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1.11.08 Issue #305 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague


Belle DuCharme CDPMA
Instructor/Consultant
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Treatment Acceptance and the Consultation Area

The design of the business office and its’ affects on the patient’s motivation to buy treatment is discussed in the Advanced Business Training Programs and New Dentists Start-Up program.  During the analysis of practice space, it is often noted that a private area to discuss treatment, payment options, insurance disputes or any other related discreet matters, is not provided.  For many offices, once the patient gets to the front desk, the treatment consultation is over for the dental team but not for the patient.  Many dentists want to improve their treatment acceptance percentages but have not realized an important component to doing this is private time with the patient.

With protection of personal information being a top concern of most people today, it is vital to provide an area of privacy for the patient to be able to make an important decision that will affect their total health for years to come. A designated consultation room provides a professional atmosphere free of distractions and unwanted listeners.

The Treatment Coordinator or Financial Coordinator who has been attending the diagnosis and treatment option presentation will now take over the presentation in the consultation area.  It is important that the patient sees this person as “knowing what was said” and understands the procedures well enough to answer any questions.  Having this person show up at the point where the patient is escorted to the consultation room has the appearance of a “closer” that one would find at a car dealership or a timeshare spiel.

In dentistry, we sell services. An implant is anchored in the bone and now visually is an intangible. That beautiful new crown or bridge blends into the mouth and the benefit of being able to chew again is apparent but not as stimulating as the “new car smell” or pictures of a five star resort in Hawaii. Selling benefits of the services offered in the dental practice is the challenge based on the patients’ trust that the dentist can deliver as he/she has stated.

The consultation area should have the following components:

  • A window on the door or exterior wall so that the patient does not feel trapped.
  • A calming water feature or soothing background music if a window is not in the room.
  • Another thing to consider if the room does not have a window would be to seat the patient near the doorway.
  • A round table that is big enough for four people and room to display models and other visuals.
  • Padded chairs with arms so that patients can easily get in and out of the seat.  Have available a chair without arms for the overweight patient.
  • Displayed on the wall, degrees and certificates of the dentist and team members, where the patient can view them.
  • Computer and monitor to bring up patients digital radiographs and photos for reference.
  • Video education products to enhance the education of the patient and to demonstrate to the patient that the practice is up to date and dedicated to excellent dentistry.
  • Reference materials such as flip charts, brochures, case books with testimonials and success stories for further patient education should be available.
  •  Brochures can be given along with the patient’s treatment plan and financial option sheet in a nice folder to take home.  Recommended to be in the folder would be a description of the benefits of the proposed treatment to this patient based on the motivating factors discovered during the new patient interview.

Creating an environment that is appealing to the senses of the patient will invite the patient to return.  An overpowering medicinal smell that is often overlooked by dentists and their team can be an anxiety producing experience for the patient. None of us would want to spend a lot of time in an uncomfortable environment. Some offices bake cookies or burn aromatherapy candles to mask the odors. Better yet is an automatic type of room deodorizer mounted on the wall that periodically infuses a shot of citrus into the air. Check with your dental supply representative for the name of the product.

 Ask the patients what they smell when they come into the office. If the patients say it “smells like a dental office” then a change is in order. The patient is a good source of marketing information for the dental practice because with each visit they notice what the team has become accustomed to.

It is recommended that the consultation room be sound proofed as much as possible.  Listening to the high-speed drill, model trimmers or patient outcries will not hasten a patient to “sign up” for more of this experience.

If space allows, the room should also have elements that research has shown makes people feel good.  Suggestions would be:

  • Pictures of smiling happy patients professionally produced.
  • People with their pets or just the pets.
  • Calming nature scenes with inspirational messages.
  • Artwork such as paintings or sculpture.
  • Fresh flowers

These items would be positive distractions and can also open the door to conversation connecting to the patient on a personal level.

Put yourself in the patient’s place and ask, “If I were to be making an important financial and long-term health care commitment, where would I like to discuss the matter?”

 For more information on Treatment Acceptance training and the Advanced Business Programs call McKenzie Management today.

Why not improve your performance in 2008.   Attend McKenzie Management’s Front Office or Office Manager Training.  Email training@mckenziemgmt.com or call 877.777.6151
Interested in having Belle speak to your dental society or study club? Click Here.

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