It's a difference worth noting. Patients aren't really in a position to judge the quality of the clinical care you provide. Don't get me wrong – they know when they're happy with the results they see in the mirror, but when do you ever hear a patient bragging to friends about their great margins? What they are really judging you on is the level of caring they feel they are getting. And that's where dental practices have a distinct advantage over so many other businesses.

Lots of businesses tell us that they care about us – some even spend millions on advertising to say that they do – but in a lot if cases, it's lip service and we know it. Any organization where decisions are made by systems or where customers deal with a different person every time, just isn't set up to care. The best they can offer is “your-call-is-important-to-us” fake caring. In dentistry, by contrast, you have the good fortune to be able to truly personalize each patient's experience.

Only people can care about people, and dentistry is an intensely personal, people-oriented profession. For the most part, patients see the same people every time they visit your practice. They come to trust you. You have the ability to create real relationships because you have the ability to be totally genuine.

Delivering high-quality dental care is what makes you a great clinician. But it's delivering a high level of caring, too, that makes you a great dentist.

What do you do in your practice to make patients know they are getting genuinely personal caring? This is a great discussion to have with your team, and I invite your comments here.


Commenter's Profile Image Mike Weisbrod
March 2nd, 2012
Listen, verify, question, verify, communicate. Repeat. I have a written list of questions based on the EFSB format that I have memorized to ask each patient. I think my most important question is "What can I do to improve on the care that you have received in the past?" It helps the patient examine the care they have had in the past, look at what they want for the future, and put into words how I can help them get to that goal.
Commenter's Profile Image Michael Sullivan
March 2nd, 2012
I am definitely not the voice of wisdom in any conversation, however, I will say that when A patient presents themselves to your office, it is important to understand...most importantly...why they presented themselves to your office! Please don't worry about a " step by step", method of listening,documenting and addressing response! Patients and more importantly, People are smatter than that!! They see right through superficiality and "salesmanship"! My humble suggestion is to begin by forgetting that you want to succeed in a sale or a closing for a treatment plan! Remember why that individual presented to your office and address what their concerns are first. Give them options that can be provided for the treatment of their concerns, beginning with the least expensive, not necessarily the best, but but then stop and tell them what may be a better option for them if cost was not a factor!!! When you gain their trust in a deserved manner, the patients will ask you for the Better treatment Plans!!!
Commenter's Profile Image Arezoo Ashtari Bahar
March 3rd, 2012
We like many other practices care about our patients in many ways and strive to care for them by taking care of small things and big things,some tangible and some intangible. If I were to break it down in four different categories ,we take care of their : A) Physical needs by, doing many small things like, getting them their favorite coffee drinks, lunch during long appointments, chap stick ,neck pillows, comfortable blankets, massage lotion for facial muscles,motorin before start of long appointments, follow up calls to check on them, ... etc...... we pamper them and make them feel special. B) Emotional needs by, listening to them, remembering details about their lives , families and work, taking time to listen to their wants and needs and not to judge if they don't accept tx, encouraging them in the progress they are making to improving their oral health, and being there for them when they are ready to do tx. Sharing a laugh, a joke or story about our own lives. Being human with them. Giving them a hug!,roses for valentines day, hand lotion/candles for mothers day/ cup cakes for fathers day, thank you cards,sorry cards if we messed up on some task , .. etc..,,we let them know we think about them and we have time for them. C) Dental needs by, doing the very best dentistry that we know how to do, having a great office space. equipment and caring staff, treating them like we want to be treated, going to courses and learning to become better clinicians.They may not know how the margins fit, but we do ! So if we show that we care ,they know that we care! using the best material and laboratory support, not cutting corners and be willing to admit we made a mistake and when the margin doesn't fit , doing it over!...we let them know we care by showing we are dedicated to providing great care. D) Financial needs by, not thinking of them in terms of dollar value but truly valuing them as a person and providing care because we genuinely believe in that treatment. Making sure that our treatment will last a long time and fulfill its value. Providing what we promised we would and exceeding their expectations. All of this doesn't mean we don't have our struggles too, we all do, but we will work through problems, we strive to keep working on getting better . When it does all happen we are in that zone when we loose track of time! Sorry for the long reply!
Commenter's Profile Image Mike Weisbrod
March 6th, 2012
I like a protocol to follow that allows me to be consistent, thorough, organized, and logical. Which is why I love Spear Education so much, because it allows me to be all those things. I don't try to sell anything. I AM trying to create a vision of possibilities for the patient, then educate the patient on what those possibilities mean to create the value in the care that can be provided. From there, it is up to the patient to decide, based on their own value system, what they would like to do. After our discussion, THEN I come up with the treatment plan based on patient wants/needs/problems utilizing the EFSB form to make it organized and logical, and phase treatment as needed. I have found that patients have enjoyed the consistency and thoroughness of the process- because it not only addresses the chief complaints, but also brings to light other areas they might not have been aware of in the past, and the patient feels comforted that they have been heard and that I know what I am doing. And in the end I try to treatment plan myself out of the equation for as long as possible, because the less work I have to do, the less I stress I have, and the patient is still receiving the best care possible. And that is why I sleep well at night. Back to the main question about genuine personal care: if patients feel they have been heard, are receiving the best care, and the patient knows that I am always going to be there for them- I will have gotten a good start on building the relationship to establish genuine personal care.