3.28.14 Issue #629 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
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Technology and What It Says To Your Patient
By Nancy Caudill, Senior Consultant

What do you think your patients appreciate about your practice? This would be my list:

- Clean and uncluttered environment
- Friendly face when they walk in
- Seen by the doctor or hygienist within 10 minutes - and sooner is even better
- Option to watch TV and listen with headphones during long procedures
- Easy to understand treatment recommendations and consequences
- Clear financial arrangements with payment options
- Advanced technology for treatment

And last but certainly not least - technology! Technology can be applied to each of the above items.

Clean and Uncluttered Environment
Let’s start with the area that you may have set aside for children. No need to have toys that must be sanitized between each child (or should be) - there are computerized games that can be attached to the play area wall with game controls that are easy to wipe down and are just as entertaining as toys from years past. Take a look at your selection of toys and consider replacing them with computer technology and easier ways to keep clean. Needless to say, fewer toys also mean less clutter.

Just as our homes tend to accumulate “stuff” over the years, your office does the same. Walk through your office with an open mind and determine what is on walls, shelves and countertops that is not necessary for promoting dental health. If it is something that’s promoting your practice or dental health, is it current and displayed in a manner that is pleasing to the eye? Watch for brochures that are upside down, torn or simply worn out that are still in your plastic displays, they should be removed. Magazines that are over 2 months old should be discarded or donated. Magazines with torn or missing covers should be removed. You should stroll through your reception area a couple times a week just to see what the patient is seeing and make sure you are happy with what you see.

I personally have an issue with waste that is not removed from the treatment rooms, reception areas and restrooms nightly. If I am the first patient in the morning and the trashcan where I place my disposable coffee cup is full from yesterday, I have to wonder what else in the office is not as clean as it should be. The same goes for the trashcan in the restroom that still has trash from the day before. Trash should be removed from the premises every day after work.

A Friendly Face
A personal greeting is always better than a sign-in sheet. If I have been coming to your practice for five years and your staff at the front desk still does not recognize me, they can at least pretend that they do. Smile when patients walk in the door and greet them by name if you can. Technology makes it possible to have a photo in the digital patient file so you can quickly pull someone up and figure it out! 

Seen in a Timely Manner
Technology allows the business team to notify the clinical team when a patient arrives, using indicators in the digital appointment book. Wireless walkie-talkies allow the clinical team to communicate with the business team if they are running a few minutes behind schedule so the patient can be offered coffee, water, etc. as well as an apology for the delay. I find that patients are tolerant of a few minutes delay as long as they are informed of the wait.

TVs and Other “Audio Anesthesia”
Again, technology now places TVs on the walls and ceilings for your patients to enjoy during longer procedures. Yes, there are those who simply enjoy the peace and quiet or the whir of the drill. Encourage your patients to bring their own music. Be careful and don’t allow music, movies and TV to interfere with educating your patient.

Easy to Understand Treatment Options
There are many video options for educating patients that can be viewed on your monitor or iPad. Seeing is believing! And let’s not forget the intraoral camera and digital photos of the patient’s clinical needs.

Clear Financial Options
Financial institutions such as CareCredit allow patients to go online in your office to apply for assistance. Your patient can simply use the computer at the check-out area or use an iPad in the operatory to get instant approval. There is also an option for the Schedule Coordinator to “pre-approve” the patient.

Want your patients to talk about you to their friends and family in a positive manner? Use technology! People are impressed when you are cutting edge, and it’s important for you to “sell” your new technology to your patients in terms of how it benefits them. Chairside digital impressions eliminate the need for those “gaggy” impression trays with goop. The ability to fabricate crowns during one visit saves the patient time. 3-D cone beam technology improves your ability to make a more accurate diagnosis. Being able to “see” cavities and share the image with the patient improves case acceptance and trust.

Embrace and incorporate technology into your practice and be proud that you have done so! Teach your patients about your technology and express why you have added it to your tool box... “In order to exceed your dental expectations, Mrs. Jones.”

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Consulting Coaching Programs can help you implement proven strategies, email info@mckenziemgmt.com

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