• Mark Topley

What your patients really care about

I get it – I’ve been around dentists for 15 years now – many of you love your kit!

And I also understand that it’s not just for show. It helps you be a better clinician, improve the patient experience, and get better results.

But I’m a patient. And I don’t care.

What I care about

I think I’m a fairly normal patient, and the things I matter to me are:

  1. Do you know what you’re doing?

  2. Are you going to hurt me?

  3. Do I feel safe?

  4. Can I trust you?

Meeting care number 1 is pretty much covered by the plaques on the wall, the registration with the GDC, the courses you’ve been on, and what other people tell me.

Care number 2 is an unknown until we get going, but I will get a general idea from the answers to care number 1

But care number 3 and 4 are nothing to do with clinical skill. They are about empathy, about authenticity, values, and a sense that you and your team genuinely care. And those are difficult to fake, and there isn’t a piece of tech on the market that will deliver them.

Getting to 3 & 4

I chatted with a prospective client this week. Like many of my clients, he works in a large specialist referral practice. As we waited for his Principal to hop on the Zoom call, we reflected that in his experience, most of his patients couldn’t tell the difference between specialist care and any other. What they can tell is whether they get the result they wanted, did it hurt, and how did the practice make them feel… Spot any themes here?

And that was the very reason we were chatting.

The practice has a genuine desire to care for their patients and help them feel safe. They also want to be a positive member of their community, and look after their team, giving them a sense of purpose at work and to feel cared for. Because those things all help to create that vibe within the team that results in the almost ethereal sense for patients that this is somewhere I can feel safe, and I can trust these people to look after me. And CSR makes a very positive impact on these things.

So by all means – buy your kit. But remember, what I think patients really care about is something that money can’t buy.

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