DTC Competition: Reflecting on a Complaint with Dharmit Modasia

Next entry for my DTC competition is from Dharmit Modasia from Bristol University...

Why do people complain? Complaints are made when expectations and needs of the consumers are not met when a service is provided. Dentistry is a service that looks after the oral health of patients. Poor-quality service involving a lack of communication and the failure to follow guidelines may prompt complaints to arise.

Patients complain because they want to express their feelings while being respected and taken seriously. Only the patient knows what needs to be done to put things right to meet their expectations. Complaints should be first handled by local measures before escalating it. This can sometimes be dealt with an apology if errors are made, giving explanations, acknowledging the complaint, understanding and acting upon the complaint by making changes, raising concerns or providing a refund if appropriate.

Being empathetic, professional and not blaming the patient can help deescalate the situation without an argument arising. Recording and following complaints can prevent it from occurring again. Complaints that are dealt with earlier can increase patient satisfaction. Getting advice from indemnity providers such as Dental Protection can ensure that complaints are dealt in a legal manner.

Understanding and reflecting on a complaint allows the service to be improved. It helps to identify key areas of improvement, understand patients better, improve communication and build on the dentist-patient relationship. All this increases the productivity and enhances the reputation of the profession. Patient complaints are an opportunity for dentists to learn and develop into a better version of themselves. The true test to access the fitness of a dentist to practice is not when things are going right but rather what is done when things are going wrong.

Look out for more entries for the competition coming soon!

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