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Christina Villarreal: Getting Your Team Excited About the Patient Experience

At the Dental Associates DSO of Wisconsin, the leadership believes very strongly that the patient experience is something that's important to measure and follow up for improvement. One of the core principles of their business is to improve the patient experience and create heightened engagement with staff members.

“I think that as a patient experience manager, being a cheerleader for our patients and wanting everyone to want to provide amazing care to our patients is just something that has to be communicated,” says Christina Villarreal, Patient Experience Manager of Dental Associates. “And I think the number one thing is communicating, from the top of our leadership team, the importance of the patient experience.”

The Key Question

What do we need to do better?

As the Patient Experience Manager, Villarreal spends time at each of their locations to observe all the team members in their interaction with patients. She relies on the supervisors to help build engagement with patients. “We are not doing this to catch anyone in doing something wrong,” she says. “We are doing this to find out what we're doing right and what we need to do better.”


High engagement with patients leads to happiness for all involved.

When patients have awesome experiences, there is something in it for the practice team as well. “I let them know that when we provide our patients better experiences, we have better days, better staff experiences, and better staff engagement,” says Villarreal. The day goes by fast when you are taking care of patients and they are enjoying it. When they enjoy your care, you enjoy your day. 

Team Specific Goals

Patient experience improvements may need to be different, depending on the location's team.

At Dental Associates, the doctors help their team make sure that they are keeping the patient experience on their minds, and each location has goals they need to achieve as well. Each local team is monitored and supported with strategies and training to achieve those goals. 

About this Industry Leader:

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Christina Villarreal

Patient Experience Manager, Dental Associates


Christina Villarreal joined Dental Associates in 2007 and quickly rose to the position of Patient Experience Manager. Christina is constantly looking for ways to improve the patient experience at Dental Associates' 14 practices in Wisconsin. She works closely with every team member both in the practices and in corporate support roles to identify issues and implement strategies that will increase patient satisfaction and employee morale. Christina is usually in the practices, talking to team members and observing them in action. The hands-on knowledge leads to more effective training techniques and ensures everyone on the team understands the goals and how success is tracked. She uses a series of key performance indicators and reports the findings to the executive team monthly.


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