Archive for July, 2018

Bridging the Gap Between Case Presentation and Acceptance

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Guest post by Dawn Christodoulou, President/Owner of XLDent

Patients come through your door all day with problems ranging from periodontal disease to missing teeth. The biggest challenge isn’t in performing those treatments, it’s in getting a patient to agree to them. As a clinician, your role is much more than just doing the work, it’s listening to problems, educating, and demonstrating.

In most cases, the relationship between you and your patient must start with trust for the patient to feel confident enough to go through with your recommendations. No matter how large or small the proposed treatments are, there’s a personal element to each involved. A patient needs to hear and believe there’s a problem, before ever considering the solution.

One way to do this is to use visuals. Electronic dental charts and digital photos are good to start with. They show problems clearly and offer a focal point for your discussion. Focus less on the filling, and more on the recurrent decay or new caries that are seen and possibly felt right now by the patient. This step of the acceptance process should center around their goals and solving the problem (with your proposed treatment).

Understand barriers to acceptance and address them head on. Dentists think more times than not that the biggest roadblock to acceptance is money. In reality, this is true in some cases. However, it’s likely followed by fear or lack of understanding. Listening to your patient will bring you the most success at this stage. Get in the habit of repeating back what you’ve heard to confirm and reaffirm the barrier.

For example, you might say, “Mrs. Jones, if I’m hearing you correctly, your main concern is how much this treatment will cost. Is that correct?” Don’t be surprised if you get a response like this: “Well, I am worried about that, but I’m also just not feeling any pain right now on that tooth.” We can safely assume Mrs. Jones hasn’t truly seen or understood the problem, thus she doesn’t see the need for the solution. A repeat of the patient education and more focus on the problem is probably necessary.

The process of gaining treatment acceptance is much like crossing a bridge – each step connects to the next until you reach the other side. There comes a point where the patient understands the problem and can connect your solution as a means to solve it. The process of case presentation has a direct effect on a patient’s willingness to make that commitment.

To connect with XLDent, call 800-328-2925 or email xldentinfo@xldent.comDawn

Dawn Christodoulou is the President/Owner of XLDent. She has more than 25 years of experience computerizing dental offices and helping both new and established practices streamline electronic workflows for increased efficiency, improve patient engagement, and achieve maximum profitability. Dawn is also a member of ADA SCDI Working Groups 11.1 Standard Clinical Architecture and 11.9 Core Reference Data Set.

Want Things to Change? Start the Conversation!

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

Guest post by James V. Anderson, DMD, CEO Founder eAssist Dental Solutions

Listening to colleagues belabor the management of their new front desk, it makes me wonder what is going on in their practices.

When I started my first dental practice, I know I made mistakes and some were because I trusted too much. You trust when you don’t know enough and the person in charge of collecting your money knows more than you do.

The dentist most often has the vision but not the business knowledge.  Dentist’s look to their front office person or people to get the practice running profitably.  When there is chaos, unaccountability and poor cash flow, trust becomes a distant memory.

The way to get around this predicament is to start the conversation.

List the most important things you would like to see change, with examples of workable solutions. This conversation should be synchronized with the give and take of ideas.  Approach the conversation with what is working before you talk about what needs improvement and change.

As the Dentist CEO, you should recognize that certain things might be hindering the ability to grow the business.  Sometimes staff are aware of these problems but often try to shield you from them or cover them up.  Require transparency, as all of you are components in accomplishing these goals.

Ideas to Start the Conversation

● “Our goals for the practice this year are _______, and are we on target?”

● “What goals do you feel we need to pay more attention to?”

● “Where do you want to focus our efforts to reach one or more of these goals?”

● “I need your help in getting the office to head in that direction.”

● “Do you have feedback for me about ways you can improve? How can I improve?”

● “What changes would you like the office to make to move toward these goals?”

● “How can I help you make these changes?”

The team needs to recognize that they play a significant role in helping achieve practice goals and to bring solutions for change.

Meeting Goals

● Focus on one or two things you’re going to accomplish now

● Have a Plan of Action for when and how you will complete the goals

● Set up future meetings to discuss progress on projects and innovative ideas

● Give praise and thanks for all the excellent work accomplished

 

Dr. Anderson headshotJames V. Anderson DMD is a practicing dentist in Syracuse, Utah and is the CEO/Founder of eAssist Dental Solutions, the largest national dental insurance billing company (www.dentalbilling.com) in the U.S. 

Dr. Anderson understands the challenges facing today’s dental teams and since 2009 has been providing proven solutions to dental/medical insurance billing, patient portion billing, accounting for dentists and related services for management of the accounts receivables.  He can be reached at james.anderson@eassist.me