SWOT Analysis For Dentistry Weaknesses

  • October 2013
  • Posted By Scott Ellard

SWOT Analysis For Dentistry



SWOT Analysis For Dentistry - Weaknesses

This is the first post in a series where we will discuss SWOT Analysis for Dentistry Weaknesses.


  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

I have chosen to begin with Weaknesses because this will give you food for thought and is something your team can get excited about improving right away without the need for outside help. This is attainable Right Now! I have chosen one possible weakness for this illustration but you and your team should brainstorm together and identify those weaknesses specific to your practice.

SWOT Analysis For Dentistry – Weaknesses

New Patient or First Visit?

Every visit is a first visit. Most practices dial it up a notch on a first visit. We refer here to the the first visit by a person who has never been to “the Practice” before, or has been away for over one year. Why not refer to them as a New Patient?

Semantics are important during normal communication throughout the office. In our opinion, using the identifier of New Patient, between staff members and in front of the patients, can suggest that the relationship is a commodity, and seems like we are discussing them in third person. Impersonal.  First Visit suggests an event involving a person. Look at the communication in the following:

  • New Patient

“Hi Doctor. I’d like you to meet our new patient, Bob Smith.”

“Hi Bob. Nice to meet you. Bob, how did you decide to become a new patient here?”

  • First Visit

“Hi Doctor. I’d like you to meet Bob. Today is his first visit to our office.”

“Welcome, Bob. Nice to meet you. Is there any particular issue that prompted you to schedule your first visit with us?”

“I have some pain on top, up in the back.”

“Well, I understand. Let’s take a look and focus on what is causing your discomfort. Bob, How did you happen to find us?”

As you can see, there is now a focus on his event! The next key is for every visit to be just like the first, in the way he is greeted, transferred from reception to hygiene or restorative and back again. Every step is a transfer of trust to the next team member. It is important that a clear, directed communication  take place as one team member transfers Bob to the next team member. In the following example, the assistant is completing her clinical notes and all information entries necessary for the administrative team. It is important that she have semantics to control patient behavior and condition the patient with your standard of care and necessary protocols.

  • The Impatient Patient

Your assistant is completing clinical charting, the doctor has left the room and implied that he’s all done’. Now your patient is getting up out of the chair, pacing the small operatory, possibly checking and rechecking his/her watch and making statements regarding their need to get going.

When the doctor is finished and has concluded his statements to the patient, the assistant should stop what they are doing, make eye contact with the patient, touch the arm of the chair or the patient’s shoulder and say,

“Bob, I’m going to ask you to stay seated for just a moment while I finish entering your treatment. Amanda is waiting for this so she can prepare for the last portion of your visit.” 

As the assistant, you are preparing your patient for the next transfer, letting them know what to expect and conditioning them for future visits. The check out procedures of insurance, financial discussions and scheduling are also a part of the appointment they have shown for. Condition them to expect this time with your administrative team.  As you transfer them to the administrative team, close your time with them in an intentional manner.

“Bob if I’ve answered all your questions, I’ll leave you with Amanda to finish your appointment. Do you have any other questions”?

“No I think I’m all set.”       

“Great. we’ll see you next time, and thank you for letting us take care of you today”

  • He, She, They or Bob?

It is not uncommon to hear a team member say,

He wants to get his teeth bleached”. or “She wants to schedule an appointment for her husband.”

It is easy to form bad habits and overuse of personal pronouns can be one of these habits. The person you are referring to has a name as does her husband. Make sure you know both prior to transferring to the next team member. On the other hand, these pronouns have their place. I’m sure we’ve all been subjected to the well meaning sales person who annoyingly used our name ten times in an eleven word sentence! Part of ‘remarkable‘ care is to personalize all communications with a name. This goes for the entire team. My key point is that too much he, she or they, is lazy and impersonal. How much better does it sound if the transfer sounds like the following:

“Amanda, Sherry would like to schedule and appointment for  her husband, Bob.”

Our goal is to deliver remarkable service and communication from the first click through, to the first phone call and at every transfer through the first, and subsequent, visits. We want people to leave your office feeling excited about the opportunity to ‘remark’ to someone about their experience. How remarkable are you?

Stay tuned for more updates on Remarkable Semantics.




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