04 Mar Mutual Benefits: Approaching Patient Education
As a dentist or dental specialist, the crux of your job is to provide your patients with the highest possible quality of treatment. As you well know, this is a goal often hindered by no fault of your own or the quality of work, but rather a failure on the part of the patient to pursue recommended treatments or procedures. As a credible clinician, you know that you would only make the recommendation if it were of the utmost importance to their health and wellbeing, but there is often a disconnect between what you know and what they think. This presents a financial hurdle for your office and, more importantly, a significant future health risk for the patient. The problem is exacerbated further by a lack of tools or resources that would amend this communication breakdown and yield the best possible outcome for both parties.
Of course, the solution to this dilemma lies with patient education, but it can be disheartening, to say the least, when you have tried everything within your power to inform a patient of a treatment plan, they nonetheless refuse, and your case acceptance rate continues to decrease.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tools and approaches available to you to overcome this barrier and guide patients to make the right decisions for their health while helping your practice flourish.
Construct a Foundation of Knowledge
Working in the industry, it’s easy to take for granted the complexity of the oral health lexicon. What may sound to you like a straightforward summary of your findings and proposed treatment plan, in the most direct and articulate terms possible, may very well sound to them like an incomprehensible collage of unfamiliar words. While the most obvious solution is to cater your explanation to their level of oral health literacy, which can certainly help, there is another answer: providing a “base coat” of education during their appointment as you work and there are no distractions to hinder their absorption. By explaining or defining the key terminology you plan to use during your conversation at the end of the appointment, they’ll go in with a deeper level of comprehension and a better ability to understand just exactly what it is you’re trying to tell them.
Utilize Quality Imaging Technologies
People absorb information in different ways, so supplementing the conversation with visual aids can go a long way in driving home your point if the patient is not quite following what you’re telling them verbally. What’s more, detailed imaging gives you credibility and builds trust with them, many of whom can be wary or suspicious of the validity of proposed extra work. CBCT imaging has been helping clinicians reach a new level of patient education. With smaller focal points and higher-quality rendering, they’re able to show their findings much more clearly than with traditional imaging methods. Additionally, the composition of CBCT imaging, composed of a “stack” of image slices, allows a complete three-dimensional presentation of their findings, meaning that they can show patients different angles and zoom levels. This provides a much more understandable depiction of their mouth and the issues therein than a static image, which leads to a whole new dimension of understanding.
If you’d like to learn more about how CBCT could help boost your practice’s case acceptance rates while allowing you to better treat your patients, call PreXion today at 855-PREXION or find a representative in your area.