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What Your Older Patients Are Thinking & Wanting

When I was surveying adults in the waiting rooms of dental practices in the UK some time ago, I wondered if these patients wanted to participate in the assessment of their future oral health.

So I added a question to the survey which posed the major risk factors for poor oral health, and then asked the patients both to complete this risk assessment, and to give us their views as to importance of this self-diagnosis.

The response was profound. More than 8 out of 10 completed the risk assessment, and the majority of them rated this self-diagnosis as a very important step in their patient journey.

Canadian survey respondents had the same response.

There is a lot of nervousness around this model of “shared decision making” in dentistry. It is new and it yields more questions than the team is used to handling.

But let’s get back to what the customer wants. Engagement. If you have any doubt about the growing momentum to patient engagement, have a read of the current issue of Next Avenue, the PBS newsletter to folks over 50.  Here is what it says about getting involved in one’s own healthcare:

1. Choose carefully. Select doctors who seem willing and able to involve you in the medical decision-making process,and are open to checking guidelines. If you can, look for doctors who seem open to discussing options with you. A doctor who gets defensive when you ask about guidelines or alternatives is probably not a good choice.

2. Do your homework when it comes to your health conditions and treatment options. There is really no substitute. Even if your doctor is progressive and used to shared decision-making, you’ll participate better in the process if you’ve done a little preparation beforehand. Prepared patients and families generally get better health care.

3. Ask about alternatives. When the doctor makes a medical recommendation, be sure to ask what other alternatives are available.

4. Consider a second opinion. Especially if you’re considering a treatment of significance, such as a major surgery, it can be good to get a second opinion.

Sound familiar?

For more information, please visit:  http://partnersinprevention.ca/what-your-older-patients-are-thinking-wanting/.

By: Ross Perry
SOURCED: Partners In Prevention – www.partnersinprevention.ca

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