Friday, April 11, 2014

A Unique Way to Increase Case Acceptance

Sorry all. I've been a little busy the last few months, but I felt that I just had to post another entry related to case acceptance, and of course, clinical photography.

Back in the day, before digital technology, we had to present images to patients using actual paper photos, slide projectors or for those who were really sophisticated, a Caramate. We had to send the film out to be developed, turned into photos from slides and had no ability to mock up anything, short of acetate or masking tape and a black sharpie. Yet somehow, we got patients to say "yes" to the treatment plans we presented.  The success that many of us had without technology illustrates that one doesn't need fancy technology to "sell" treatment.
This is a Caramate-basically a TV with a built in slide projector that presented the image on the screen below. Yet, we got case acceptance.
By the way, I have absolutely no problem discussing the dirty word "sell" related to care. If you perform great dentistry and want people to pay you to do it,  congratulations, you're in the selling business. Unfortunately, selling has been given a bad name.  Personally, I have no problem with it as long as I'm honest, non-paternalistic and give patients all options. That said, there's a way to get people to say "yes" as opposed to the "I'll call you tomorrow" response heard too often.  It's called "Digital Co-Diagnosis".

About 15 years ago, I attended my first digital case presentation course. It was interesting to learn the technical side of things, but I was blown away with how reliant the teacher was on technology. It was all bells and whistles,  techniques on getting the "show" to look real nice and shine like a diamond. That's OK, but at some point you need to have some real substance, lest you treat the patient to a multimedia show with no "close" for case acceptance.  The role of images was so unimportant in the process that in the middle of the course I was asked (as a paid attendee) to teach clinical photography to the rest of my course mates. The teacher, who holds prominent positions in the world of digital technology was unable to help them. It was at that moment that I realized that digital technology alone cannot replace the value of a great picture.

So, I went home to Seattle and started tinkering with the process of digital case presentation. After months of experimentation, I stumbled across a process that made all the difference. I came up with a process to let patients diagnose the case themselves, without bells and whistles, without having to do much but present my best care.

The first week I used this process, I had two large cases say "yes" for $50,000's worth of dentistry. Aside from telling you about the technique, the only place I can help you is with the core component of the process; exceptional images. You see, today I still see the major problem of dentists relying on the "show" to sell the case rather than letting the patient "own" their problem. Once they own it, you'll never need to hear them ask you "so why are we doing this treatment?" when you're about to anesthetize them for their scheduled appointment.  Patients will fight a whole lot less about a bill when they own their problem. Wouldn't it be great to have a tagline (private, of course):"At Main St. dental, it's YOUR problem, but we'll help you solve it." It really is that great when patients own it. So, how do we get them to own it? Great images.

Instead of showing a filling and telling the patient how you can fix it (you owning the problem), how about walking the patient through the process of self discovery instead? Show them the image and then ask "So what do you notice about the teeth?". If they don't see it, ask them about the molar. They may say something like "It looks a little chipped" or "the edge looks rough". That's a great opening, so instead of saying "yes it is, we should crown it", perhaps you ask another question like "Why do you think that's the case?". You get the idea, right? Walk the patient down the path towards self discovery like a prosecutor making a case to the jury. When the patient says "Is that decay?" or "That filling looks really old" they own the problem. They can understand it and realize that it's their problem. Again, you need exceptional, not just good images to make it happen.

If you have amazing up close images (for heaven's sake please don't tell me you're using a wand camera) your patients will be able to see this stuff from a mile away. Your case acceptance should go through the ceiling. Instantly. When I used to teach this at my courses,  I'd get letters from dentist telling me that they were doing $100,000 more a year since implementing this idea. It's not new or reinvented. It simply uses older, proven case presentation techniques with exceptional clinical photography at the center.

If you want your images to stand out in your community and for your case acceptance to jump, consider purchasing our DVD's, mirrors and retractors which are unlike anything else in dentistry. The quality of the images will be just what you need to help see a surge in your case acceptance. They're available HERE.

I'd love to help in any way possible. Aside from your wand camera (useful for many other applications other than digital case presentation, which I will discuss another time) just pick up whatever you have, learn my techniques for using mirrors and retractors and go get 'em.

I'm always here if you need anything.

Best Wishes,