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Mark Dilatush
National Account Manager, SoftDent LLC

Presenting Your Case: The "Evolution" of Case Presentation
Improving overall practice performance with digital case presentation

 

 

With over 15 years of experience in the dental technology and software business, Mark Dilatush has assisted thousands of dentists in the automation of their practices and plans their technology investments for maximum return. Mark has been a featured speaker at many national dental association tradeshows and many of the state and local association trade shows. He is the national account manager for SoftDent LLC.
SoftDent LLC is the creator of SoftDent TM, SoftChart TM and PowerCase TM software. For more information about these software products, log onto www.SoftDent.com or call 800-433-2409.
Mark Dilatush can be reached at mdilatush@SoftDent.com

Looking at the overall performance of dental practices through the patients’ eyes is a wonderful way to truly evaluate their experiences. I encourage dentists to take a non-scientific, emotional look at these encounters. Because many dentists have a hard time removing their own emotions and knowledge from this exercise, I suggest getting someone who is objective and not related to the practice to help you. By making an appointment and attending at the scheduled time, this person will provide you with a detailed and honest report of his or her experience.

Case presentation is an important aspect of the overall patient experience. It used to be common for dentists to simply tuck an x-ray onto a light box, point to a “shady” spot and assume they’ve communicated the treatment needed. And for more complicated cases, many dentists used a pencil and paper to draw diagrams. In the past 15 years or so, the industry’s technology has grown, allowing dentists the use of analog, intraoral cameras to help patients visualize the need for treatment. In other words, dentistry has learned to communicate with the emotional face of its patients. Over the past five years, digital x-rays have become more common and contribute to the logical and scientific evidence of truth in the mind of the patient. After all, it is an x-ray and the patient’s logical side believes the x-ray.

So what is the next step? How do dental teams improve communicating with patients on both emotional and logical levels? What helpful tools are available?

First, we should create a list of known shortcomings. These shortcomings are what stand between where some offices are now, and where they would like to be - able to provide the ultimate case presentation experience:
1. Patients still do not understand (or believe) that they need prescribed treatment.
2. Dental teams do not always have a clear-cut visual aide and/or the verbal skills to present treatment.
3. Dental teams have intraoral cameras and digital x-ray systems to provide visual aids, but the photos are saved in various locations on the network and are rarely brought together and organized.
4. The cases that dental teams present are not stored (for legal reasons).
5. Presented cases are not portable or transferable to anyone else (spouse, mother/father, referring doctor) who might have equal or greater influence over the patient’s final decision.
6. Dental offices have staff turnovers. If the person skilled at presenting treatments leaves the office, it takes significant time and resources to build the skill set among the remaining staff members.
7. Dental practice owners believe associate dentists need assistance honing their case presentation skills.

Your dental practice may or may not suffer from any or all of these problems. My guess is that if an office takes a truly objective, non-scientific look at their patients’ experiences, the office will come up with at least some of the shortcomings listed above.

Our team has been exposed to the fine work of the most progressive and forward thinking dentists in the country. These dentists aren’t just on the cutting edge - they define the cutting edge. You can find these dentists working after hours fine-tuning every aspect of their digital case presentation, since they have experienced first-hand the positive effect technology has on their own patients. They take images and X-rays, build PowerPoint templates and have basically become desktop publishers to create what they know will have a profound impact on the patients’ experience of their practice.

Any practice can create better patient experiences in the office, no matter what practice management system you utilize. Digital case presentation is just one aspect of improving your overall practice performance, but I think you’ll agree - it’s a great place to start!

 

 




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