Mastering Successful Patient Handoffs

Dental City and Dental Practice Advisors have teamed up to help you achieve increased success in 2016 with our upcoming event with the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center “Creating Exceptional Patient Experiences.” To kick it off we’re sharing a series of articles with tops for exceptional patient experiences written by member of the Dental Practice Advisors team.

Ken Mathys, CPA

Ken Mathys, CPA
Founder and Principal
Dental Practice Advisors

Reinforce your brand—that lasting intangible bond with the patient—by ensuring the best patient experience in your office through effective handoffs. From the time a patient enters the waiting room until they walk out the door, a team member needs to guide and smoothly transition them from one part of the office to the next.

The entire team must participate to make each hand off successful. Everyone should know what role they play. Have a structured handoff plan in place, and utilize your morning huddles or team meetings to review and practice your handoff process until everyone is comfortable and competent.

Offices often think they hand off patients, but in reality they simply walk the patient down the hallway to the next stop. They fail to actually hand over the responsibility of the patient from one team member to another. They don’t display interest and excitement, which fails to instill confidence in the patient.

To create a successful handoff, team members need to be prepared to receive the patient during each transition. They should put everything else aside for a moment, pay attention, and listen carefully to make sure they have received all the information necessary to provide an exceptional appointment—from start to finish—for the patient.

Most importantly, you need to prepare your patient every step of the way by explaining what comes next, anticipating their expectations and needs, and introducing them to the next team member. By utilizing appropriate handoffs, you increase the level of trust your patient has with your team and eliminate a lot of their potential fears.

Here are a few important things to communicate during handoffs:


  1. Summary of what has been accomplished.
    This gives the patient a quick review of the great care they received in your office, allows receiving team members to learn what has been done, and sets the stage for comfortable treatment presentation.
  2. Treatment recommendations.
    Reiterating treatment options helps ensure everyone is on the same page concerning the patient’s care.
  3. Next step for the patient/decisions made.
    Reviewing the next step(s) reassures the patient about the process and helps the receiving team member know how to handle their step in the process.
  4. Confidence.
    Instill patient confidence in your office via your handoff effectiveness!

Learn more about our Ritz-Carlton event “Creating Exceptional Patient Experiences” at Lambeau Field, the home of the Green Bay Packers, on April 28 & 29, 2016.

About Dental Practice Advisors Dental Practice Advisors is a dental consulting firm dedicated to offering dental practices management solutions that will help improve patient care, work-life balance, and financial success.