NHS and private dental practices will soon be required to undertake an exercise known as ‘revalidation’, which requires them to regularly and formally consult with their patients.
Revalidation is the way in which dentists will have to demonstrate to the General Dental Council that they are practising properly, in accordance with set criteria set down by the profession’s regulator.
It will assure patients and the public that healthcare professionals are up-to-date and fit to practice. It will also provide a focus for dental professionals to further develop their skills and knowledge throughout their career.
However, and perhaps most importantly, revalidation encourages patient engagement with their dental practices. The marketing phrase “ring fencing” is appropriate to this scenario where patients who have not had contact from their dentist for a number of years, could be considered as a vagrant patient and could be picked up by any practice. The more that you communicate with your patient base, the more they will become engaged. Identify their needs so that you can transfer those needs (dental fear, cosmetic surgery, etc). Patients want this sense of belonging and it is becoming an increasingly important facet of practice management. Indeed, some practices measure their success by the number of patient touch-points they create. This may be local traditional media, networking with other professionals, internet and social media inclusion, and charitable work. In short, get involved with your patients so that they get involved with you.