11 Jul Understanding Patient Knowledge
One crucial thing to acknowledge right at the beginning of any conversation is the level of knowledge possessed by our patients. This consideration is essential, as it dampens our enthusiasm to provide hasty, preliminary, and potentially inaccurate advice.
In today’s increasingly digital world, patients possess both the means and the motivation to seek information regarding dental treatments and services. Regrettably, we often overlook this reality when engaging with our patients. Frequently encountered enquiries, such as, “I would like to register as a new patient”, “I desire straighter teeth”, or “I am worried about the gap between my teeth”, are swiftly addressed because, let’s admit it, we should possess the most comprehensive answers and it affords us a sense of security. However, this reactive response may undermine patients’ comprehension and ability to provide informed consent. It remains unknown how accurate or extensive their personal research endeavours have been. Disagreeing with their language, thought processes, and research in the immediate stages of building a long-term relationship is not a great start.
Although it is more challenging to pause and respond with questions, we must endeavour to do so more frequently for the betterment of both you, as the dental professional, and your patients.
Let us remember that the discourse occurring within the metaphorical “Wheelie Bin Search Engine” (see my previous post, in case you missed it) is never purely technical; rather, it’s human. Unlike dentists and dental professionals, patients discuss dentistry in terms of their own understanding and pre-existing knowledge.
I can help you develop your dental team to have better conversations with their patients. An understood leader will naturally mould an understanding team.