Offering patient reassurance. Communicating the steps you’re taking to protect your patients, your team, and yourself – while continuing to reinforce these steps throughout their appointments will be key to building trust. Below we highlight four areas to focus on to reassure your patients.
Social Media Reassurance
Consider posting daily patient reassurance on social media striking a balance between warmth and assurance. Here are some ideas.
- Spotlight and post your practice video
- Post the steps you’re taking to keep patients safe
- Post photos of what team members were doing while on furlough (CE, walks with the dog, baking up some great treats, etc.)
- Spotlight any new equipment or technology used to keep everyone safe
- Post a team photo from “pre-COVID” – “Under all our protection, we have the same heart as ever. Looking forward to seeing you!”
- “We’ve missed you and we’re excited to see you again at <Practice Name>, starting on ____________. We want to assure you we have the best sterilization protocols in place and are closely following the CDC recommendations. We’re here for you and all your dental needs with our extended hours on Fridays from 7-3 and Saturdays from 9-2. You can reach us at XXX-XXX-XXXX.
Sample Patient Email Reassurance
Recognize patients may be hesitant, encourage calls, and remind them you and your team stand (safely) ready to support their oral health.
To all our Valued Patients:
At <Practice Name>, we remain committed to doing our part in minimizing the spread of the Coronavirus, COVID-19. As healthcare professionals, we continue to follow well-researched, scientific public health advice to help limit infections and slow the spread of COVID-19. We’re excited our Governor has lifted our Emergency Only order and we will begin seeing patients again on __________.
Rest assured, your safety, and the safety of our dental team, is a top priority. We will continue to follow all CDC, ADA, and state specific recommendations regarding personal protective equipment and the sterilization of instruments, surfaces, and workspaces to protect our patients and staff members. We are also taking extended measures to further protect all our patients and team with the following protocols:
- Pre-screening all patients as we confirm appointments and prior to entering the building
- Social distancing – by asking you to remain in your car until we text you that we are ready for your appointment
- Upon entering the office, you’ll be asked to sanitize your hands
- At the beginning of your appointment, you’ll be asked to pre-rinse with an anti-viral rinse
- Added equipment to limit aerosols in the treatment rooms
- (List any additional steps you’re taking)
If you had an appointment scheduled during our closure, we will be reaching out to you to get your appointment rescheduled. If we’ve already rescheduled your appointment, we’ll be reaching out to confirm your appointment and advise you of some new protocols we’ve put in place to ensure you and our dental team are protected. We encourage everyone in our community to continue to take steps to minimize the spread of the virus, as directed by the CDC.
If you have a question about an upcoming appointment, please contact us. We look forward to seeing you again!
Reassuring Higher Risk, Older, or Anxious Patients
Recognizing why patients may be hesitant, encouraging them to call the practice, and reminding them you and your team stand (safely) ready to support their oral health is key.
It has been an extraordinary year with fear, health, and financial challenges for many in our community. Even in this uncertain environment, we know the benefits of maintaining your oral health outweigh the risks of negative long-term health consequences. Oral health, as the portal to the body, is an important part of your overall health and routine dental care is critical to preventing long-term health problems – especially during the pandemic.
A recent study, “The Mouth COVID Connection” urges people not to underestimate the necessity of reducing inflammation through preventative care and periodontal treatment to lessen the respiratory conditions associated with COVID-19. Efforts to stay healthy by minimizing risks, staying up with preventative care, and addressing small problems before they become larger are all part of a healthy lifestyle.
Your health and safety continue to be our priority, call us if you want to know about our added safety precautions or dedicated appointment times for higher risk, older, or anxious patients. Know we are ready when you are.
Consider adding sections or callouts on your website, outline changes patients will see in the practice to reassure them of their safety.
Update the banner on your website to read, “We’re excited to be seeing patients again starting ______. If you’ve missed an appointment due to our closure, we’ll be in touch soon to reschedule.”
If you are adding additional hours to meet patient demand, spotlight these on your website as well, “We’ve temporarily added hours to support you and your dental health.”
Your practice will more than likely experience some patient attrition; be sure you promote you are accepting new patients and prominently display your phone number on your website as well.
Consider adding a section on your home page, “Always Taking Steps to Protect You and Your Health,” outlining changes patients will see in the practice to reassure them of their safety in your practice. Mirror the language used in your email letter.
Video Patient Reassurance
Start reducing the fear patients may have regarding dental treatment and the possibility of infection. This sample scripting is for video creation to place on your website and social media channels. The video can highlight the doctor – or the doctor with multiple staff members – each sharing a different part of the message.
“The team wants you to know we’re thinking of you. We want to share some of the things we have been working on here at <Practice Name>, and some of the changes you will see.
In the practice, we are installing medical-grade air purifiers to help keep you and our team safe. We will be limiting the number of people we see at one time to support social distancing. We will be asking patients to wait in their vehicles, and we will text you when your room and team member are ready for you.
You may also notice different masks and uniforms. We want to assure you we have the best sterilization protocols in place and are closely following the CDC recommendations.
Through these challenges, we have gained an even greater appreciation for you, our patients; and we are committed to keeping you safe while you are in our hands.
Something else we have added is teledentistry. If you have any questions or a dental emergency, please call the office, and we can set up a teleconference with you. We can do a lot in that conference to help you. We are here for you. We’ll let you know just as soon as we have an open date.”