By Lisa Philp, RDH, President of Transitions Group North America
How would it be if all our patients accepted our treatment recommendations without having to be pressured, without stress or rejection? Why do dental patients reject appropriate treatment? Why do they nod their heads in agreement clinically, yet somehow never get around to proceeding with treatment?
The success of a dental practice is completely dependent on how effective the team is at 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.
Eighty-five percent of case acceptance is related to our social skills and ability to relate to people, 15% is due to technical system and examination appointment flow.
The 85% behavioral side of case presentation system involves a process of communication that begins at greeting, first impressions, and interest you take in the patient and their needs. The finesse of connecting with another person, building rapport, establishing trust is set up via master interviewing skills, impactful listening and categorizing and organizing the patient’s unique answers into a way that drives the customized presentation and financial arrangements.
The 15% technical aspects of case acceptance system involve the comprehensive, recall and emergency exams on new patients, existing patients and urgency patient visits. The system of technique, documentation, diagnostic philosophy, treatment planning forms and computer posting, pre-determination management and financial policy and arrangements are all part of a predictable order and flow to case acceptance.
The combination of the above is the “fulcrum” of the dental practice; everything else depends on this system and flow working well. When it is run poorly: without proper structure, organization, guidance and is insurance driven, patients won’t choose quality dental care and the practice suffers consequences such as lower productivity, patients receiving less than optimum care and they don’t honour their retention intervals and sometimes walk out the door, never to return.
Foundational beliefs in the practice that lead to optimal case acceptance are:
- Oral health is the gateway to overall body wellness
- Every patient DESERVES the right to know all dentistry has to offer with comprehensive and aesthetic services so they can make their own decisions
- The more time taken to learn about the patient will create connection and trust, which makes it easier to present their case
- Patients will not buy solutions to problems they do not perceive they own/have
- Patients say YES, when their mouth is moving not ours
- A smile and a nod in the clinical area doesn’t mean a true YES