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Post Covid Patient List | Reactivating Patients After Covid

After months of your office being closed, you’re finally back at it. The books are full. The schedule is productive. Heck, you just had a record-breaking month; things are looking  good .

Yet looking forward on the schedule there are openings. In fact, there are a  lot  of openings. You check in with your treatment coordinator and the list of broken appointments that need to be rescheduled has been exhausted.

One list, however, has grown. That list of “call me after COVID” patients increases daily, and the team doesn’t know how to work through the very real fear and hesitation that has paralyzed so many of us.

What now? How do we reach out to these fearful patients? How do we connect and let them know, “I’ve got you. The many layers of PPE that I wear for each and every one of my patients are not just to keep me safe, they are to keep you safe too.”

How do we keep schedules full, and help our patients overcome their fear?

What dental offices need now, more than ever, is effective communication. You and your team cannot adapt and thrive in this ever-changing landscape without it. You’ve heard this before, now it’s time to do something about it!

The good news is, this is achievable. The right actions will alleviate team safety concerns, and with confidence, your team will communicate those safety changes to patients. Let’s take a look at four specific steps that will lead to your patients happily, confidently, and with a well-founded sense of safety, returning to your office for their dental care.

1. Create safety for the team, and they will communicate safety to your patients.

Before we can effectively communicate how we are keeping patients safe in the office, we must have a plan that is both understood and trusted by all team members. What actions are you taking to keep your team safe? What steps are you taking with your patients? Assign an infection control champion to stay on top of these new policies and procedures. Establish your policies in writing. Talk about every step and why it is important, both for your team and your patients. These new protocols, when well understood and consistently executed, will ease everyone’s concerns.

2. Educate and separate fact from fiction.

The amount of information, and misinformation about COVID-19 on the web is staggering. With just a little bit of research, I can “prove” any point that I wish to make. It is this “proof” that keeps many patients from walking in your door.

Instead of feeding this cycle, become a trusted source of information that both your team and your patients can rely on. Stay informed about the current health information that is available from reputable resources. Social media chats, which rely heavily on opinion, can not be the news source that your team and your patients rely on. Share information from your state government, the American Dental Association (ADA), and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Share  real  data with your team, and with your patients, citing the resource to ensure its integrity.

3. Get your message out there.

Once you’ve got a message in place, get the word out but don’t rely on just one method of communication. Email campaigns and social media updates are great ways to stay in touch.  Another great option is to shoot a short video on your phone, showing patients everything that you are doing to keep them safe. If you keep hearing the same question repeatedly, write a short blog to educate your patients and keep them informed.

But in the midst of all the technology we have, don’t forgo the most important tool in the office; the phone. Call your patients. Talk to them. If they are not ready to come in yet, ask permission to follow up in a few weeks time, and don’t let that follow up fall through the cracks.

4. Listen  Differently

The best way to understand what your patients are most concerned about is to ask. Then the most important thing that we, as human beings, can do for those fearful patients is to listen to those fears. The fear that many patients experience, particularly those in medically compromised groups, is very real. Give patients time to voice their concerns. Don’t speak over them, or belittle them. Actually listen. A little care and compassion go a long way.

As dental professionals, we have always exercised universal precautions to keep our teams and our patients safe. By implementing these four steps you can assure your patients that your dental office is a safe place. You can get patients back in the door, and keep that schedule full.


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