With so many new things to think about and remember, let’s not forget about the importance of the first impression and the lasting importance of the last impression. Both are opportunities to convey the safety of the practice to patients. Here are some things to keep in mind as you provide an exceptional patient experience.
Conveying the safety of your practice to your patients begins long before a patient enters the doors. For more guidance on what to do leading up to an appointment, we’ve put together some talking points including video reassurance, re-opening announcements, wellness/relationship building check in calls, scheduling and reassurance screening, handling eligibility verifications (with recommendations from the ADA), check in talking points, and post-treatment check out processes and protocols.
Post-Treatment Check Out
It is important at this point to be attentive to new protocols to ensure patient safety; this portion of a patient’s appointment will be the last impression for the patient, and may be very different for the patient and you. However, key components remain the same. While you will not be walking the patient out, do not abandon sound financial and case presentation practices.
- Remind the patient what a pleasure it is for you to see them again in the practice.
- Create a proper transition of the appointment to a new stage. Review the treatment completed today and the next treatment needed with a time frame:
“We’ve completed your exam, cleaning, and x-rays today as scheduled. We need to get you scheduled for a crown on that lower right molar next; Dr. ________ is hoping we can get you in within the next month due to the extent of the fracture on that tooth. I know you shared you want to discuss some financial options for that as well. I’m going to ask you to go up front to talk with _________. (Alert front desk staff that patient is on the way in an OSHA compliant manner.)
- Provide a mask if they would like one, and walk up front to discuss financial options, keeping social distancing guidelines in mind.
- Consider taking payments at the start of appointments:
“I would be happy to process your insurance for you and collect your portion for today’s treatment. Completing this ahead of time will allow you to leave immediately after treatment today without needing to stop and check out while you are numb.”
“We have estimated your insurance plan to pay $________, leaving you with a balance of $________. We can process that for you now, so you can make a quick get-away following your treatment!”
- Process payments with a portable device and offer remote payment options such as pay-by-text or through your practice management software. The goal is to limit the number of times a patient must stop at the front desk. “I know you’ve probably used this technology before at coffee shops and other stores. This will allow us to take your payment more easily. We can also process through Venmo (or Cash app), which works better for you today?”
- Complete any necessary financial arrangements in the operatory or in the consult room, followed by a thorough sterilization of the room.
- Email treatment plans to patients, offering to review details and schedule via phone, email, or text.
- Do you have any questions for me? (Pause to listen and reply) We look forward to seeing you again!
- Accept and sanitize deliveries outside prior to bringing into the practice.
- Place a sign on the door with delivery instructions: sample sign
- Use gloves to sign electronically for packages.