Credibility and Treatment Presentations
Although based on real experiences, names and other details have been changed for this article.
“Do you have any questions regarding to your treatment, Carol? If you do I am sure that Christie, my Treatment Coordinator, can answer them for you. I am going to turn you over to her now and she will explain what appointments you will need and your costs. It was a pleasure meeting you today and I look forward to helping you achieve better aesthetics for your smile and overall health. See you soon.”
Dr. Brown is a well-respected dentist in town and has been in practice for several decades. He is confident that Christie will represent him in the treatment presentation and successfully appoint Carol and arrange for the payment or finances.
Christie has not worked for Dr. Brown for decades; she is new in town and has worked for him for 6 months. Her only credibility is that which Dr. Brown has kindly bestowed on her on behalf of the patient.
Christie had been busy with another patient and didn’t take time to prepare for Carol. When Dr. Brown left the room, she sat in his chair and stared at the computer screen and the clinical notes in regards to Carol’s treatment and then brought up the treatment plan to discuss with Carol. During this time there was just silence.
Christie’s style was always on the run and to prepare at the last minute, but Carol was one of those patients who had little patience for being treated substandard. Christie’s appearance was disheveled because she didn’t have an ironed blouse to wear today, so she wore one that was clean but wrinkled. Her hair was pinned back in a sticky looking bun with the tendrils hanging and catching in her dangling earrings.
Christie began her presentation with a big apology for not being prepared and having to read the treatment plan. “I usually am prepared but I need to look at this first”, she said. The fact that she apologized but never introduced herself got Carol wondering if she knew what she was talking about.
“On your treatment plan I am seeing that you don’t have an insurance estimate as part of your payment” queried Christie.
“That’s because I don’t have dental insurance and I will need financing. If you could let me know what the cost of option one would be and how we can arrange that treatment.”
Christie continued with, “Option one is $3,000 and we will need 50% at the start of treatment and when the crowns are delivered we will need the remaining 50%. If you would like financing, please fill out this form and I will call it in to our financing company. It will just take a few minutes to get a reply and you are welcome to sit in the reception room until they call or email back. Is that okay with you?”
Carol gave Christie the information and took a seat in the reception room. Thirty minutes went by and Christie never returned. Carol got up and left the office. No one noticed that she had left until Christie finally came looking for her, prepared with another apology. Christie dismissed the encounter and never called Carol.
Unfortunately, this is a true story.
How could Christie have turned this around and been a credible and valuable member of Dr. Brown’s team?
1. Employee Policies should always include a dress code. Treatment Coordinators and the rest of the staff should look sharp, clean and polished. The entire team represents the practice and the quality of care.
2. Professional attire. Dangling earrings are not considered professional for a health care setting.
3. Treatment Coordinators should be briefed on the treatment options presented and given an indicator of which plan the patient may want or should sit in on the diagnosis. Setting the stage for treatment presentations is usually discussed at the morning meeting.
4. Rapport. Christie did not establish rapport with the patient, instead gave an apology for not being prepared.
5. Timeliness. Christie should have processed the application immediately and then been proactive and scheduled the patient’s appointments. This would show confidence that the patient would be approved for financing.
6. Clear communication. Christie did not anticipate any questions or concerns the patient may have with the treatment and never asked her if she understood the procedures.
Doctors often ask why they aren’t busy when they know they have presented treatment all day long. If you don’t have a trained Treatment Coordinator with systems and goals for success, your practice will not prosper like it should. Call McKenzie Management today to sign up for the Treatment Acceptance Training Course and perfect your treatment presentations.
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