Three Rules for Quarterbacking Great Dentistry
During my late wife’s battle with cancer I saw up close why the Mayo Clinic is considered a world-renowned care institution. Everything there is organized around an interdisciplinary, interdependent care model.
The GPs, specialists, labs and supporting teams are all thoroughly briefed by each other on every phase of a case. They work together seamlessly to provide the best care experience for the patient.
It’s the perfect care model for a restorative dentist to emulate and it comes down to three basic precepts:
1. Choose to partner with the best. This includes each specialist you work with, your lab, and the people you have on your internal team. So get to know the best and get in close with them in order to develop interdisciplinary strategies. Join study clubs with prominent specialists. Have case briefing meetings with your staff. The best care comes from having the best team.
2. Master the art of referring patients. Don’t just hand them a business card and send them on their way. This is an opportunity to build value for the interdisciplinary experience and it only takes a few well-chosen words: “I want you to see Dr. _____. He/she is the very best I know. In fact, our office will phone right now and make the appointment for you.” Explain enough to the patient so that they understand why this is necessary, but give the specialist plenty of room to make their own diagnosis and describe the treatment plan. Let the specialist be the specialist.
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate. It’s important to communicate to the patient everything that is important to know about the specialist. Communicate to the specialist everything that is important to know about the patient; not simply their clinical condition, but any other relevant profile information that will give the them the best chance of success in treating the patient. And make sure that the specialist communicates fully with you, so you are well informed and have the best chance of success with that patient going forward.
Ask any patient who has had this kind of “surrounded by synchronized care” experience and they will tell you there is nothing more reassuring than feeling that you are in the hands of a well-orchestrated group who know you, each other and exactly what it takes to deliver the best care possible.