In our previous posts, we explored case presentation and acceptance in the dental practice. Each dental team member plays a role in effective patient conversations. We reviewed a selection of team members and the importance of their roles in building rapport with patients.
Let’s talk about the dentist and their role.
We can agree that their role is somewhat obvious, as they make the diagnosis and are often the initial presenter of a treatment plan.
How does it go from diagnosis to treatment plan and then a commitment from the patient to schedule said treatment? This is where the team can struggle.
Just this week, an admin team member asked me “where are we going wrong?” She used the example of a patient appearing ready to schedule their recommended treatment. As soon as the dentist walks away the patient whispers to her that they’re “not interested in scheduling the treatment”. At this point, she is left in an awkward position and isn’t sure what to do next.
Honestly, there isn’t much she can do at that point, other than to suggest they review it at the patients next appointment.
Ideally every patient should arrive to the administrator’s desk with a clear understanding of what their next treatment is and why they need it. Bonus points if the treatment is already scheduled by a clinical team member.
How do we change this?
It begins with the clinical discussions and how they are presented to the patients. We must be careful with the words we use. Dental providers struggle with being the bearers of bad news. As a result, we tend to discuss treatment in a manner that diminishes its importance.
How many times have you heard a team member say “oh, it’s just a small filling or there’s no rush on that.” The patient will interpret this as not important. It’s small or not urgent and doesn’t sound like it even needs to be done.
When these discussions happen clinically, it is nearly impossible for any team member to schedule an appointment.
It’s imperative that if case acceptance is the goal, clear and direct language must be used. Simply state the diagnosis and the treatment, briefly review a photo or radiograph and then hand the discussion off to your team. They can take the time to answer questions, review the estimate and schedule the appointment.
How do you put this into practice? Be self aware and monitor your progress. Reflect on the conversations that didn’t get the results you were hoping for and commit to change. It takes desire and discipline to create new habits.
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.