Regular dental appointments are essential to maintain your patients’ oral health and retain a client base. Dental offices across the country have seen a significant reduction in dental appointments because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be difficult to reassure your patients that your practice is a safe environment during these challenging times. Yet with clear communication and extra safety precautions, you can help your patients feel more comfortable scheduling their necessary appointments. Read on to learn more about how to accommodate your patients’ needs during the current health crisis.
Prioritize Clear Communication
Reassuring your patients that your practice is safe should be one of your top priorities. Because many people are experiencing a heightened sense of uncertainty and anxiety, communication is needed to ease patient concerns and relay necessary information about your practice’s protocols. Patients should see and understand that you are going above and beyond to keep them safe during this pandemic. To ensure they feel at ease, develop a clear and consistent message among every office you oversee.
Internal discussions with your staff can get everyone pushing the same message on safety measures. Talk to your team about how they can properly answer questions about safety and cleanliness, and develop concise responses that employees can easily relay to patients. It also is important to listen carefully to patients and staff so they know their concerns are heard and you are doing everything possible to accommodate them. Because your staff is your most valuable asset, you want to make sure that everyone is comfortable with the demands of their job duties, and that they can come to you if they have any concerns. Everyone must feel confident in your leadership during this time, so check in with each member of your team regularly.
Take Extra Safety Precautions
There are a number of safety precautions you can take to help keep your office and patient areas safe. The CDC is constantly updating recommendations for dental health practitioners, so check in regularly to get the most up-to-date information for COVID-19 in your area. Take extra safety precautions to disinfect your office, work with your team to develop a sanitation schedule, and establish boundaries in order to minimize contact. This could mean closing your waiting area, asking patients to not bring guests to appointments, and placing hand sanitizer throughout the office for easy access. Not only will these steps help reduce possible contamination, but they also show patients that you are prioritizing their safety.
Hand sanitizing stations, a closed waiting area, masks, and face shields all serve as communication symbols that show patients exactly how you are keeping them safe. Talk to your staff about what additional safety measures they would feel comfortable with and develop a plan for minimizing aerosol exposure. This will help staff and patients feel more at ease interacting with others during appointments.
Get the Message Out
Consistency is key, so make sure the messaging on your office’s cleanliness and safety measures works on all platforms. This can include email, social media accounts, and even calls to patients. Let patients know that you are open for business and they can call you with any questions or concerns they have about their upcoming visits. Give a short summary of your practice’s safety measures and let them know if you are offering teledentistry services. Along with easing concerns, these calls serve as reminders for people to schedule their regular dental cleanings.
Oral health is directly connected to overall health, so it is very important that patients are prioritizing their wellness during challenging times. Convey to patients that you are dedicated to providing high-quality dental services, so that they can stay healthy. Patient care in the COVID-19 pandemic requires trust in your abilities to perform your duties as a dental practitioner while also doing everything you can to keep patients safe.