The importance of patient experience in establishing a successful orthodontic practice

The importance of patient experience in establishing a successful orthodontic practice

We speak to Angelo Maura, General Manager of Align Technology Middle East, about the pivotal role patient experience plays in building a successful orthodontic practice. Discover insights into leveraging positive experiences for growth in the competitive landscape. 

Angelo Maura, General Manager of Align Technology Middle East

In today’s healthcare landscape, what is the potential impact of customer experience on a business? 

In today’s interconnected world, customer experience holds the potential to make or break a business. According to a study cited in a Harvard Business Review article, an astonishing 98% of customers consider the opinions of others before purchasing goods or services. Additionally, research by ReviewTrackers revealed that 94% of consumers have avoided a business due to negative reviews. 

If potential customers are so discerning about consumer goods in general, they are likely to have even higher expectations when selecting professionals to perform medical procedures. Hence, these figures should be of utmost importance to the Middle East’s orthodontic community, particularly in the United Arab Emirates where this year’s UAE International Dental Conference and Arab Dental Exhibition (AEEDC Dubai 2023) witnessed record deals exceeding $4.7 billion. 

Positive patient experiences play a central role in maximizing customer retention and referrals among orthodontists. In countries like the UAE, where the dental devices market is poised to achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5% during the 2018-2028 period, elevated levels of patient satisfaction can aid practices in setting themselves apart from competitors and expanding their businesses over the long term. 

The question at hand is: what factors are most crucial for the patient experience? 

What did the 2021 research conducted by Align Technology reveal regarding patient preferences and digital communication in orthodontic treatment following the COVID-19 pandemic in the UAE and KSA? 

As per the 2021 research by Align Technology that delved into patient sentiments surrounding orthodontic treatment in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a substantial 78% of respondents from both the UAE and KSA expressed a preference for online communication with their dental consultants. 

This formerly uncommon mode of communication introduced an entirely new level of flexibility into the patient experience. With over three-quarters of respondents affirming their willingness to utilize digital engagement tools, dental practitioners now possess an opportunity to reevaluate their practices and explore the integration of additional digital technology and tools. This integration aims to enhance doctor-patient communication and office efficiency while upholding the highest standards of care. 

While in-person examinations and visits remain irreplaceable at pivotal stages of treatment, and nothing can replicate the personal touch of a dentist or orthodontist, digital tools like Align’s Invisalign® Virtual Care platform can complement interactions between doctors and patients during intervals between office visits. This augmentation renders the experience even more adaptable and personalized according to a patient’s requirements. 

Solutions like Invisalign Smile View™ introduce new dimensions of flexibility, enabling patients to explore treatment options before arranging face-to-face appointments with orthodontists. 

What technologies can orthodontic practices invest in to enhance their treatment times while ensuring reliable outcomes, and how do these technologies contribute to the overall patient experience in competitive markets like the UAE? 

Orthodontic practices that manage to shorten treatment times without compromising outcome predictability are well-positioned to stand out and attract a diverse patient base. 

Cutting-edge technologies such as iTero™ intraoral scanners are purposefully designed to deliver speed, dependability, user-friendly operations, and exceptional visualization capabilities for orthodontists and GP dentists. This facilitates the safe and efficient delivery of restorative crowns, bridges, and custom implant abutment cases. Simultaneously, the Invisalign Outcome Simulator chairside application empowers patients to visualize how Invisalign® treatment can enhance their smiles, with the capability to share simulated outcomes remotely. 

In competitive markets such as the UAE, investing in the latest industry innovations holds paramount importance in maintaining and strengthening the customer experience. 

How can orthodontic practices transcend advanced technology and incorporate integrated thinking into their approach to achieve excellent patient experiences? 

It is equally vital to recognize that ensuring exceptional patient experiences goes beyond advanced tools alone. Alongside technological investment, orthodontic practices must work towards integrating comprehensive thinking into their service delivery. 

This is why Align Technology remains dedicated to facilitating collaboration among orthodontists, general dentists, and other specialists, ensuring a holistic and all-encompassing approach to oral health. 

By enabling more effective communication and consultation among healthcare professionals, Align Technology not only ensures that practitioners can grasp the overall picture but also encourages a proactive mindset where potential issues can be identified and tackled before they arise. When restorative work becomes necessary, practitioners can send digital impressions to their chosen laboratory and seamlessly communicate with external treatment planning, custom implant abutment, chairside milling, and laboratory CAD/CAM systems. 

The result is that patients can embark on treatments with the assurance that their orthodontists possess the tools and systems required to deliver optimal outcomes. This comprehensive approach to care is pivotal in ensuring exceptional experiences and high levels of satisfaction. 

How does Align Technology stress the significance of integrated thinking and collaboration among orthodontists, general dentists, and specialists to ensure a comprehensive approach to oral health? 

In the end, we believe that dental professionals who prioritize and invest in the patient experience are best poised to cultivate strong customer relationships and secure positive feedback. Consequently, this will lead to increased levels of repeat business and a burgeoning client base. 

So, if you’re striving to construct a thriving and sustainable orthodontic practice, anchor your patients at the core of every decision you make. 

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