What if you consistently applied the principle that the more informed a patient was the more likely they would schedule and follow-through on treatment? It follows that dental patient education is the linchpin in that discovery.
There are indeed levels of patient education. And the quality you provide must exceed brushing and flossing techniques, etc.
Dental patients are more discerning these days. Their willingness to accept a treatment plan and schedule is driven by many factors including...
The tipping point could have much to do with their grasp of what’s at stake by accepting or postponing treatment.
This is where education is key!
Who’s responsible for dental patient education?
The responsibility is two-fold. You, as the dental professional, have a role in the educational process, no doubt.
But…so does your patient!
Technology and the immediate access to information eliminates many of the excuses you and the general public could make about lack of knowledge. In essence it involves a desire to be informed and allowing that information to compel decisions about dental health care.
”Patient education plays such an important role in our appointment time with the patient. It is our goal to shift the education to them and put the responsibility to maintain their oral health through proper oral health measures.”
What does dental patient education look like in this era of dentistry?
Having information readily available throughout your practice once relied on paper intensive strategies. While you might still have brochures or flyers on hand most are accustomed to digital access.
As you know, smartphones, mobile devices, and tablets now provide fingertip access to beneficial and compelling dental information.
Keep in mind that a “captive audience” chairside doesn’t always equate to an informed decision when patients check-out and depart…treatment plan in hand. The gap between educating them and their decision to proceed with treatment will be narrow or wide…depending on your strategies.
That’s why it pays to have a dental patient education mindset and related strategy. One that is convenient, easily accessible, and aligned with our digitally-savvy culture.
Curate and share content from reliable sources on relevant platforms
There’s a seeming limitless amount of credible and useful dental health information available online. First evaluating it, then creating and maintaining a library of links will enable you to have information ready the moment a patient could benefit from it.
- Curate content from colleague and industry social media channels (e.g. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc)
- Curate content from dental product manufacturers about product use, oral hygiene techniques, disease prevention, preventive dentistry, etc.
Create digital resources highlighting useful curated content
Again, paper brochures and flyers might still be useful to some who lack access to digital technology or who prefer a paper resource. Alongside that accommodation be prepared with easy to share, downloadable digital resources.
- Organize curated content around dental patient education themes and categories.
- Share the content via info-graphics, brief, in-house videos, or podcast episodes.
- Stream how-to or procedure-focused videos in your reception area, chairside, or via a provided link shared with your patient and viewable on their personal mobile device.
Construct a viable on-line library of dental patient education resources that’s available 24/7
Your website is perhaps your most valuable promotional asset. But it must be more than a mere overview of your practice and related services.
- Adopt a platform mindset about your online presence. In addition to your general practice information construct a dental patient education portal on your website.
- Start and use a blog page as a search-based, question-answer platform that has a consistent stream of new, informative content.
- Organize your ongoing blog and/or curated content around themes that answer specific patient questions or concerns. Publish ebooks around those themes.
- Open an online dental patient education portal that links to your blog content, curated content, FAQ pages, ebooks, video resources, etc. Provide one-click access to your patients and the general public via an email login (another way to maintain a connection with new and current patients).
It’s also a good time to ride the virtual wave by using teledentistry and supported technology to provide real-time dental patient eduction
If you’re considering upping your dental patient education “game” - check out the following resource for more ideas:
And another word or two about teledentistry and how it supports dental patient education
Teledentix is an innovative, turn-key teledentistry solution created by Virtual Dental Care. The all-in-one platform will enable you to adapt teledentistry to your patient care and extend your services (and dental patient education resources) beyond the walls of your dental practice.
- Teledentix provides an easy-to-use video conferencing tool that’s secure, HIPAA compliant, and specific to dentistry.
- Teledentix Basic is a perfect starting point. Begin with a free trial and then transition to a very low monthly fee. You and your patients can join unlimited video conferences including screen-share, file-share, video-share, and real-time chat communications.
Contact us about Teledentix and discover how it streamlines the interaction between you and your patient around their dental care and the educational content you can provide.