“You need this treatment.” Being patient with patient treatment acceptance
Dentists present diagnosed treatment every day in the dental practice yet never describe themselves as salesmen. Can you sell something you don’t believe in? Yes if you are a great actor but that is usually not a second career of a dentist. If you don’t care they won’t either. You may be diagnosing and calling out surfaces and tooth numbers like a robot but this doesn’t mean that you truly care whether the patient has the treatment or not. Sure they need it but in order for them to care and want it the provider has to care first. People buy for their own reasons yet you can certainly be influential in the decisions that they make by taking the extra time to listen and get to know them better. Your patients will get to know that your intentions are intended for their best interest not because it is necessary to tell them.
“I just don’t spend a lot of time with patients that I know are not interested in improving their dental condition. If I know they can’t afford the care I quickly give them the options and then transition them to the front desk. I don’t want to waste my time.” Dr. X
Dentists spend a lot of time in the education process with technical and scientific jargon to educate and hopefully motivate the patient to purchase dental care. Often after probing the dentist’s motivation for this exhaustive exchange of information I am given the same answer, “Because they need the treatment and I am supposed to tell them what they need.”
As a healthcare provider you are performing your function of diagnosis and education. To the patient it is believing in the need to the point it becomes something they want to have. Taking need and creating a want takes some time and thought about who you are as a provider first and then about who and what motivates your patients to accept better health. Keeping up the momentum to present all day with the hope that the patient will buy can have a negative effect on the morale of the dentist too. Sometimes by the end of the day the enthusiasm wanes as the doctor faces again another patient whose needs exceed their wants.
What are the benefits of the proposed care to the patient in front of you? Talk to them like it is custom care for their health as a special individual. Don’t be rushed to get out of the room to the next patient. Don’t think your work is done now that you have presented the need. Slow down and listen and learn what this patient really wants.