I try very hard to ask the question of every new patient I see early on in our first visit. My favorite answer (just a smidge past “I read about you in the LocalsGuide”) is that a friend or neighbor recommended you. Isn’t that amazing? I make choices off recommendations all the time – who to meet with about technology, which labs my colleagues are using and happy with, where would you take your out-of-town guests for dinner? A recommendation embodies trust, value, and quality all in one sentence – and we have the power to make that recommendation at the tips of our fingers, 24/7. I love to hear we’ve been recommended by someone, and for all of you who have supported us in these first three years, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are appreciated!
We still see a lot of new faces NOT on recommendation. People who moved to the area, their dentist retired, or they just wanted something different. What is everyone else looking for in making their decisions on medical or dental care? I spent a lot of time this month cruising editorials and forums for what the prospective patient is looking for out of their doctor. Shockingly, people want their healthcare provider to run on time. This is one of my biggest goals – start on time, finish on time, keep everyone on time.
Right up there with timeliness is clearly explaining what is happening, what is about to happen, and what has happened. Unless it’s the lottery, a vacation to Bali, or anything won on a gameshow, people generally don’t like surprises, so we make an effort to be as thorough as possible. I routinely tell patients I’ll plan for the worst and prep for the best – this gives me latitude when I’m treating a tooth to treat conservatively but with the patient prepared for possible outcomes.
On that note, one of the most striking attributes people look for in a healthcare provider is accessibility. Patients want to be heard, they want to be able to ask questions and get calls back quickly, and they want support after hours. Technology helps tremendously in these regards – we cover emergencies with a handful of other doctors in the valley so someone is almost always available within 30 minutes to an hour. I make it a point to follow up with procedures that may result in discomfort or required an extended appointment time, and always want our patients to feel comfortable in asking questions.
I’ll be the first to say I’m not perfect at all of these simultaneously, but I’m sure going to give it my very best effort along with Tishena, Megan, Erin and Cindy. What are you looking for in a practice? Call us or stop in sometime to say hello – we won’t bite!