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Embracing the demands of the empowered ‘consumer-savvy’ patient by Ann Generlich

Our access to information, which is now constantly at our fingertips and the explosion of new technologies has shifted the buying power to increasingly ‘consumer-savvy’ patients. These are patients who choose to navigate their dental and healthcare service acting as smart, well-informed consumers.

The health of our mouths provides key insights into our overall general wellbeing, slowly changing the role of our dental care professionals from ‘disease managers’ to personal health coaches, advisers and educators.What do we expect from the practice-patient relationship? The answer is simple, we are looking for a partnership of trust and confidence. If as patients we can feel confident entrusting our oral health to the right team, knowing they’ll watch over us and only recommend what they believe is best for us, the relationship will thrive and strong bonds for the future will be formed. 

The consumer-savvy patient

There is no denying, as patients, we have a louder and more unified voice than ever before. The scale of patient data (clinical, historical, comparison data) has become extensive, ultimately giving us immediate information and individual power on an unparalleled level.This has clearly created a powerful demand for strengthened dialogue and empathy between dental care professionals and us, the patient. Now actively looking for products and services that help us live a healthy lifestyle, we are increasingly likely to go online for access to health information, to liaise with communities and study treatment options. 

The dental team of the future

The modern patient is here and digital dentistry is more than just hype. In order to meet the needs of consumer-savvy patients, the dental team of the future needs to adopt digital dentistry, find the right communication techniques through insight, understanding and empowerment. They also need to help facilitate change and improve adherence to recommendations. Our goal as dental care professionals is to engage with patients, helping them to take action to improve their oral and general health. We want them to be involved in decisions about their healthcare and have useful discussions with healthcare teams about the care they receive. The use of digital channels to connect with our patients, provides tailorable resources that can and should be incorporated into daily lives. These channels and devices can help track symptoms, encourage positive behaviour and improve adherence.

Top tips to fast forward your practice:

Adopt digital dentistry and implement new technologies to match the expectations and the needs of the consumer-savvy patient
  1. Improved efficiency — both cost and time
  2. Improved accuracy in comparison to previous methods
  3. A high level of predictability of outcomes
  4. Better patient communication and education
  5. Gain a competitive edge
Gain understanding and insight and decode your customer needs across multiple touch pointsAdvantages:
  1. Better patient experience
  2. Strengthened dialogue
  3. Patient engagement, patient involvementand patient empowerment
Be a partner, bridge the information and education gapAdvantages:
  1. Changed behaviour and increased patient loyalty
  2. Compliance and better patient-dental team relationship
  3. Increased satisfaction, more referrals – growth
Only those practices, who adopt digital dentistry and understand how to satisfy a smart, ‘consumer-savvy’ and informed patient, will be successful in the future. 

Ann Generlich, Director AG Collaboration Full Service Marketing Limited – Answering Brand Challenges

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3rd August 2017



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