At The MKS Forum in Dallas a couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking to a room full of team members – mostly office managers, TCs and leads. We had a grand time and one of the things that developed during our conversation was a list of topics the team members wanted me to speak to doctors about. I thought it was a fantastic idea so here is the list, without further ado…

  • Doctors, you should accept Medicaid for lots of reasons. Access to care, helping people in need, your unused capacity and the fact that you only have to give a reduced fee to patients who score high enough to get a scholarship from the state (and you are always complaining that no one scores enough!). Medicaid patients who don’t score are just like any other patient and who couldn’t use more new patients? I know you were told that “those people” don’t show up, don’t brush, don’t comply, can’t afford braces and on and on… but shame on the faculty members who told you that and shame on you for believing that! Prejudging people is not beneficial to society and it’s bad for business. Being prejudiced is bad. Stop it. Take each person for who she or he is and help each one get a great smile, doctor!
  • Doctors, you should extend financing and lower down payments to make your awesome treatment more affordable to more people and make sure your practice is viable and we all have jobs for years to come! You can do it!
  • Doctors, you should go IN PERSON to visit general dentists and show them you care enough about them and their patients to make the effort to show up. Your team is happy to do it as well but the dentists and their teams need to see YOU. We need all the referrals we can get! The more people who get treatment from our awesome office the better the world will be!
  • Doctors, you need to know when to say when. If a patient has not worn elastics for 38 months it is unlikely that they will do so in 46 months! You need to have the tough conversations with mom, early and often, to get her on your side so that when the time comes and the braces need to come off for lack of brushing, for breakage, for lack of compliance, etc. then you don’t piss momma off!
  • Doctors, please don’t talk to patients or parents about price, payments or discounts – especially after the TC and parent has agreed to terms!! Undercutting what your team members do is a big NO-NO if you don’t want to have to do everything yourself! You are a sucker and you always cave in. Let us handle it and you’ll be happier and make more money!
  • While we are on the subject… Doctors, please, please, please don’t give patients a primo appointment time after your team has enforced the rules that YOU created. This makes team members look very foolish and kills morale. Plus, if you undercut them, can you really blame them for not taking on the difficult mom over appointment times or for the fact that you have craziness after school?
  • Doctor, please deal with, confront and even fire the patient or parent that is abusive to your team. You know the one. Everyone in the office does! You see their name on the day sheet and groan because they are chronically late, ugly to team members, mad, behind on payments, demanding after school appointments, and generally causing problems. For your sake and the sake of your team please put an end to the abuse and set the habitual abuser straight. Showing them the door is a good idea – and believe it or not they will usually straighten up and want to stay. A bully doesn’t know how to react when they are called on their actions! This is not something that happens often but almost every office has at least one of these abusers. The convos I’ve had with this type of person usually go like this: “Mom, I’m sorry I can’t make you happy so let’s get you transferred to an another orthodontist”… and mom says, “But I’m very happy here and I want to stay here”, and I say, “Well, I don’t mind you being abusive to me but you are abusive to my team members and I can’t tolerate that”, to which mom says, “Please let me stay, I’m happy here and want to stay”. Then you can decide whether or not to let them stay! They usually become raving fans if you let them and set down parameters.
  • Doctor, if your teeth are crooked, please put some braces on and fix them up! You should be able to use your smile as an example in the TC room when talking to a new patient.
  • While we are talking about the TC room, if you want to maximize your conversion rate and patient satisfaction, you need to realize that the TC is in charge of the new patient visit and you are a prop that he or she brings in to deliver the nerd knowledge that only you have. Once that is done you should leave. I know this is a shock to you but doctor you should shut up and get out much sooner than you think you should. You should also limit your nerd talk in front of patients. There are lots of ways to do this and we talked about many of them at MKS this year and will do so again at MKS 2016. No one likes to be talked about and pointed at in a language they don’t understand but this is what you are doing in your new patient visit to potential customers! Stop it. Plus the chair side assistants are dying in the clinic while waiting for you to shut up!
  • Most of all doctors, your team wants you to do for every patient only what you would do for your own family! If your team KNOWS that you don’t let your finances or the practice finances influence your DX and TX and if they KNOW you only prescribe necessary treatment and if they KNOW you are treating others as you would treat your own family and if they KNOW that the treatment is beneficial then your team can feel confident in backing you 100% and helping patients find a way to afford and accept the treatment you recommend. That is a win-win-win for patients, for you and for your team!
  • And finally, Doctor, we need to feel comfortable enough to tell you when you have food in your teeth, a boog hanging, bad breath or your fly is down without fear of you killing the messenger! You don’t want to look foolish and we don’t want you to look foolish! Let’s be a team and work together for the betterment of our office and for our patients!

One thought on “What Your Staff Wants You To Know

  1. Excellent feedback. I would like to add; The doctor verbalizing weekly how things are down in the practice which does nothing to solve the problem. This is also hard to take when the team sees money being spent freely in other areas. If times are tough, work smarter and take action.

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