delivered well can help to build trust and loyalty in a patient base. Patients know this approach is a long-term one, which will benefit them hugely.
The health focus and communications make for great team building strategies. All of the team can become involved with health communications, projects, promotions and events. We’re talking school visits, local events, challenges and sponsorship for building awareness.
Health-based practices can be more profitable too. For example, practices that achieve high patient attendance in hygiene programmes benefit from better regular income from existing patients without having to rely on treatment take up. Practices are also finding that patients who attend the dentist and hygienist more regularly have a higher take-up of restorative and cosmetic treatments too.
Patients who respond to a practice’s health message find their treatments last longer and look better too. In addition, dental teams feel more pride in their work when it’s placed and kept in the healthiest of mouths.
Finally, health-based practices know they’re doing the right thing: providing the best care for patients. Everybody wins!
To find out more about how DPAS Dental Plans can help you grow a practice-branded dental plan, call 01747 870 910 or visit www.dpas.co.uk.