There’s a saying, often attributed to Albert Einstein, whose essence is “if you keep on doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve been getting.” The point being that oftentimes, a singular action, all things being equal, will result in the same outcome.
DO YOU WANT TO CHANGE YOUR OUTCOMES?
- Are you tired of patients not appreciating you?
- Are you tired of patients not accepting your best care?
- Are you tired of people coming back with the same problems?
- Are you fed up with doing bloody prophies?
Well, here’s a strategy that I believe might just help you change the formula so you and your patients will get better outcomes. The result will be:
A HAPPIER YOU and a HEALTHIER THEM.
THE POST TREATMENT COMMUNICATION SYSTEM
After a patient leaves your treatment room, congratulate them. Let them know of all the benefits they will receive from their visit with you.
“You are so smart for caring for yourself like this. Your visit today will help keep your mouth healthy so that…”
List 3 benefits they will get from having a healthy mouth.
Ideally, this should be customized for each patient based on their risks and needs. For a person with gingival inflammation, it might be about the reduction in bleeding that could help prevent various cancers. For a patient that has a highly restored mouth, it could be the fluoride that was placed, which will prolong the lifespan of the dental treatment they’ve received.
This conversation however is not enough. Patients rarely retain what you’ve told them in the treatment room. And it’s not YOUR fault or theirs. Few people do not experience some increased levels of stress during a dental visit, whatever that visit might be for.
It’s a physiologic and neurochemical problem. Stress induces the release of adrenaline and cortisol. These mediate the ‘Fight or Flight’ mechanism. Once initiated in a patient, their focus is on survival. In their mind, it’s all about ‘getting out,’ rather than on what you’re saying, unless it’s about how to get them out faster!
Now, you might appreciate why so many things said in the dental office (even over the phone), are either forgotten or not remembered properly.
That’s why I like the idea of putting the message you wish to convey in another format. It could be writing, audio, or video.
Ideally, the more the merrier.
Here are a few ideas that can help.
- When giving instructions to patients, have them record it (audio or video) on their phone.
- You might record it and send it to them (and place it into the chart) after the visit.
- Write a follow up email reiterating the benefits they received at the visit along with any helpful hints for their self-care.
- Make homecare or post-op instructional videos and upload to the practice’s YouTube or Vimeo channel and then send a link to the patient who might not be compliant via text or email. (Please don’t use TikTok, as there’s too much DIY junk on it.)
- Handwritten notes are AMAZING. Because few people send them, yours will stand out and position you as a friend and advocate.
These are just a few ideas that you can use to reinforce good behaviors and change undesirable ones. Ultimately, the goal is for your patients to get better outcomes. The side effect for you will be a more pleasant and rewarding career.
Don’t you just love win-win scenarios?
Well, this is actually a triple win, because the practice also wins.
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Towards your Happier and Healthier results,