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How to Make Your Practice a Little More ‘Fun’

in Business and Dentistry

How to Make Your Practice a Little More  ‘Fun’

Theesan Vedan studied at the University of The Western Cape in January 2013. He has since taken up a position as a Military Dentist for the South African Defence. Theesan is dedicated in pursuing a career in dental education and has a keen interest in writing, especially if it is dental related.

You might recall the words of one of my past supervisors that I mentioned in a previous article 'Dentistry is 51 per cent patient management and patient relations and 49 per cent dental technical ability'. This article tries to show you, how to liven up your dental practice and its environment to enhance both clinician and patient satisfaction.

Here are seven steps to make your dental office fun:

  1. Have fun
  2. Plan the design and layout of your practice. Try and make your practice feel less like a typical 'Doctors office', with its melancholic atmosphere of impending pain and doom. Counter to belief, one should try to distance ones practice from the traditional medical office experience.  People should feel warm and welcome at your practice and not regard it is an offshoot of a nearby hospital, where they have probably conceived a negative image of the healthcare environment.

  3. Employ fun people
  4. Look for outgoing, social employees with a genuine concern for others. They should not take themselves too seriously and have a good sense of humour. Employ buoyant personalities, who bring a sense of warmth to the practice. Display this person at your reception desk. This creates a very positive image of your practice, in the mind of your patient. Like it or not, when people feel good about their experience, they think you're a great dentist. It's just how the human brain works.

  5. Treat patients like people
  6. Get personal with your patients. Let them do the talking. Add notes about them in their patient file-their music preferences, notes about their family, interests. Review this information about each patient with your team. Greet every patient, as though you are very happy that they have arrived for their appointment. Grumpiness should be met with cheerfulness and friendliness. Eventually, they will give in. Grouches are normally dealt with in a business-like manner; by being friendly, people will remember you and your inane cheerfulness.

  7. Target key patients
  8. Hold an informal morning meeting every day and analyse the patient list. Work out how to improve the experience of the booked patients. Get excited about dentistry. Decide on the 'worst' patient of the day and find a way to change the way they perceive dental treatment. Choose a favourite patient and work towards showing them appreciation for their compliance with treatment. Word of mouth is at the end of the day- the best form of advertising.

  9. Change your environment
  10. Legislation does not say that walls need to be all white or any colour for that matter. Decorate your walls with much more than your certificates or pictures of obscure clinical cases or a scary looking diagram describing the stages of periodontitis. Adorn your surgery with pictures of joy- happy pictures of patients enjoying treatment.

  11. Play fun, upbeat music in the office
  12. I used to put on SAFM (which is a South African intellectual talk radio station). It is no wonder some of my patients nodded off to sleep during endo treatment. I now, allow my patients to choose the music they want to play on the day of the visit- by selecting songs from a playlist on my website. I then make a quick m3u playlist in the morning and run it through my sound system.

  13. Decorate for every holiday
  14. Host costume days for your staff. If it's fun, ask yourself why not? It's not against the law (I don't think so).

A fun practice is a successful practice

Add a little bit of fun into your routine and watch as both production and staff retention increase, dramatically. Give it a try!
You will work at your practice every day for the next 20 years; why not make it a fun experience? Why not add to the enjoyment of your professional success? More importantly you are making each visit for your patients a relaxed and enjoyable one!

Theesan Vedan
theesanvedan@gmail.com

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