Analysis of patients needs in communication with dentists

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“International comparative analysis of patients needs in terms of interpersonal communication with dentists”

The document presents the outcomes of the survey on the needs of patients in terms of interpersonal communication with a dentist, conducted in four countries taking part in the project COMDENT: Austria, Greece, Poland and Romania.

The target of the survey was to deepen the knowledge on the dental patients’ needs in the field of interpersonal communication to have insight data in order to be able to bridge a gap between patient and doctor regarding interpersonal communication. Based on the international survey outcomes on the European level it is possible to include needs of patients into the European program of the training dedicated for professionally active dentists in the subject of the communication with patients with special emphasis on the patients with fear of medical intervention.

In the international survey methodology the same questionnaire for patients was prepared and distributed among dental patients in four countries. The questionnaire was available in English as well as in national languages: German, Greek, Polish and Romanian. The questionnaires were filled in with answers given by patients of dental services. Methods of survey conducting used were: via internet inquire survey, collecting questionnaires in the hard paper versions filled by patients as well as collecting patients’ anonymous questionnaires filled in after/before dental visits in selected dental offices.

The number of patients who took part in the survey European-wide was 633, in Austria it were 261 patients, in Greece 65 patients, in Poland 242 patients and in Romania 65 patients. In the questionnaire were questions of multiple  and single choice and also open questions. Those open questions were grouped in categories of answers and presented in this analysis.The deepen quantity and quality survey for this analysis was conducted in all four countries in the years 2015 and 2016 and it took about 10 months in total.

One of the outcomes of this analysis is that for over 90% of the surveyed patients in all countries recognize a good communication approach in doctor-patient relationship as extremely high important and very high important. For all countries taking part in the project 72% and above patients have felt fear during a visit to a dentist. In the opinion of European patients in average more then half dentists dealt with fear of their patients. In most countries taking part in the project, patients tent – with an average of 42% – to value a positive attitude in respect to the contact with dentist. Professionalism was on the second place in most countries.

In contact with a dentist truly important for patients are mainly trust, manners (politeness and respect) and also empathy. The way in which a dentist gives his patient information (in a clear and understandable form) is also very important for patients. In the analysis you will find also example answers given by patients regarding their best and their worst experiences in a patient-dentist-relationship, they have ever had.

“International comparative analysis of patients needs in terms of interpersonal communication with dentists”

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The analysis was conducted in four European countries by KIKO Business Solutions from Poland, Mind Master Creative from Romania, SYNOLIC ltd from Greece and ÖTZ-NLP &NLPt from Austria. The European Union selected the team of expert Institutions (specialised in communication, education and with international dimension) to conduct the trans-European research for developing and enhancing the communication skills of medical dentists.

The international analysis is a part of the innovative project co-funded by the European Union titled “Developing communication competences among medical doctors with specialization in dentistry” (with acronym COMDENT). Based on the outcomes of the project the training programme and methodology – curriculum for medical dentists in the subject of communication with patient with special emphasis on the work with fear is being prepared. This is the main target of the COMDENT Project.

The views expressed in this publication are the opinions of the authors. Content presented in the publication do not present the official position of the European Union institutions.

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