The value of understanding your patients



The value of understanding your patients 1

Doctify explains why it’s so important to get patient feedback on the running of your dental practice and how it can help guide your interaction with patients in the future.

Do you know how your last patient felt after their appointment with you?

Collecting feedback is one of the best ways of getting this direct insight. It can give you a clear picture of how your patients think and feel.

In turn, this can help you to determine what is working well and what improvements you can make so that their experiences with you are even better.

At Doctify, we work with dental chains, practices and professionals to support them in collecting and publishing this patient feedback. We wanted to share a recent case study to show exactly how gathering feedback can help you to get a better understanding of the patients that come through your door. And how this insight is beneficial to your practice.

Using feedback to understand and improve the patient experience

A snapshot

At Doctify, we work with a dental chain that has a number of practices across the UK. They partnered with us as part of their commitment to provide every patient with the best quality care and service.

They recognised that feedback would help them to gain the insight that they needed to do this.

When the dental chain started to collect and analyse their feedback, their Doctify dashboard allowed them to scrutinise the sentiment and also the common keywords that patients used.

It also gave them the ability to analyse the patient experiences that were less than five stars.

They had a chance to see not only their strengths, but also their weaknesses. This is important knowledge for any practice looking to consistently deliver the highest standard of care.

From their data, they could see what they were doing well. People found their practices to be clean, and keywords such as ‘professional’, ‘reassuring’, ‘efficient’ and ‘helpful’ were coming up time-and-time again.

The data also helped them to recognise what they could work on. They found that 24% of their patients were concerned about their waiting times. This gave them an area to focus on.

With 28% of their patients also rating their practices less than five stars and 10% of all their practices rated below 4.5, they knew they had to delve deeper into their feedback to determine what other factors were causing people to feel dissatisfied.

Review breakdown ‘backwards’

When looking closely at the ratings that fell below five stars, they could see that certain factors were being mentioned regularly.

Along with the wait time, people wanted the staff within the practices to be more friendly. They also wanted individual dentists to improve their explanations within appointments.

Common keywords in reviews below five stars

When analysing the keywords within the reviews that scored less than five stars, they could also see that reception and staff were regularly mentioned, along with COVID-19.

With their ratings scoring between 4.6 and 4.9 also regularly mentioning these keywords, this suggested that they needed to instil consistency. Some patients were entirely happy with their staff, wait times and their COVID-19 policies. But others were not, and they knew this was something not to ignore.

Treatments regularly scoring low ratings

When feedback is collected and published through Doctify, patients can tag their review with the treatment or procedure they had. This feature allows the dental chain to see the treatments that were causing the negative reviews.

People were the least happy with routine check ups and fillings, giving the chain another area to focus on. They wanted people to be consistently happy with these appointments.

At Doctify, we find that patients generally rate their experiences with routine procedures such as fillings or check ups lower than more complex procedures. This is often due to how the situation is handled.

When someone is visiting the dentist, even for a routine procedure, it is an experience that they don’t do regularly. It is likely to be embarrassing and worrying. Especially for those uncomfortable with their teeth.

Whereas for the dentist, the experience is something that they do day-in-day-out. And it is entirely straightforward.

This disparity can lead to a breakdown in communication, connection and patient satisfaction.

Recognising this issue helped the dental chain to see that while some procedures are classed as routine to a dental professional, it’s important that the visit is not perceived as such by the patient. They should always feel like they are getting the highest standard of personalised care.

Analysis to action

Having access to this wealth of information means the dental chain was able to find out what they were doing well and the areas that their patients were happy with.

Importantly, the feedback also shone a light on what was causing their patients to feel dissatisfied. This enabled them to make the right changes to their service.

The dental chain is continuing to collect feedback after making the slight tweaks that they needed to in order to improve the experiences of some of their patients.

Regularly monitoring the feedback that now comes in means that they can determine the impact that these changes are having. This real-time insight also means that whenever an issue arises, the chain can quickly act. They are then able to continue delivering the highest standard of care.

Collecting feedback is more important now than ever before

At Doctify, we have found that more patients are leaving reviews than ever before. The amount of feedback that we have collected within the dentistry industry has been increasing ever since we launched.

Patients have a strong desire to talk about their experiences. Through collecting feedback and publishing it online, you are not only giving your patients a voice. You are also giving yourself the ability to improve patient care, retain clients, drive new business and increase your brand’s visibility online.

When working with dental chains, practices and professionals, we always discuss how to get patients to leave feedback. It is important to understand the submission method they prefer.

That way, you can make sure that you get the volume needed to truly understand their experiences.

The impact of COVID-19 on review collection

COVID-19 had an impact on review collection, particularly during the first lockdown. But since then, there has been a steady growth in the number of patients accessing dental care.

Patients are attending appointments and leaving feedback once again.

At present, we are finding that patients feel more comfortable using automated feedback links as opposed to tablets. This is likely caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of the dental practices we work with now send emails to their patients 24-48 hours after their appointments, requesting feedback. Patients then fill in a short survey about their experience.

We have found that collecting patient feedback has been particularly important for dental practices in recent months. With all needing to put COVID policies in place, it has enabled them to monitor how their patients are responding to these changes. With full visibility, it can help them to make sure that they are doing enough to keep their patients feeling safe and comfortable.

At Doctify, we believe that giving patients this voice is an extremely useful tool. It’s only going to get more powerful as more patients look to share their experiences.

If you’re not currently collecting consistent feedback, it is something to start thinking about now. What steps could you put into place to access this valuable information, so that you can showcase your amazing work and also drive improvements for the people who come in through your door?

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