Patient experience is solid base for orthodontic practice

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Want to build a thriving orthodontic practice? Focus on the patient experience

Finding the perfect balance of duties in an orthodontic practice is greatly helped by prioritising patient experience through technology and collaborative and flexible treatment options. (Image: Svitlana Hulko/Shutterstock)

Wed. 1. November 2023

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SAN JOSE, Calif., U.S.: In today’s hyper-connected world, customer experience has the power to make or break a business. According to a study referenced in a Harvard Business Review article, a staggering 98% of customers consider the feedback of others before purchasing goods or services, and research conducted by online reputation management software company ReviewTrackers found that 94% of consumers have avoided a business because of a negative review.

If prospective customers are this discerning about consumer goods generally, they are likely to have even higher standards when it comes to selecting practitioners to perform medical procedures. This is why such figures should be kept in mind by the Middle East’s orthodontic community, especially in the UAE, where this year’s UAE International Dental Conference and Arab Dental Exhibition saw record deals—worth more than US$4.7 billion.

Positive patient experiences play a central role in maximising customer retention and referrals among orthodontists. In countries such as the UAE, where the dental devices market is on course to achieving a compound annual growth rate of 5.54% during the period 2018–2028, high levels of patient satisfaction can help practices to differentiate themselves from their competitors and grow their businesses over the longer term. The question is, what factors are most important when it comes to the patient experience?

Flexible treatment

According to 2021 research conducted by Align Technology that explored patient sentiment around orthodontic treatment after the COVID-19 pandemic, 78% of respondents in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia expressed a preference for online communication with their dental consultants. This previously uncommon mode of communication introduced a whole new level of flexibility into the patient experience. Since more than three-quarters of respondents stated that they were willing to use digital engagement tools, dental practitioners now have an opportunity to rethink how they operate and how they can integrate more digital technology and tools into their practices to boost dentist–patient communication and increase office efficiency while maintaining the highest standards of care.

Although there is no substitute for in-person examinations and visits at key points in treatment, and nothing can replace the personal touch of a dentist or orthodontist, digital tools like Align’s Invisalign Virtual Care platform can support the interaction between dentists and patients between office visits, making the experience all the more flexible and tailored to the patient’s needs. Solutions such as Invisalign SmileView offer new levels of flexibility by allowing patients to explore treatment options before arranging face-to-face appointments with orthodontists.

Advanced technology

Orthodontic practices that succeed in shortening treatment times without compromising the predictability of outcomes are best placed to stand out from the crowd and attract an array of patients. Advanced technologies such as iTero intra-oral scanners are specifically designed to deliver speed, reliability, intuitive operation and outstanding visualisation capabilities for orthodontists and general dentists, facilitating safe and efficient delivery of crowns, bridges and custom implant abutments. In addition, the Invisalign Outcome Simulator chairside app enables patients to see how Invisalign treatment can improve their smiles and makes it possible for simulated outcomes to be shared remotely. In competitive markets like the UAE, investment in the latest industry innovations is critical to maintaining and strengthening the customer experience.

Joined-up delivery

It is equally important to remember that it is not possible to ensure excellent patient experiences through advanced tools alone. In addition to investment in technology, orthodontic practices must work to integrate joined-up thinking into delivery. This is why Align Technology remains committed to facilitating collaboration between orthodontists, general dentists and other specialists to ensure a holistic and comprehensive approach to oral health.

By enabling more effective communication and consultation between healthcare professionals, Align Technology not only ensures practitioners are able to see the big picture but also encourages a proactive mindset, which enables potential issues to be identified and addressed before they arise. When restorative work is necessary, practitioners can send digital impressions to the laboratory of their choice and communicate seamlessly with external treatment planning, design, and chairside milling and laboratory CAD/CAM systems.

A further upshot is that patients can embark on treatments feeling safe in the knowledge that their orthodontist has access to the tools and systems necessary to deliver optimal outcomes. This holistic approach to care is vital to ensuring excellent experiences and high levels of satisfaction.

Ultimately, we believe dental professionals who prioritise and invest in the patient experience are best placed to build strong customer relationships and secure positive feedback. This, in turn, will lead to higher levels of repeat business and a growing client base.

So, if you are seeking to build a thriving and sustainable orthodontic practice, place your patients at the heart of every decision you make.

Align Technology CAD/CAM Clear aligners COVID 19 Invisalign Orthodontics Saudi Arabia UAE

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