UNTIL the Dental Patient Knows How Much You Care!
Recently one of our coaches was in an office listening to the doctor present a case to a very backed-up individual. Shockingly, the patient did not accept treatment.
Here is the story.
A snowbird dental patient visiting the warm weathered community called this office for an appointment with this, “I am calling to make an appointment. My periodontist said I need three fillings.” The appointment was made. This patient entered the office disturbed, taking her sharp comments to the front desk person. This person made an immediate negative opinion and translated this to the back.
The clinical person began the radiograph process. After taking image #15, the patient said, “that was 15 x-rays, how many more are you going to take?” The dental assistant replied, just three more. Both the front office person and the dental assistant relayed a negative opinion to the doctor just before his diagnosis.
This negativism imbeds in the doctor immediately as his blood pressure raised. He proceeded to provide his diagnosis through a twenty-minute long, very dental, clinical word-driven diagnosis while the patient was cross-armed and not listening.
This diagnosis disallowed the patient’s involvement as only the doctor spoke. If you are the doctor, what are you thinking right now?
- Maybe, I would have done the same.
- I probably would have kicked the chair, the desk, yelled out curse words, then saw the patient?
- I would have tabled my diagnosis, asking the dental patient directional questions.
Were you between 1 and 2? Most are. As humans, we tend to react with a READY FIRE AIM attitude. When, if we master the art and skill of understanding people, the people we treat, and the why of their behavior, we will succeed in keeping a friendly two-way didactic and productive conversation with the patient. And, we may have the ability to turn around a very unhappy patient to an accepted treatment plan.
Here is what the AMP coach provided.
- Ask questions before any treatment discussion.
- The more topical the question, the more topical the answer, dig.
- Be curious. This is the easiest, yet one of the hardest skills to master.
Dentists are highly trained scientists, mostly wanting to share what they know so the patient will understand. NOT. Patients want to know first how much you care NOT how much you know. Once they have a sense of your caring attitude, doors open wide to treatment acceptance. Ask questions!
This is the first task. Use your skill to calm the patient to begin to understand. Steven Covey said it beautifully, seek first to understand, then be understood. The second task is to share this skill and technique with your team.
Need help with this? We master this teaching. Contact us!