The consultation area - the connect begins here!

Jan 29th, 2019
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In cities like Mumbai, where real estate is available at a premium, the dental practitioner quite often ends up compromising on some aspects of the clinical set up. While this is inevitable, there are two aspects of the set up that should never be compromised on: the first is the space for sterilization of instruments, and, the second is the consultation area.

The need for sterilization and disinfection cannot be emphasized enough. Hygiene and safety are at the heart of a good dental practice. The consultation area often becomes shortchanged, as space constraints necessitate eliminating a certain part of the office to make space for the ‘more essential’ parts. However, it would be prudent NOT to fall into this trap.

When a patient walks into your office, the stress levels are often very high. The reception area needs to be designed such that it calms the nerves of the individual and soothes him. A visit to a departmental store tells a lot about how layout and ambience can influence shopping behavior and purchase decisions. The fact that the fragrance section of the store is placed as close to the entrance as possible is not by chance. Your senses enhanced, you feel good and are more likely to shop more. One needs to create a similar experience in reception areas too.

The consultation area or the dental chair, depending on the clinical situation is the next stop in the clinical set up. While those in pain may be directed straight to the dental chair, those who are not, need to be made as comfortable as possible in the consultation area. One needs to understand that it is an individual who walks into your office, seeking advice, treatment and reassurance, and not a set of teeth needing dental procedure.

Those who come in for an elective procedure meet the doctor at the consultation table. At this point, ensure that you greet your patient and that your first question to him/her is not, “What is the problem?” but is, “How can I help you?” as your patient is seeking a solution to his / her problem.

The medical and dental history and other personal details mentioned in the registration form can give you cues to engage your patient in a conversation. As you do so, you will get further insights into his / her personality. You will be surprised to know how much patients appreciate the time doctors spend in talking to them and understanding them as individuals instead of mere patients. It conveys to them that the doctor is not just taking care of their teeth, but of them too.

After the clinical examination, where you record your patient’s clinical condition, it is vital he/she is back in the consultation chamber for further discussion of the treatment plan, financial commitment, etc. Patients cannot be expected to make the right decisions on these matters while sitting in an unnatural position in the dental chair. You can also present facts, figures regarding the patient’s clinical situation, treatment plan and required financial commitment better across the consultation table on your computer screen. All of this can go a long way in putting your patient at ease and convincing him/her that he/she is in good hands.
In sum, go ahead and invest in providing a good consultation setting to your patients because this is where the connect and road to a successful practice begins.

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