Patient centered care: A dummies guide to effective marketing

Patient centered health care is a new catch phrase in the quality and safety world. Dental schools are required to teach this concept to students; the Australian Dental Council has this in its professional attributes and competencies; and the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Healthcare claims this leads to safer, higher quality healthcare.

When I first heard the suggestion that our practicing life was changing so we are now to practice “patient centered care” I wondered ‘what on earth did they think we were doing in the past’?

Weren’t private dental practitioners always ‘patient centered’?

In a market driven world where the ultimate consumer ‘review’ is to stay or leave a dental practice our ability to stay in business is wholly related to our success in giving ‘patient –centered care’.
When viewed in light of a reduced consumer market for dentists (due to economic conditions and oversupply of dentists) the precepts of ‘patient-centered care’ give a great outline for effective marketing and customer retention.

So what precisely is “patient centered care”?

Patient centered health care is healthcare that is ‘respectful of and responsive to, the preferences, needs and values of patients*’.

People don’t want to be told what you know; they want you to ask questions to find out whether what you know, and can do, is of added value to their own needs and goals.

Successful sales and marketing revolves around this technique for producing happy consumers. No-one wants to buy off a sales person who tells them what he thinks they need. Being mindful of the other peoples needs and values allows healthcare worker to use motivational interviewing techniques to effectively elicit changes in behaviour or elicit purchasing decisions!

[The bigger picture is: Does patient centered care reduce the ethical and moral obligations of healthcare providers where healthcare is totally market driven?]

*Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (2011), Patient-centred care: Improving quality and safety through partnerships with patients and consumers, ACSQHC, Sydney.

ADA wants feedback

The ADA is wanting feedback and they have engaged a firm to survey members.

What happens when you give feedback to an organisation?

Have you ever asked others for feedback? Before you start asking employees or customers, patients or family for feedback think about the reaction others give to your wise feedback.
A wise friend of mine advised me to always classify ‘feedback’ into ‘Coaching‘ or ‘Criticism‘. Take onboard coaching and ditch criticism.

There are great lessons to learn in watching reactions of others to feedback (because we aren’t very good in seeing this in ourselves)

  1. No-one wants to know what they don’t know they don’t know.
  2. Feedback creates ‘push back’ so what you complain about becomes more exagerated than ever. You just reinforced the action that you criticised

What feedback would I offer the ADA?
I believe the ADA is at a Cross Road.
The ADA needs to refocus and reinvent itself.
In the past the ADA was the source of information and knowledge. Knowledge gave the ADA power – both over its members and for its members. The internet has changed all that. It is faster and better and more accurate to gain knowledge from the internet. You can find the original source of information e.g. Look up the Privacy commissioner report on sending original radiographs in the mail. It is surprisingly different to the ADAVB slant in its news bulletin report.
I find the ADA’s view and way of addressing issues somewhat negative with an old fashioned “professional superiority” point of view.
For example, suggesting that dentists ensure that patient bear the consequences of deficiencies or difficulties in the new Child Dental Benefits scheme.

What is your experience as an ADA member?  Have you ever tried to give feedback to the ADA?

I don’t think there is evidence-based research to show that member surveys ever resulted in any meaningful change! 🙂

No life

Did you know that AHPRA was reviewing its advertising guidelines AGAIN?
Did you know if people find out they are eligible for CDBS later they can ask you to alter their account so they can claim?

Why don’t you know these things? Have you been too busy actually trying to work???

In this information “heavy” world how can we be expected to keep up with everything that is going on.

Both AHPRA and the Medicare regulators have our email addresses. It would be great if they let us know and we didn’t have to chase the information. It makes me realise how much we depend on the ADA to chase up and let us know about these things. The information needs to be short; to the point and not too frequent to make us trash it as junk mail.
I found out about AHPRA via twitter and about the Medicare changes because I sourced the original information to set up my own practice system on 1st Jan. (Some people think I read tooooo much and have ‘no life’ 🙂
Where do you source information?