I have been known for more than a dozen years for saying “THE BEST PATIENTS ARE THE MOST EDUCATED PATIENTS,” and they always will be. HOWEVER, I’m not talking about ‘clinical education’ – nope, not a chance because the best patients do not want to know all about the bells and whistles. They just want to hear the sounds of benefits.
Education by genius clinicians who gets their kicks on the doing, talking, being all about the dentistry can quickly screw up the relationship with the patients because they will take all of your blabbering about clinical protocols and biological descriptions as being focused ON YOURSELF instead of ON THEM.
Read that again because it’s so critical. Talking about what you like REMOVES the focus from the patient and what is important to them. Talking about what they are concerned about is the key TRUST FACTOR that leads to case acceptance.
This is a real and powerful secret that you might want to jot down somewhere.
When the focus is on them, they automatically want to accept what you are saying and the trust they have leads them to moving forward by following your guidance.
This is why Education should be such an intricate part of EVERY and ALL patient experiences. Done right, education is woven into the explanations that happened on the phone, in the interview and during the clinical diagnosis. Furthermore, Education is the crux of the expectations that are set forth, provided and (if you are really good) agreed upon by the patient before ever proceeding.
If you are on the phone explaining the comprehensive exam and then you outline expectations for the first time patient and that is all you do; then you risk coming across as dictatorial and not from a position of servitude. The magic link between these is providing a REASON WHY to everything you do and that is the education component.
This is an easy thing to do if you just practice it. Everything should be followed with a reason why. That is education.
This keeps the patients from wondering and coming up with their own conclusions and having their minds wander. You want to tell the patients what to think.
Here is when most practices educate their patients: AFTER IT IS TOO LATE.
Usually education comes into play once a patient has been diagnosed and now they begin questioning. Worse, educating the patients once they have been presented the treatment. Worse still, educating the patients once they have been asked for their investments and now they doubt everything.
Any answers at this point are all justifications, which is the wrong spot to be in. Complete destruction of trust. No one who trusts someone else ever asks for a justification after the fact.
What is justified reactively could have been educated proactively.
If you take what we discussed last week and you interject Education into Experience, you now have purpose for every move, every step, every decision, every point of engagement.
You can see how beautifully and brilliantly these all fit together – and to think we have three more TRUST FACTORS to go. Just you wait, it gets even better.
I’m going to give you the most effective shortcut to the Education Trust Factor you could ever imagine right here next week. It will be the biggest slack adjuster for achieving total compliance on your case acceptance and follow through you could possibly imagine.
Until then, I want you to look at each aspect of your Experience…
Health History Forms
Interview and Intake
And so on and so forth through the Educational lens. Ask what you could do better to proactively inform and educate your patients so they are READY BEFORE HAND to make good on the Expectations you have set and the Explanation you have provided.
Brainstorm all the ways you can expand to do a more comprehensive job of educating your patients now. Next week ,I will give you the ultimate shortcut.
We are about to get to where the rubber meets the road. Three Trust Factors left to go. You gain trust by providing proof (a hint for what’s too come) through Education every step of the way.