Excellence or Convienience

From Becker’s Hospital Review:

Satisfied patients aren’t necessarily loyal ones. Patients are more likely to change providers than they’ve ever been. According to new research from NRC Health and The MetroHealth System in Cleveland, 80% of patients reported that they’d switch providers for ’convenience factors’ alone.

Source: Effortless care experiences. Your care experiences are excellent. Now – can you make them easy?

The link is to a sign up for a more extensive white paper. However even the basic ideas outlined in the promo are interesting.

The article seems to imply that it is a surprise that patients value convenience over excellence. This starts with the flawed assumption that patients can recognize excellence.  Patients cannot judge clinical excellence based on the criteria we would use as dental professionals. There is no way a patient can judge the accuracy of a diagnosis or the integrity of a margin. Patients make those judgments based on the experience and how it made them feel.

Based on that “convenience” is in fact a primary component of “excellence” in the patient’s mind.

Third party payers have been sadly successful in creating the illusion that all dentists or all physicians are essentially the same. They are a commodity and any difference in excellence is minimal. If they are all the same why not choose the least expensive most convenient? The payers like this as their incentive is to pay the least.

As a dentist you can use technology to separate yourself from the crowd. However there is still the question as to how much extra, if anything, patients are willing to pay. Patients have been known to change dentists for trivial differences in insurance payments.  They are obviously basing their choice on something other than clinical excellence.