To have a truly successful exam, effectively starting the patient with the recommended treatment, it is imperative you are able to understand what is important to that patient. During the New Patient Exam, the doctor needs to build value behind a specific treatment, recommending the best treatment for the patient.
If my husband were to come into your practice for an exam, he would need information delivered much differently than if I were the one you were presenting to. You need to have the ability to identify differences and adapt your case presentation accordingly. An excellent question to ask a patient during their exam is, “If there was one thing about your smile you could change, what would it be?” Their answer could be the color or look of their teeth, they may have pain, they may be concerned about their teeth wearing prematurely or even the loss of their teeth. When you understand what the value point to the patient is and provide the solution, you will have a much greater success rate.
This is exactly why it’s so important for the doctor to build value behind the recommended treatment, educating the patient/parent about the risks if treatment is not pursued, reasons why the treatment was recommended, and what will happen if the dental problem is not addressed. The doctor should support his treatment recommendation by stating what is next and that he/she recommends starting this treatment now. (“Julie will go ahead and work with you on getting the next appointment scheduled. Do you have any additional clinical questions for me at this time?”) It’s then the Treatment Coordinator’s role and responsibility to effectively influence the patient toward that recommended treatment. I am a firm believer in the Treatment Coordinator being trained in psychological sales techniques and having an exceptional ability to read others’ different personality types, adapting the exam experience to each individual person coming through the exam room door. This ability allows the Treatment Coordinator to successfully influence her patients. The goal should be a same day start and getting the patient invested in your office at the New Patient Exam.