Back To School For Your Patients’ Health

Over the next two weeks we’re going to talk about how you bring to life dentistry inside of your practice.  This duality of the dentistry you do and how you connect with people.

First, you create relationships with people, earn their trust, educate their minds, engage them emotionally, and show them a pathway to health.  Then you actually ‘deliver’ that health through dentistry. 

Today, we are going to look at the ‘back to school’ version of doubling down on your patients’ health from your patients’ perspective and then we are going to flip it around to look at it from your perspective (which we call your clinical philosophy).

Remember, we are doing this Monday Huddle Series on “back to school” as though each week is a different, advanced subject that never goes away and acts as a foundational pillar and cornerstone of your practice.  Then there are many sub-subjects that we could further breakdown and dissect.  

The broader view is a challenge to grade yourself from A to F on your effectiveness and consistency into how you are acting on your knowledge and staying true to your core principles of delivering a high level of customized care through an experiential process with your patients in the way only you can.

When it comes to patient’s health, there are four big areas that we have to look at and review.  The first and the last have to do with the patient perspective and the middle two have to do with your clinical philosophy that we will talk about next week.

In summary form…

1st How you define patient health to patients; reshaping their perspective and shifting their paradigm from reactive to proactive, from optional to optimal, from wait until emergency to preventative in nature.

2nd How you organize your experience and process to bring to life your clinical philosophy inside of your patient experience and specifically the team triangle in the treatment room.

3rd How you engage the patient with your diagnostic process and arrive at the clinical yes and then reverse engineer into a complete and comprehensive pathway to health.

4th How you present and help your patients to make decisions, scheduling, investing, and following through on their pathway to health so they have the best chance possible to do what is in their best interest.

Going back to the first: how you define patient health to begin with and more importantly how you educate your patients on it.

If we don’t give them a vision and standard of health to base their decisions on, let alone your diagnosis, then we are stuck with a patient perspective of dentistry that is reactive… when in pain and at a point of ‘have to’ do something.

You want to think about how you converse with your patients, the material they see in the office, pictures on the wall, testimonials they read, and other things that we covered in the experience portion of the Back to School series.

The big thing is every team member must know how we define health from the patient’s perspective and how we talk about it.  Grade yourself on the following as it relates to patients’ health in your practice.  

How do you…

Define 

Discuss 

Demonstrate 

Diagnose 

Decide 

Once you have mastered those five, then you will have everything you could ever imagine to help your patients get healthy.  If you shortcut any of them, you will be diminishing the opportunity to maximize your patients health in your practice.

The closer you are to an “A” on each of those the greater your success will experience and the healthier your patients will become.

Going all the way to the end, #4, and the last thing that brings us back to school on patient health is simply making sure you have integrity from the beginning to the end.   
  
So often patient health is destroyed by letting them off the hook, by interjecting insurance, by chopping treatment plans down into teeth instead of staying true to the big picture objective – regardless of how they pay for or complete the dentistry – it is vital that we keep the continuity of the patient’s health focus all the way through.

Back to basics says the obvious: treat every patient like a new patient every single time and show every patient the big picture about how dentistry fits into their lives not just their mouths.

  
We will cover very important back to school principles that many practices miss with next week’s Huddle on the integrity of your clinical philosophy (everything from diagnosing to actual treatment planning).

Just know this, it makes no difference how great the clinical experience was if the focal point of the discussion after they leave the operatory comes down to nothing more than dollars and insurance.

Patient health must be carried through and always coming back to what the main purpose of how their mouth compares today, in real time, to the state of ideal definition of patient health that was pre-established at the very beginning of the visit.

Here’s some simple back to school reminders:

Don’t breakdown treatment, breakdown money.

Don’t focus on insurance, focus on health.

Don’t itemize their mouth like an inventory list, emphasize major goals.

Don’t talk about ‘dentistry,’ talk about what the dentistry will do for them.

Patient health should be tied to your principles of what you believe every person deserves; tied to the consequences of inaction and the benefits of taking action.

Grade yourself on these points and assess what opportunities you have for improvement.  Have an open discussion on how you can help your patients pass the health test with flying colors.

  
Next week, we’ll talk about what you can do to pass the test too from the clinical philosophy and execution of your ideals into the patient health reality.

  
There’s a lot here, now you just have to do something with it!

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