7 Ways to Improve Implant Case Presentation in Your Practice
Investing in implant dentistry is a big decision for your patients. While many of them are interested in implants, and may even ask you about this popular treatment option, there’s a lot for patients to consider before they say yes.
If you want to increase the number of implant cases you perform each year, you have to focus on improving your case presentations and educating patients about the many benefits implants provide. Not sure what that entails? Don’t worry, I can help. Here’s how you can improve implant case presentation in your practice, get more patients to say yes to implant treatment and ultimately grow production numbers and your bottom line.
1. Introduce them to implants. Most of your patients have likely heard about dental implants, but they might not know exactly what they are or how they work. I recommend using a tablet PC or other patient education tools to teach patients about implants and how they’re used to replace decayed or missing teeth.
2. Provide education. The more educated patients are, the more likely they are to say yes to needed treatment. If you don’t already have one, consider hiring a Treatment Coordinator and tasking this team member with providing case presentations for every producer in the practice. The Treatment Coordinator should take the time to go over all possible treatment options and the risks and benefits associated with those options. The coordinator should answer any questions patients have about implants, and ease their concerns about perceived barriers to care.
These treatment presentations should take place in a relaxed, comfortable environment. It’s also important to give your Treatment Coordinator a written script to follow. You don’t want the discussion to become too technical or graphic. The script can help prepare your coordinator for common implant-related questions that patients will bring up during the presentation.
3. Talk about payment options. Many patients will be concerned about the cost associated with implants, but you don’t want the price tag to keep patients from moving forward with treatment. While this shouldn’t be the focus of the case presentation, it should be part of it. After your Treatment Coordinator goes over the process and answers any questions, it’s time to have the financial discussion.
Tell patients how much the treatment will cost, and what financing options you offer. If you offer third-party financing such as CareCredit, I guarantee patients will feel more comfortable paying for treatment. Instead of writing one large check, third-party financing allows them to make small payments over time. This is much more manageable, and relieves the financial burden associated with implant dentistry.
4. Don’t let patients leave your office empty handed. After the case presentation, give patients a copy of their treatment plan, a treatment financing plan, educational materials about implants and a list of websites they can visit if they want to learn more about the process.
5. Follow up. Most patients won’t decide if they want to go forward with treatment on the spot. They’ll want to take some time to think about their options and talk everything over with their spouse. Schedule a follow-up appointment with every patient, especially if they decide they’re not quite ready to go forward with treatment.
6. Be available. Encourage patients to call or email you if they think of any other questions about the proposed treatment after they leave the office. Let them know you’re happy to address any concerns they have, and that the doctor has experience successfully delivering this kind of treatment.
7. Reinforce the benefits of implant dentistry. Just because a patient says no to treatment today, doesn’t mean that patient won’t say yes tomorrow. Keep in mind patients opt to forego treatment for many reasons, and their situations change over time. If you and your team members continue to reinforce the benefits of recommended treatment at subsequent visits, more patients will eventually move forward with treatment.
Implant dentistry can bring many benefits to both your patients and your practice. Placing more implants will help grow your revenues, and will give patients another reason to call your practice their dental home.
Patients are becoming more and more interested in implants, and they know it’s a treatment option that can improve both function and esthetics. If you take the time to properly present implants as an option and educate patients about the benefits of this investment in their oral health, you’ll find more patients will say yes to implant treatment – boosting your production numbers and your bottom line.
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
4 Tips to Keep the Schedule Full During the Holidays
“I can’t come for my appointment tomorrow because I have so much going on with my family for Christmas.” Does this sound familiar? Or what about “I’m so sorry to have to cancel but I have to pick up my brother at the airport.” Or “I have such a bad cold (cough, cough) and can’t make it today”, or one of my favorites, “Let’s reschedule this for after the first of the year.”
Keeping the schedule full and running is a challenge at all times, but it can be even more problematic during the busy holiday season. Our patients really are very busy and often have legitimate reasons for wanting to reschedule. Plus, it is cold and flu season. Be that as it may, we still have a practice to run and staff and overhead to pay.
How can we encourage our patients to keep their appointments during the holidays?
1. Confirm patients two days prior to their scheduled time. Whether you are using an automated confirmation service or have staff make the calls themselves, confirming two days ahead rather than one day ahead can be very helpful. While some may say this gives patients additional time to make up excuses, it also gives staff time to find another patient to fill in any holes in the schedule. As always, it is vital to maintain a call-list or log of patients who are willing to come in at short notice. These can be people who are trying to get their treatment completed before the end of the year and the restarting (or loss) of their insurance benefits, or patients who want a certain appointment time that previously was filled, such as the last or first appointment of the day.
2. Know your patient’s case so you may offer appropriate reasons for them to keep an appointment. Be ready with an “argument” concerning why the patient should come in. Don’t fly blind! Pull up their chart information when speaking with them. For example: Mr. Patient calls this morning and says he cannot keep his 2pm appointment. He is scheduled for two hours for crown preparations and seating and five composite restorations.
The Scheduling Coordinator might say, “Mr. Patient! We have reserved two hours for you today to complete the crowns and fillings you have been wanting. If you miss this time, we will not be able to finish your treatment before the end of the year. You have already fulfilled your insurance plan deductible for this year enabling you to use your insurance to its’ maximum. It would be such a shame to lose those benefits. It will likely amount to at least $XX!”
Mrs. Patient leaves a message stating that she has to go to the airport. Call her back and say, “I heard your message about needing to pick up someone from the airport. This will really hurt our treatment plan to have all of your crowns finished before your daughter’s wedding in January. We will probably not be able to have the front teeth finished as we hoped. Is there someone else in the family who could do the pick up?”
3. Mention how disappointed the dentist will be. Mr. Patient calls to say he would like to reschedule for after the first of the year. The Scheduling Coordinator says, “Oh dear. Dr. Smith is going to be so disappointed! He was looking forward to seeing you today to begin on that lower right side that has been bothering you. He had saved two hours just for you.” Don’t offer to reschedule at the end of this speech. Wait to see what the patient will say. Many times the patient will be reluctant to disappoint the dentist.
4. If the patient has a cold, explain that dental treatment can proceed. When patients have colds and coughs, they rightfully think they probably should reschedule. Depending on how ill the patient really is, many times dental treatment can proceed as planned. The Scheduling Coordinator can say, “If you have a cough, we can still do your treatment today. As you know, the dentist and all of the clinical staff wear masks and gloves at all times. We thank you for being so considerate, but we can still take care of you today. If you need to take a few breaks, that will not be a problem. This way we can get your treatment finished up for you.”
While the end of the year and holiday times can be very busy for our patients, we still need them to keep their appointments and keep our schedules full. Don’t just accept it when patients want to reschedule. Ask some questions, make suggestions, express disappointment and don’t offer to set up another time immediately. Taking a little time and working with what you know about the patient’s treatment can sometimes help them make the right decision - to keep their appointment today!
Carol Tekavec RDH is the Director of Hygiene for McKenzie Management. Carol can improve your hygiene department in just one day of training “in your office.” Interested in knowing more about how to improve your hygiene department? Email email@example.com.
Leadership and Wellbeing
Organizations and small businesses are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of employees in gaining competitive advantage. The ‘happy-productive worker’ paradigm predicts that employees high in wellbeing also perform better. Research strongly supports this correlation, and further suggests that leadership is key for ensuring and promoting employees’ wellbeing. This article enumerates some things you can do as a leader to get the most out of your staff. The kind of leadership that most effectively achieves this goal is referred to as Transformational.
So what does a modern transformational leader look like, and how can you apply this to your dental practice? Transformational leaders:
Inspire their employees. They do this by formulating a clear vision for their group and together with their group they create goals for how the vision can be achieved. Do you have a vision? Is it clearly stated? Do you share this with your staff? Do you invite and incorporate their feedback? Is there a clearly defined set of sub-goals leading to the vision?
Stimulate, or motivate, their employees. Do you know what motivates each of your staff? Have you asked them? Or do you apply a blanket approach of annual performance reviews? Tailoring your motivational practice to each individual will pay off tenfold. It will also greatly increase their engagement in your practice.
Encourage employees to think outside the box. When leaders engender a sense of empowerment, or a feeling of connection among the employees to the company’s product or service, the employees will bring their creative energy into their work. This might seem frightening to you at first, but companies that have developed a culture around leveraging people’s creativity, such as Google, have seen unsurpassed success. How do you challenge existing mindsets, and support employees in independent decision-making?
Function as role models. How aware are you that your behavior is a model to the rest of your staff of how to behave? Do you consciously move through your day, showing your staff how to treat patients and each other? Do you exemplify a healthy work-life balance? Do you hold yourself to a high standard and celebrate successes along the way?
Show individualized consideration, or mentorship. Transformational leaders recognize that employees might be at different developmental levels. Increased productivity requires the leader to take these differences into account and tailor each interaction and conversation accordingly. This practice might seem excessive, and perhaps even coddling, but when each of your employees feels validated, whatever their capability at that time, they are already one step closer to improving their performance. Just think about whether you like to be spoken down to, or even up to. How comfortable do those approaches make you feel?
So, how do transformational leaders promote employee wellbeing?
1. First, by showing care and consideration for their employees, these employees come to trust that their leader has their best interest at heart.
2. Second, transformational leaders create a positive working environment with a clear vision and concrete steps to get there. Your staff will come to understand what their specific role is within the practice and what is expected of them. They will also understand how to help the team move forward. Transformational leaders provide employees with autonomy and opportunities for development in the job. You can inspire your people to critically review existing working procedures and seek out new challenges at work. You can also encourage your staff to perform at, and above, the call of duty, and celebrate the achievement of new developmental milestones.
3. Third, transformational leaders increase employees’ belief in themselves and that they can cope with the challenges with which they are faced at work. When leaders hold and express high expectations that their employees can successfully tackle the challenges they meet at work, and leaders function as role models demonstrating how new and unforeseen events can be successfully managed, employees’ self-efficacy increases and they come to believe in a successful outcome when they take on new challenges.
If this style of leadership seems appealing to you, you might want to seek out training in transformational leadership behaviors. There is evidence that transformational leadership behaviors can be learned during training and that the employees of leaders who have been trained in transformational leadership behaviors become more satisfied with their leaders, exert greater effort at work, and experience higher levels of commitment to the organization.
Dr. Gale provides coaching and training to enhance leadership skills, interpersonal communications and team building. If you would like to learn more, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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