Sentiment Analysis as a Unique ‘Smile Improvement’ Technology for Dentists

by Dr. Steffany Mohan

For dentists, advanced technology means using the latest treatment tools, such as digital X-rays, diode lasers, CAD/CAM, etc., but something like Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a practice assistant, I bet most of us never gave much thought to the idea. Nor did I, but that was before I implemented a sentiment analysis program at my practice – with a hope to improve my patients’ smile in other ways than the regular treatment options that we dentists are supposed to use.

Even though I had no major issues related to patient care and experience at my practice, I enrolled into the patient sentiment analysis program introduced by my marketing advisors just for the sake of experiment. Later on, I found that it actually helped in improving patients’ experience which in turn helped in boosting our dental clinic’s performance and increasing the overall revenue.

Sentiment Analysis Technology
As I’m not an expert to talk about technologies in detail, I’ll leave that on you to Google a little for the exact definition of sentiment analysis. However, as I’ve used it for more than a year now, I think I can at least share what I’ve learned about it.

To tell you the truth, the very idea of using an Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to measure patients’ emotions and feelings did sound vague to me at first. I was underestimating a machine’s capability to understand human emotions.

Understanding patients’ emotions and feelings (along with the intensity with which they feel that way), and using the information to address patients’ issues as immediately as they occur, and also to implement proper changes for performance enhancement focusing on an improved patient experience and quality of care is what makes sentiment analysis technology worth discussing here.

How Sentiment Analysis Software Works
Sentiment analysis software, which you’ll first need to integrate with your reputation marketing strategy to get started, is actually a complete tool that not only facilitates review submissions by patients, but also has an inbuilt AI technology that assists in processing the results, and present them in a graphical, but simple and understandable format.

The sentiment analysis software eliminated the hassles of collecting reviews from patients. In fact, it facilitates the review submissions by patients that allows your patients to openly share their thoughts and feelings through a quick survey following their visit.

Patient Emotion Trends - Sentiment Analysis

Features of Sentiment Analysis Software
Through its AI assisted Word Cloud Sentiment Analysis feature, the software tracks the frequency of words used by your patients when they review their visit to your dental clinic and picks up the most frequently used words. Frequently used words used by satisfied or unhappy patients allow you to gauge the reason of satisfaction or dissatisfaction among your patients. Above is the Word Cloud Analysis data I have taken from Dental Care Patient Satisfaction Survey 2017.

One of the features of the sentiment analysis dashboard which I like very much is the patient emotion trends that show anger, anticipation, disgust, happy, sadness, and trust as the typical emotions felt by patients.

Even though the picture wasn’t very diverse in the starting months, over time as patients started becoming familiar with the process, it started giving a more diverse picture of the trends in patient emotions. This helped a lot in identifying our areas of improvements, and creating and executing performance enhancement training and programs, and specific marketing campaigns that can improve the overall patient care and experience.

How Sentiment Analysis Helps Improve Patient Satisfaction
Sentiment analysis powered by AI technology helps you track the exact reason for your patient’s unhappiness and you can create a patient recovery program based on that to improve your services in the future. For example, if you find out that a patient is rating you low due to the behavior of your staff, you can conduct staff training programs and teach them how to handle the patients. You can offer specific programs based on the sentiment analysis to retain your unhappy patients and turn them into loyal promoters of your practice.

Sentiment analysis will help you grow your dental practice by understanding and improving the patient experience. Better understanding the patients will help you retain
your patients and attract new ones, which will result in improved patient satisfaction and increased revenue of your practice.

About the Author
Dr. Steffany MohanDr. Steffany Mohan is a leading dentist in Des Moines, Iowa and CEO of Plaza Dental Group. She is an expert in implant, family and cosmetic dentistry, is Invisalign certified and has gained a reputation of excellence in the dentistry community. She is highly motivated towards sharing experience-based knowledge with patients, dentists, and everyone.