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How to stop Missing Opportunities during Patient Handoffs

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Handoffs aren’t just something you see while watching or playing football. In the world of dentistry, a handoff refers to transitioning patients from one dental staff member to another. Fumbling a handoff in football can cost you points or be the difference between winning and losing. Likewise, poor handoffs in your dental practice can have a significant negative impact on your patient’s perception of the service they received. Bryant Consultants wants your dental practice to avoid these potential pitfalls, so we came up with this list of tips to improve patient handoffs.

Strive for consistency from beginning to end

From the time a patient walks through your office door until their appointment is over, they need to be directed where to go next. Direct them where to go next, and introduce who will be helping them.  Patients like to know what to expect from one transition to another. For most dental offices, just escorting a patient is enough, and they do not officially transfer the responsibility of the patient to the next team member. Many dental offices even offer directions on where to go next and don’t even walk with the patient. This can leave your patient wondering what is going on and what is expected of them. They may become frustrated and not come back because they felt confused about the situation.  

Go beyond. Be better. Make sure your team is ready for that next handoff. That means being prepared to listen, pay attention, and set aside any other duties to understand fully what their colleague is telling them about that patient.

These three pieces of information are key during any patient handoff

  1. A review – The next team member accepting the patient needs to receive a summary of that patient’s appointment. The team member should share information, such as what procedures or treatments were done, or any other important news regarding the patient’s oral health needs. This also benefits the patient, who receives a synopsis of their care while allowing the receiving team member does their due diligence that everything possible was done for the patient.
  2. What’s next – The receiving team member needs to be sure they know what should happen as next, and confirm that step verbally while the patient listens. 
  3. Patient confidence – The employee making the handoff needs to confirm that the recipient has all of the relevant information to proceed. Doing so in the patient’s presence will also give them reassurance that they will continue receiving the same level of care regardless of the transition.

Building strong patient relationships is crucial

Running a successful dental practice is about much more than the actual work being done. It’s about fostering a sense of community with your patients. People can go anywhere to receive their dental care. They’re going to choose a practice where they feel valued. Your team can do their part to build patient loyalty by following some of the tactics listed above for successful patient handoffs. The key to this is consistency. Train every member of your team to treat these situations in the exact same way.

Not sure how to incorporate this training? That’s where the experts at Bryant Consultants can help. Our services can help you refine your vision, establish goals, and set processes in place to evolve your business. Contact us by calling (877) 768-4799. We provide consultation, training, and coaching to help improve the operations of your practice so that you can provide exceptional results to your patients. No office is out of reach for us. We will even come to you!

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