4 Ways Dental Waiting Room TV Can Improve Your Dental Patients' Experience

The TV programming delivered in your dental waiting room can increase stress and irritate your patents in the critical moments before they meet with your staff.

Or it can strengthen your practice’s relationship with patients by turning the room into an informative, stress-free atmosphere.

… the waiting room TV is on like always, numbing the activity in your office. It’s what you’re used to – Dr. Phil, afternoon soaps, the local news. In an instant, the calm breaks when you overhear a five-year-old ask what the people on the television are talking about – “Mommy, what is twerking?”

Not good.

So, what’s a dental practice to do? Just leave the news on? Do you go with CNN or Fox? Nothing clams the nerve and eases tension like partisan politics, right?

How about kids’ shows? Children’s programming may entertain the youngsters, but it’ll likely drive adults in the room nuts. Pity the poor front desk staff forced to listen to The Wiggles and Barney day in and day out.

What about something light, like Food Network or HGTV? That’s safe, right? Who doesn’t love their programming? That’s the problem, though – everyone is a sucker for a good BBQ Throwdown or Fixer Upper. Get lost in that vortex, and we’ve lost half our day to Bobby Flay and Chip and Jo. All productivity has gone right out that newly refurbished window!

Unfortunately, if your waiting room TV shows nothing more than standard broadcasting, it can quickly become a toxic soup of political discourse, adult-themed talk, children’s shows and staff distractions that test the patience of your patients.

Yet, it doesn’t have to be that way. Research shows that programming delivered in the waiting room can have a positive impact on increasing levels of patient satisfaction, as well as provide an ideal setting for dental health education.

And a new wave of programming services has arrived on the market to stream customized, targeted dental health programming direct to your office, delivered to your patents in your waiting room—at the very time they’re taking action to improve their smile by visiting you.

So how can your waiting room video make patients happier and more satisfied?

1. Dental Waiting Rooms Can Educate

On average, patients spend more than fifteen minutes in your reception area during each visit. As they arrive, they’re already thinking about their dental health—they obviously care enough to take time out of their day to schedule an appointment. If there was ever a time when a patient is primed to learn more, it's during that time in the waiting room.

Many practices fail to take advantage of the opportunity for education in the waiting room.

While you know all about the various procedures and treatment programs, your patients don’t share your education and knowledge. The office staff—from the doctor to the hygienists to the front desk—have limited time available for such discussions.

Educational video will answer some patients’ questions while prompting others to ask about things they had never thought of previously. So, what are some of the ways practices can educate?

First, they can help explain typical procedures in the office. Patients are naturally curious about what is going on in their mouth. Educational programming in the waiting room can explain procedures and treatments plans, in a non-threatening and comforting manner.

Next, you can use educational videos to share ideas on how patients play a role in their ongoing hygiene. Nobody likes a lecture on brushing and flossing frequently. And a video that explains the importance of such tasks means your staff doesn’t have to spend their time delivering that lecture.

Finally, educational videos provide patients with the art of the possible. If they’re better informed on new cleaning or whitening procedures, they may ask about them when they have a chance to speak with the doctor.

Simply put, patients educated in the waiting room tend to be happier with both their health and your service, which is also good for your bottom line.

2. Dental Waiting Room Videos Can Motivate Patients

Every dental practice has patients that are avoiding or delaying needed treatment. There are natural procrastinators among us, and while they know that they should address problems with their smile—a chipped tooth, a cavity that needs to be filled—they also tend to put off treatment unless pain provides the necessary nudge.

Motivation doesn’t have to take the form of an authority figure wagging their finger (or more likely, leaving repetitive phone messages, pleading with the patent to schedule that needed work).Your dental waiting room television can be a pain-free alternative motivating force to address additional issues in a timely manner.

Waiting rooms are ideal settings to share non-threatening encouragement to take the steps necessary for your patients to achieve their ideal dental health. Animations and illustrations can show exactly how a treatment will take place, the benefits that treatment can offer, and even the damage that can be done by failing to act.

Beyond that, dental waiting room TV videos can introduce treatment options, planting the seed for when the doctor follows up during a visit. While getting treatment suggestions from the doctor is always influential, sometimes we just need to hear things from another source before taking the plunge.

3. Dental Waiting Room Videos Can Build Confidence, Reduce Anxiety

Like Tom Petty sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.” There’s a certain anxiety baked into visiting the doctor’s office, and merely stepping through the door is a victory for many patients.

If you don’t take steps to reduce anxiety during a patient’s wait, you run the risk that your patient will think of themselves in a holding chamber, just waiting and wondering what the visit will bring. It’s easy to understand why some people are a ball of nerves by the time they get into the chair.

Dental education videos for waiting rooms can help patients better understand the treatments they’ll undergo. People fear the unknown—educate them, and there will be less that’s unknown.

Dental waiting room videos also help reassure patients that the doctor and staff have the patients’ health as their top priority. Your practice may want to include videos of the doctor and staff, enabling them to calmly explain what they do and why they do it.

Serving up light-hearted videos and informing them what their procedure will be like will reduce anxiety and fear.

4. Waiting Room Videos Can Drive Conversations for Discretionary Treatments

With time at a premium, this advanced learning and calming make an enormous difference in dental office productivity.

There’s no substitute for the human touch, but a device that “speaks” with patients while they wait will become one of your practice’s best relationship builders. And if a patient understands a treatment plan or discretionary procedure they’re much more likely to accept it.

When it comes to discretionary services, patient-centric television helps break the ice. More than one dental practice has reported that a patient will ask the doctor about whitening services or Invisalign after seeing an educational program in the reception area.

It’s Important to Think About Your Dental Waiting Room Experience

Hopefully, by now, you’ve learned that your waiting room can be so much more than a holding pen for patients while they wait for their appointment time. Dental waiting rooms equipped with educational video can be a strategic part of your practice’s patient engagement and education process.

You can calm patient’s nerves, educate them, motivate them, and even get them to inquire about optional procedures.

Above all, it creates a special level of comfort. With you. With your office. And with your ability to help them manage questions on a personal level beyond the sterile “medical recommendation.”

In short, waiting-room television helps you break down barriers between healthcare providers and patients. We’d like to help you get there.

RevenueWell recently introduced Patient Connect TV, a waiting room communications service designed specifically for dental waiting rooms. Patient Connect TV transforms your patient’s waiting room experience. Learn more, and snag a 15-minute demo today.