Effective communication skills are essential for all dental professionals. Below are some strategies for improving communications and patient care in your dental practice.
- Provide each new patient with a written introduction to the practice.
- Implement a written confidentiality policy.
- Implement dentist-approved telephone triage, patient advice and urgent care guidelines. Routinely review and update these procedures.
- Establish appropriate timeframes for returning patient calls.
- Establish a policy for electronic communications with patients.
- Document all patient calls and emails in patient records.
- Implement a policy and procedure to ensure that patients are notified of diagnostic results, such as exams, X-rays, biopsies, etc.
- Establish a procedure to address continuity of care when patients are referred to specialists.
- Develop and implement a policy and procedure for terminating the provider–patient relationship.
- Ensure appropriate informed-consent discussions take place and that the patient/caregiver gives written consent prior to dental procedures.
- Conduct routine entrance-level oral health screenings for all new patients, regardless of patient age. Have current patients routinely complete comprehensive health history updates (e.g., every 6 months).
- Implement a written emergency plan.
Learn the rationale behind each of these strategies here.
For these and more risk management resources, call Professional Insurance Programs, your agency owned and operated by the WDA and exclusive provider of your malpractice policy with MedPro – a Berkshire Hathaway company.