If Ten Doctors Saw the Same Patient…

One of my favorite quotes is from Gandhi, who said…

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

Which is precisely what I prescribed last week for your path to achieving The Ultimate Freedom in dentistry.

It all has to do with the harmony of principles found in your practice, just as Gandhi suggested. It turns out you can swap “happiness” with “success” or “patient health” or any number of objectives – and alignment between what you think, say, and do is paramount.

To begin, a quick anecdote… from the time I first began working with doctors and the hundreds and hundreds of conversations since, I have yet to find anyone that will tell me “I’m not very good at dentistry.”

Oh, sure, there are degrees of confidence and some doctors will admit that patients might be able to find a better aesthetic or margin or occlusal or overall clinical outcome from someone else. Yet, no one who would say they don’t do quality dentistry and provide a great patient experience.

You, sitting there, knowing your level of ambition and your standard of excellence, must be thinking, “How can that be?”

If ten Doctors saw the same patient… you’ll get ten different treatment plans and ten different patient outcomes.

And yet in each of their minds they are doing what they believe to be ideal for that patient. In other words, they are doing their best based upon what they are aware of and capable of doing.

However, is it possible that all ten are actually doing what’s best for the patient? Some might under-diagnosis or some might take a quick fix or some might cave to insurance coverage or some might not present the entire treatment plan or some might not get the patient to accept even the smallest amount of dentistry.

So, what’s my point? There are a few, actually, that I’d like to bring to your attention and each relates back to the alignment and harmony.

First, the biggest difference among the ten (or even a hundred or thousand) doctors is that the ones who continue to grow, continue to excel, continue to evolve, and continue to expand their own knowledge base, skill set, awareness, and expectations – are the ones that continue to achieve dramatically different results than the rest.

That is you, by the way. I know because you are here. This is the greatest differentiator of my doctors compared to all of the others. You never settle or stop striving for better or stay where you are or think it’s been done and there’s nothing left to achieve.

For you, it’s quite the opposite. You always know you can do better because there is always a next ‘level’ waiting to be discovered.

Perhaps a new procedure or method of case presentation or adjusting your approach to insurance or enhancing your patient experience. Every single component has an impact on patient outcomes.

It’s about having a clarity of mission, finding harmony between your purpose and your actions, realizing near-perfect alignment between intentions and results.

That leaves little room to be distracted by bright shiny objects or being so busy searching for greener grass you neglect your own or caught up in trying to be everybody else instead of being true to yourself.

This happens to be an extremely valuable “secret” to life, by the way. Don’t miss it. It should remind you of the great Acres of Diamonds story.

The next point I’d make with this is that the patients come to you ready to be molded and made better. They seek your guidance, want to be educated, and desire to do what is right for their health.

If the same patient arrives at the front door of ten practices and there are ten different (among dozens or hundreds of possibilities) versions of that patient who ultimately exit; that means how the practice interacts with that patients will be the primary factor in determining the health outcomes.

Most practices just go for the easy money, the low hanging fruit. They think that all of their problems are in their patients’ inability to invest or lack of interest or unwillingness to do more proactive, preventative, and optimal health dentistry.

They take no control over the words and actions that would provide greater influence over the patients’ decisions.

The practices that change their paradigm with patients take responsibility, establish a culture, and create an environment that will facilitate this transformation in patients’ minds. They are the ones that have the breakthroughs, they are the ones that have a practice that goes against every industry trend, they are the ones that blow up limitations others stay stuck in.

This is how you change patients’ lives while also winning big in your practice. I have proven, thanks to doctors like you, that you actually must alignment with doctor and patient, profit and practice for any of this to work long-term.

What a perfect segue to this final point I’ll make today and it’s a big all-encompassing one.

Practices say health but then they present a fraction of it.

Practices say they don’t let insurance get in the way and yet everything in their schedule looks about like what insurance allows.

Practices say they do comprehensive dentistry but their treatment plans don’t match that concept.

Practices say they do what is best for the patient but they often are timid and bashful when it comes time to discuss the investment necessary to achieve optimal health.

Why do so many practices say these things but their results don’t reflect this belief system?

It’s because of the quote we began with today.

What they think is not what they say. What they do is not actually what they believe. What they achieve is not at all what they intended. What they blame is not what is to fault.

Ask yourself now where’s the disconnect from your ideals to your outcomes? From your words to your actions? From your stated practice objectives for your patients and your actual systems, protocols, and processes?

Where are you out of alignment in how you do things day to day, patient by patient with what you ultimately consider your standards? Where is there a lack of harmony between what you think, say, and do?

That leads to me to a naturally point of pause for you to consider and think deeply about what I’ve shared. Think through these questions with your team over the next week.

Determine how you can be more in harmony with your own personal philosophy and practice principles for how you want to own and operate your practice.

It’s also important to be aware of tendencies or traps you fall into that take you out of alignment.

Next week, we’ve got some work to do. We’ll be talking in terms of pure dentistry and dollar for dollar profit.

Get ready for some good old fashion work in the trenches of your practice. For those willing, I’ve got a surprise that will bring very powerful liberation to you in your life as we continue on this theme of Weekly Reports.