There are many factors to consider in presenting a dental treatment plan and gaining case acceptance. The dentist may feel the burden of being solely responsible. The truth is that yes, it is the responsibility of the dentist to diagnose and present treatment, but the entire team must participate.
Each team member has a role to play in case presentation and acceptance. How the patient feels before they set foot in the office, and the experience they have during their appointment, both significantly impact case acceptance. Trust in the dentist and the team is critical in a patient’s decision to proceed. Let’s discuss who the key players are and what role they play in the patient’s experience.
The Administrative Team
Case acceptance begins with the first phone call. A new patient may call with a concern about a tooth, or maybe it’s been a while since they’ve been to the dentist, and this is their first step in making healthy choices. From that first phone call there is an opportunity for the administrator to create rapport by displaying a genuine interest in their concerns. Often during this first conversation a patient expresses that they are nervous or in pain. Perhaps they haven’t been to the dentist in a long time and are embarrassed about the state of their oral health. No matter the reason, the patient must feel taken care of.
A warm and engaging conversation sets the tone for their visit to the office. The administrator creates a comfortable and judgment free space for the patient. Treating patients in this way becomes second nature.
Another point to discuss is the importance of passing key information to the clinical team. The information that was gathered from the phone call must be in the chart notes. The clinical team is responsible for familiarizing themselves with the patient’s concerns in advance of their appointment.
The Dental Assistant
The dental assistant is a key player in building trust and rapport with the patient. There are many opportunities to assist in presentation and acceptance with new patients, emergency patients, specific examinations and existing patients with outstanding treatment.
It’s important to be prepared for all patients by reviewing their information prior to the appointment. The dental assistant picks up where the administrator left off in creating rapport and building trust. The patient begins to feel confident that they will be well cared for, and their expectations will be met. Trust in the team is as important as trust in the dentist.
Detailed communication between team members is key when building trust and rapport with patients. Encourage your team members to remember one thing that a patient shared about themselves and dedicate a section of their chart to these personal notes. Refer to those notes in future conversations. This is especially helpful when you or a team member are treating a patient for the first time.
Stay tuned as we continue to discuss this topic further and delve into the roles of the dentist and dental hygienist.
Our team of Dental Consultants, at Tayden Consulting Inc., specialize in providing, hands-on, on-site coaching on how to create the optimal experience for your patients.
Contact us today for a free consultation! We look forward to meeting you.