Patient Engagement In Dentistry

Published on: 2018/09/20

Dr. Preethy Vijayakumar


Day to day dental practice has become increasingly stressful while dealing with administrative and patient needs. As the practice of mindfulness gains momentum, a number of studies have presented their benefits in a healthcare setting.

Interest Category

Mindfulness for dentists, healthcare, dentists

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What is patient engagement in healthcare? Why is it important?

Improved outcomes, better decision-making, and improved patient care can be achieved by improving patient engagement in healthcare. In recent years, with the advancement of technology and availability of information, patients are more willing to consider healthcare options. The involvement of patients in the decision-making process has improved because of improved patient engagement. This helps the doctors to provide better treatment and also helps in better outcomes.

The process of patient engagement

Patient engagement with doctors happens in every step of interaction with the management or the doctors. It starts with the awareness of a particular condition and early interaction with physician till the treatment and follow-up visits. Typically patient engagement process includes awareness (symptoms and self-assessment with the information available around him/her), help (establishing contact with a healthcare professional), care (assessment of the condition by a physician), treatment, lifestyle change, follow up.

Patient engagement in dentistry

Patient engagement, like any other form of healthcare, in dentistry has a host of benefits for the patients and their families. Oral health plays an imperative role in the overall emotional well being of a person and is also related to many other diseases. In a long-run, maintaining a better oral health improves the quality of life of a person. Patient engagement helps in better awareness of treatment and maintaining oral hygiene. They are most likely to be actively involved in regular care and home care routines.

How to improve patient engagement?

Engaging patients improve the doctor-patient relationship. Leveraging doctor-patient relationship helps to improve the quality of healthcare and improve the outcomes. Also, it helps the doctor to anticipate the needs of the patients and provide better solutions.

During dental procedures, the patients may get anxious and may not be prepared to undergo a procedure. In such cases, patient engagement helps to reduce the fear. A patient may have many other treatment-related discomforts, post a procedure. Dentists should be more responsive in handling these issues and providing more information before and after a treatment helps in building a better relationship.

Read more – Improving patient engagement in dentistry by Dr. Preethy Vijayakumar.

Mostly, people avoid dental visits and they may not value dental care. Hesitance is the worst barrier to achieve engagement. People do not choose to be proactive especially in case of oral care. Awareness plays a crucial role in making a person proactive and gets the help of a physician.