Treatment presentation is difficult at the best of times. Talking to a patient about money for a service no one wants in an environment most people are trying to leave as quickly as possible requires a set of unique skills even Liam Neeson in the movie "Taken" does not possess.
But sometimes, your treatment coordinator may compound this difficult conversation by inadvertently making your patient more uncomfortable. Here are five areas where it might be possible for your treatment coordinator to become more efficient and skilled at partnering with your patients on their care.
1. Presenting in public
People are highly sensitive about their healthcare results, talking dentistry, and discussing money, and they become embarrassed if bad news is delivered. Presenting treatment where anyone is within hearing distance is the quickest way to get a patient to put up an objection.
Instead of presenting treatment options in the office or an open space, do so in an operatory every time.
2. Asking closed-ended questions
When you want patients to say "yes," don't give them the option to say "no." Seems obvious but closed-ended questions, such as, "Do you want to go ahead and get that scheduled?" gives the patient an easy out.
Instead, have your coordinator make declarative statements, such as, "What day works best for you to get that scheduled?"
3. Permitting objections
Your treatment coordinator is going to get objections from patients. Because really, who wants to spend time and money on dentistry? Allowing patients to put up objections without addressing them is simply giving patients permission to avoid their oral health.
Instead, make sure your treatment coordinator is well-versed in treatment options. Taking some time discussing these options with your coordinator beforehand is time well-spent.
4. Avoiding collections
If collecting payment makes your treatment coordinator uncomfortable, he or she can't do the job. Period.
Make sure your coordinator is comfortable with this crucial aspect of the job.
5. Not documenting follow-up
There are reasonable situations in which a patient is unable to move forward with treatment right away. Having a documented, follow-up system for your treatment coordinator is essential to ensuring patients get their care and the practice retains production.
Review the follow-up system regularly, and track your follow-up data to see what changes need to be made.
One statement your coordinator should say
So we've discussed what your treatment coordinator should not do and say, but what should your team member say when patients do not understand the value of their proposed treatment and are reluctant to move forward:
"The cheapest your dentistry is going to be is today."
And the best part is that this statement is true.
The moment patients postpone treatment their dentistry gets more expensive -- whether it's the caries that spreads to another tooth surface, or perhaps the microfracture ending just above the gumline quickly becomes a complete split of the tooth at the root.
No matter what the cost of the initial treatment plan is, remind your patients that this treatment will be far less expensive and require far less time than anything they might experience later.
Pointing this out to patients just might be the turning point necessary to accept the treatment they need.
Jen Butler, MEd, is the CEO and founder of JB Partners and has been working in the area of stress management and resiliency training for more than 25 years. Learn about her services at www.jenbutlerpartners.com, or contact her at jen@JenButlerPartners.com.
The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.