Patient safety and coronavirus are the primary focus of 2020. COVID-19 has unleashed a climate of uncertainty and caused a total disruption of society’s way of life. For that reason, it’s imperative for dentists to have discussions about coronavirus, not only with patients but with their staff.
Like everyone else, dental practices and their patients have been tremendously affected by the pandemic. Because the virus is highly contagious, it’s of the utmost importance for dentists to talk about COVID-19 openly with their patients to subside their fears.
Top 3 reasons why dentists should talk about COVID-19
Patient Management is Crucial
Patient management has become pertinent because this virus has suddenly impeded on patients’ access to oral care — both preventative and urgent. Dentists have been categorically asked not to conduct any non-emergency procedures or surgeries.
To add to that, patients who were scheduled for incremental or future treatments, such as dental implants, may not know what to do now. Plus, everything is exacerbated by the fact that they can’t meet their dentists to discuss their problems face-to-face.
Regardless of a pandemic, attending to one’s oral care is imperative to remain healthy. Therefore, an effective solution to assist patients is making sure to offer digital consultations (if you don’t do this already).
Communication is Essential to Retaining Existing Patients
Patient safety and coronavirus discussions are a must. Foremost, dentists should inform patients about the restrictions that have been put in place. This should be done through the practice’s website, text messages, emails, and social media platforms.
The next important step is to identify patients who have already started incremental procedures and inform them via text message, email, phone call, or video calls about the new protocols, and how it affects their next appointment (i.e. will it be postponed or rescheduled).
In case the dental practice is not equipped to handle emergency procedures, those patients in need of emergency dental care should be referred to practices that can take care of emergencies. The good news is, a CDC survey has shown that patients feel comfortable going back to their dentists.
Easing Staff Fears So the Business Does Not Suffer
Amidst all this, dentists should also routinely talk to their staff about recent coronavirus developments. It’s not only patients who are fearful, it’s also a large majority of dental teams. Everyone has a family and loved ones they want to be mindful of.
Discussing protocols with the team is essential in maintaining a good flow of new processes to keep patients and staff healthy. An exceptional level of team effort is what’s currently needed to overcome this pandemic.
Dentists should rely on their experience and judgment to infer when their teams are not at ease. In case dentists are unable to ease fears of their staff, it’s best to point them in the right direction. Most insurance plans have an employee assistance program (EAP), or offer services for mental health.
Patient safety and coronavirus preparedness
As a dentist, it’s important to weigh these three reasons heavily. It’s vital to establish transparent communication with staff and patients to make sure they feel valued and well taken care of.
This pandemic has disrupted the way small businesses like dental practices function. Therefore, it’s more than just about being a good clinician, it’s also about being a receptive and thoughtful human being.
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