How and why your patient communication has changed forever

In any conversation with a patient there are two issues that must be covered:

  • acknowledging what the patient wants;
  • identifying what the patient needs.

There are two challenges in this conversation process that arise every day (and which lead to poor conversion rates and low productivity):

  • Telling the patient what they need before you establish what they want;
  • Telling the patient what they need and not allowing enough time to establish what they want.

There’s a subtle difference between these two challenges.

The first identifies the bossy or bored clinician who just wants to get home at 5 o’clock and reach the end of the month with the usual pay.

The second identifies a well-meaning clinician, struggling with a diary rammed with appointments, perhaps designed to hit a UDA target or maintain a huge patient list.

Here’s a thought for the day.

Let’s imagine that with every patient it is going to take 15 minutes to establish their wants and another 15 minutes to identify their needs.

How does that effect the way that you and your other clinicians are currently working?

The 10 to 15-minute check up is extinct; it belongs to a by-gone age in which people didn’t care as much about their appearance – the age before the smartphone camera. The time before we all became selfie-conscious.

That’s why your patients need the time to tell you what they want.


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.