Of course they do.

They decided to start treatment with you so obviously they liked you and what you do better than any of their other options. That’s fantastic for you and for them. However, no matter how awesome this makes you feel, you cannot use the fact that YOUR patients agree with your way of doing things as PROOF that your way is “the right way”. Why? Well because you only started the patients you started. What happened to all the others?

What am I talking about? Glad you asked, let me share some examples of “statements of fact” that I hear all the time from doctors convinced they are RIGHT based on “the evidence”:

  • “ALL of my patients tell me that they decided to go with me because I spent a lot of time with them in the new patient visit. Patients don’t like it when the doctor doesn’t give them at least 30 minutes of in person time at the initial visit.”
  • “My patients really like that I use TADs/scanner/CBCT/whatever. Patients are impressed by offices that have the latest technology and that is important in differentiation so all orthodontic offices should have the latest technology.”
  • “My patients don’t like cheesy advertising, pushy sales people or other gimmicks. Orthodontic offices should not advertise or ‘sell’ themselves because it degrades the profession and patients don’t like it.”
  • “Bonding molars doesn’t work. The brackets always break. My patients don’t like broken brackets so you should really band molars.”

Did you notice what happened in each of these statements? They all started out talking about what their patients like or what happens in their practice but ended up generalizing about what all patients like and what all orthodontists should do. Do you see the flaws in that kind of logic?

We human beings like to make decisions based on emotions and feelings and then we try and back our decisions with “proof” and “evidence” we find in our immediate surroundings. This is just one example, but we human beings have many biases that color our world view.

My response to these kinds of “statements of fact” is always the same.

“Interesting perspective, how is that working out for you?” I ask.

“What do you mean?” they always respond.

“Well, what I mean is, how many patients choose to start with you every year and how much do they pay you for your services compared to other orthodontists and how profitable is your business and, most importantly, how many patients decide NOT to start with you and go elsewhere? Do you survey those who don’t start and ask them why? Do you ask them what you could do to improve? That’s where the valuable information lies.”

Of course this line of inquiry is never appreciated….