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Delivering The Promise


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Lesson #2: CORE Lesson #2 – Passing the Baton

About This Lesson

Instructions coming soon..


Action Items

  1. Revisit every part of the delivery of care for your new patient. List items that you would like to improve and action steps to improve those areas.
  2. Create a strong Referral system and make it a team habit to ask for referrals everyday!

Full Video Transcript / MP3

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Hello. What's up, everybody? This is Dr. Steven Schluentz and I want to welcome you back to another video on module number eight which is all about delivering the promise, and this is a concept I'm going to talk about today that is so often missed in the dental landscape and regardless if you have a completely fee for service practice, if you have a PPO based practice, if you're migrating to a more fee for service oriented practice, you need to do this or you will be struggling.

This is tenet number two of delivering the promise. This is passing the baton. So, we talked about the second sale on the last video. Now, we're going to talk about is this first step in the second sale, which is passing the baton. When you start, what you're going to be thinking about is as the dentist, maybe you've done a complete workup for a patient and they're ready to go with full therapy, and you skip this step entirely. That can happen but the majority of patients don't come in expecting to get complete comprehensive care that second visit or as soon as you get done with the review and then you get commitment and you're immediately moving into therapy.

Usually what happens is there's a warmup period and so you started with the foundation, which was perio. So you said, "Listen, before we can do anything definitive, we need to start working you up towards this pyramid." This is so vital because the first step then is getting them to the hygienist. Right? I call it passing the baton because it's literally like a relay race where you're going from one runner to the next. You are now passing the baton. You are taking all of the information from these first seven steps and then getting them to the hygienist. The hygienist can run with this patient.

Now, I've done it a few different ways. I've actually had a hygienist in the past do my new patient interviews and guided tours and discoveries with me so that she knows exactly what was talked about in that treatment room. She knows exactly what was talked about in the review of findings so that the goals can be consistent from her now to the patient. But the reality is, most offices aren't going to be set up that way. So what you have to do then is relay the information from all of these steps you've gathered and get them to the hygienist. And I'm telling you, the number one thing that I see is this step is missed and they get to the hygiene and everything falls apart. It becomes just a routine, normal, run-of-the mill typical dental experience. The hygienist doesn't ask about goals, the hygienist doesn't know what the patient wants. There's no collaboration. This whole process is built on co-discovery and co-goal creating. And if you aren't doing that, the patient feels little bit I think miffed to be honest, because they're like, "Wow, that sounded so great when the doctor was explaining this and we were on the same path and now I got here and it feels like just like every other office. I feel kind of let down." Right?

So the hygienist, you need to try to avoid that. The hygienist needs to understand the wants and needs of the patient and they need to carry on the momentum of the new patient experience. Listen, my goal is when they get done with this new patient experience, if they're now starting to see the hygienist, they're already referring patients. They want to refer patients to us because they know that what we are offering is so unique and different and whether you have to modify this a little bit if you're in PPO to go a little bit faster, you can still carry these tenants. You just have to do it a little bit quicker, and it's still vitally important that your hygienist understands.

And so when you are going through this, one of the first questions that's asked is, "How do you do that?" Well, there's a couple of ways you could do it. One is you could have the hygienist actually watch the review of findings video if it's 20 or 30 minutes. That is a more fee for service oriented approach. You need to have time to do that and very few offices do that. I actually don't recommend you do that. It's just too time consuming, but it's an option.

The second is either through a master plan or phase plan document. We talked before about a one page plan that you have created. You could create that literally starts like, "This is step one. This is step two. This is step three." So, step one was perio and you said that you wanted to achieve this from a gum and bone standpoint. You want to get healthy on this phase of the pyramid and you are in yellow and you want to go to green, and then our protocol is to do X, Y and Z to get there. And then we can assess and see are you truly in the green at that point. And then you can pass that to the hygienist and you can say, "Hey, Kim, Sally wants to go from yellow to green from a risk category, from the gum bone standpoint. So we can move forward towards comprehensive care and complete care and rehabilitation, and this is what I recommend we do. I want to just be able to relay that information to you," and then they can carry on that conversation. And now your hygienist, Kim, can go to Sally and really start to custom and tailor her plan, but they know that the continuity is there. Okay? So you need to make sure that you are doing some iteration of this.

Make sure patient goals are at the bare minimum entered into your clinical software. Something. Because I know one time, when I was learning all this, I had a coach come out and we talked about this at length and we realized that the goals for the patients weren't written down, and as a result, nobody was moving forward with anything. You to understand that in today's day and age, if we don't think about this for, you know, 10, 15 seconds, we've already forgot about it. Something else is grabbing our attention. So, you think, "They're probably sick of hearing us talk about the goals and plaque and bleeding and pocket depths," and all of these things that we talk about in a wellness based practice. But they tend to forget this over and over and over, so going over it every time is very important.

So, going over their goals every time is very important. "Hey Kim, this is what you said you wanted. This is where we're currently at. Are we still in agreement that this is the goal that you had set and how can we help you get there?" Right? The language is different in a practice like this. The language has to be different and that passing of the baton from you to the hygienist or whoever the next point of contact is, is so vital to make sure that the patient knows that the goals that you just set are important to everybody on the team, not just you, the doctor and the patient.

So, your action steps is to really just examine how you're transferring wants and needs of your patients from your exam to the hygiene department. If it's a clinical software that you're using, if it's a written sheet, if it's a master plan, if you really got into the master plan concept, whatever you're doing, I want you to examine. And actually, probably this is a great video to sit and watch with your team as well to say, "How are we doing this? How do you know what the patient wants? Are you asking them? Is the hygienist re-asking them at every appointment, 'Hey, what are your goals? What do you want? How can we help you?'" This transfer has to be absolutely on point. And if it's not, you lose a ton of patient trust and revenue, because if you're not reiterating these goals and you're not on the same page, the revenue in the practice will go down. I can guarantee it. So, one of the easiest ways to boost your revenue is to do this very, very, very, very simple step. Hopefully you got value out of this video and I'll see you at the next one.