February 15, 2017
The success of a dental practice is completely dependent on how effective the team is in influencing patients to say “yes” to recommended care. It doesn’t matter how excellent all other aspects of the practice are, if the patient doesn’t accept the treatment we recommend, or doesn’t want to pay us an appropriate fee, then the dentistry can’t get done.
In order to have a strong foundation for case presentation, the following things must be in place:
1. Systematic patient experience.
Developing effective business systems of handling new patients, patients of record and emergency patients with a systematic process (from the assessment of the patient, examination, confident diagnosis and clear, documented treatment provided with planning options) sets the stage for consistency and predictability.
The setting for case presentation has a significant impact on the patient’s decision making. The ideal place to perform a case presentation is in a non-clinical, private consult room (with knee to knee, equal level connection), with a small table to encourage the patient to take their own notes, computer for visual photos and all paperwork ready.
It has been proven that case acceptance is best obtained if the dentist doesn’t do it alone. They need to be accompanied by a Treatment Coordinator or administrative team member that can take over after the doctor explains all the clinical and technical aspects of the treatment plan. The team member will handle the financial investment discussion and any objections alone with the patient.
Communication techniques are learned skills and are part of the entire patient experience; from the initial phone call and greeting to the types of questions that are asked during the interview. How we receive their responses- without judgment and without interruption- to the use of lay terms to explain the treatment plan sets the stage for success.
Ideally, the patient information should be organized in one place for all team members to access. It is crucial to have consistent documentation of the patient’s long-term vision, short term objectives, their perceived problems with their oral health and any reason that may get in the way of them saying yes to the dentistry they deserve.
Remember: A patient can’t and won’t ACCEPT a treatment recommendation unless they perceive it as a solution to a problem they OWN. This means we must take the time to find out their perception, as opposed to telling them what “they need”, “they should” or “they have to”.
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