The Talk of the Town: Patients First

In 2006, a brand new dental practice opened its doors in Aurora, Colorado. It was a start-up practice located in an outdoor mall with one Dentist, four team members and three operatories.

Flash forward 12 years, to the present, this small practice is now thriving beyond imagination.

Cherokee Trail Dental Care has now undergone not one, but two expansions. It has a total of 14 operatories, 15 team members, three general Dentists, with a fourth one on the way, and an Orthodontist.

On top of that, it has received The Talk of the Town Award for excellence in patient satisfaction with a five-star rating eight years in a row.

A spokesperson from The TALK Awards said, “This nationwide award is based on what the patients are saying about the practice and Dentists on social media, online-business reviews, blogs and rating services.”

“This is Cherokee’s eighth year. The practice is absolutely doing something right,” he said.

Operations Leader Amy Dougal was part of the small team that built this office from the ground up. She said this award reminds her how far the practice has come.

“This award means more to those who have been here since day one and seen our continued growth. Twelve years ago, we were a new practice with no patients. Now, we have more than 100 new patients every month,” Amy said.

The number of consecutive patient-satisfaction awards this practice has received, shows that even though it has experienced explosive growth over the past decade, its team has stayed focused on its main priority: patients.

“No matter the size of our growth, we are still doing right by patients. We are not missing any steps in between. Whether it’s expected of us or not, we still do what we have been taught since day one,” Amy said.

Cherokee Trail Dental Care has mastered the art of maintaining patient satisfaction at an all-time high while at the same time rapidly growing its patient base. The secret?

No. 1: New-Patient Flow

It all starts with the initial phone call. Amy said that when the phone rings, they answer with a courteous tone and pay close attention to detail.

“Before patients come into the office, we get as much information as we can, so that when they walk in, we know something about them. This means a lot to patients, because they realize they’re not just a number,” Amy said.

Next, comes greeting patients with a smile and utmost professionalism when they arrive.

“When they enter the practice, we do the new-patient flow and follow all the steps. We acknowledge them, we greet them by their first name and we offer them a beverage,” she said.

It’s the little things that come together to make a big difference. Amy said her goal is to make sure all patients, especially new patients, have a great experience from beginning to end.

No. 2: Accommodating to Patients

This practice team does everything in its power to accommodate to its patients’ needs.

Amy said, “Our office is always open during business hours, and we make sure we don’t miss any phone calls. We rotate lunch hours and do early morning and late evening appointments, too.”

She explained that they not only offer extended hours, but they also work miracles in their schedules to get patients into the practice as quickly as possible.

“My team is amazing. What we do in one day, is what some practices do in a week. In order to do that, we all have to be on our toes and make sure patients remain our main focus,” she added.

No. 3: Family-Like Atmosphere

When patients walk into Cherokee Trail Dental Care, they know they are going to see familiar faces. Amy, Dr. Scott Novack and Patient Relations Coordinator Milesa Quraini are pioneers who have been members of the practice team since day one.

There are also numerous other team members who have been there for eight to nine years. This stability has allowed the team to grow strong and has enabled it to build meaningful relationships with its patients. 

“The staff members who have been here a while longer just have this dedication and loyalty, not only to the doctors, but to the patients. I think this is what has made us stand out from everybody else,” Amy said.

Warm, familiar faces are definitely something both team members and Dentists prides themselves on being able to provide to their patients every day.

“Dr. Novak and Dr. Tara Huntsman, our two core doctors, have been here through thick and thin. They are part of the local community and treat patients like family. I think that means a lot to people,” Amy said.

Reenie Rausch, the Director of Market Operations who oversees this practice, attributes the success of this team to the familiarity and continuity it has provided its patients for years.

“This practice team has been able to achieve excellent patient care through the consistency of its Operations Leader and Doctor leadership,” she said.

“They continue to raise the bar on meeting patients’ needs, and it shows through the legacy of patients who not only continue to come back for care, but share their positive experience with others,” she added.

Even though this practice has gone through two expansions, its team members and Dentists continue to foster a family-like atmosphere and provide the highest level of quality patient care.

“I think the majority of patients would say that it still feels like a small, private practice,” Amy said.

“My goal is to make sure that patients always feel like that way. We cannot lose focus on what got us where we are today, and that is patients,” she concluded.

So what is the secret to a five-star rating in patient satisfaction with a flourishing patient base?

 “Patients are the first priority,” Amy said.

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