3 Communication Tips to Build Patient Relationships

Naomi Cooper October 3, 2012

3 Communication Tips to Build Patient Relationships“Of course I floss everyday”…”I thought I called you to cancel my appointment”…”No, I don’t smoke”.

Sound familiar? These are just a few of the comments that my clients report hearing on a regular basis from their patients. I recently came across this great blog from Dental Products Report on the “13 lies your patients are telling you”. It is an entertaining read only because there is so much truth at the heart of the matter.

Patients want to present themselves to you in the best light possible; however it is quite another thing when they get in your chair and you see what is really going on. The blog got me thinking about patient communication, and how you can foster a trusting relationship with your patients to help minimize these little white lie situations. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make small talk. You might not think you have that much in common with all of your patients, but certainly you have something in common with each of them. Find that mutual interest.
  • As you are making small talk, whatever they say, write it down in the file so you have something to talk about on their next visit. It will start to seem like you always remember little things about your patients, and they’ll feel like you really care as a result. That feeling is the first step in building a trusting relationship.
  • While you are making the effort to build a relationship with your patients, be sure to keep them informed and updated on your office policies. This can be done verbally, at the front desk, as well as included in patient newsletters, emails, e-newsletters and through your practice website. When the payment policies, or the cancellation policies, are well known, it is harder for the patient to be anything less than honest with you.

What are some of the common or memorable excuses you’ve heard from your patients? Do you have any best practice tips on handling those little white lies? Please start a conversation below!

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