What AmDram teaches us about changing our patient experience

Your team have been doing something a certain way for years – and you suddenly pitch up and announce that you want things done differently:

  • we are moving from NHS to private dentistry (that’s a big one – probably the biggest);
  • we are no longer accepting new NHS patients;
  • we are changing the way that we deliver your dentistry – you used to see the Principal but now you will be seeing another dentist/therapist/hygienist;
  • we are changing our prices;
  • we are changing our opening hours;
  • we are changing our provider of X treatment, our lab or our supplier.

(you get the picture)

It’s not adequate to call a staff meeting and announce the change, neither to send a group email/WhatsApp or to hold a quick lunchtime training session.

Imagine a Shakespearean theatre company who have been touring the provinces, delivering a well known work of The Bard.

Everyone in the company knows their part, their lines and where they need to be on the stage.

As Director, you pitch up on a Friday morning and announce “last performance of Hamlet today – as from Monday we will be doing Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

You know that would be impossible – you need more time to redesign the set, cast the players and have them learn their lines.

There would be months of rehearsal before you had the confidence to go live.

What’s different in your practice? Every morning, the lights dim, the curtains open and off you go with today’s performance.

Changes in the performance that will affect the patients have to be planned, the stage set and every member of the cast word perfect before you go live.

The alternative is team members doing their best in the absence of a script. It’s called ad libbing.

That isn’t what the audience are paying for.


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.