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Patient or Customer?
patient or customer blog bioservice Matrix

Patient or costumer? …simply two sides of the same coin!
Let’s analyse the two words that make up the dichotomy.
Patient means “person affected by a disease, and more generally, who is entrusted to the care of a doctor or a surgeon”, while customer in current use is “who usually uses the services of someone or buys what he needs from the same supplier” (Italian Dictionary).
In the light of the definitions it seems easy to assert that, since the dentist is a doctor, the people who turn to him are his patients as a result. But how much have the patient’s requests and the service provided by the dentist changed?
The dentist knows that the patient has much wider demands than “simple pain treatment” so it ranges from aesthetics to orthodontics. The practitioner decides to invest money and time with equipment and learning curve to satisfy the wishes of the patient who gradually becomes more and more “customer” given the varied demands that go beyond pathologies. It requires a service, weighs the costs and analyses them from an economic point of view. Certainly the best thing to do is not to catalogue or label, it will be the request itself that will make the individual a patient or a client. The patient has a painful problem that he wants to eradicate by relying on the wise hands of his doctor, the customer has intentions and evaluates the economic exchange to meet needs or desires.
It seems almost as if the two roles are intertwined: there are alternating phases in which the individual demonstrates to calculate, to choose in a very careful way, and this denotes typical traits from the client, then the phase in which the individual makes contact with the doctor and listens to him in the diagnosis and in the proposed line of care, and the figure of the patient is outlined, when it comes to estimates, it is natural to emerge again the trait of the purchaser. All in all, it is nothing more than a mix of both figures that alternate by weighing costs and benefits, quantity and quality.
From the ethical point of view of the medical profession, it is advisable to attribute the term “patient” to the individual because of the service provided by the doctor himself at the time of need. Having said this, the new frontiers (demands) in the dental field have shifted the horizon of the dental profession, widening the margins of work and profit for the dentist, who inevitably has to make use of prudent marketing strategies to propose his services while maintaining intact the ethical sense and a correct perception of the real state of health of the patient himself.
The person has multiple needs and the dentist can find a way to accommodate them: the patient requires care, attention, seriousness, professionalism, continuity; the client asks for prices (check the rates and compare them), convenience (the location of the office, if it is more or less easy to get there and park), timing (number of sessions, speed of execution), avant-garde (the latest techniques in use to be sure to get the best results), modernity (there is a need to develop the office and follow the trends of the moment regarding image and dental aesthetics).
The spectrum of relationships has expanded but the focus remains on the individual and his needs, whether as a patient or client.

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