Designing Better Medical and Dental History Forms

By William J. Moorhead, D.M.D.

Can the design of your medical and dental history forms affect efficiency? Yes, definitely. In fact, a well designed form not only saves time, it can facilitate diagnosis and motivate your patients.

Today, most practice management systems have online forms, which enable patients to register and complete their medical and dental history in advance. This can streamline the appointment—but only if the forms are designed with the patient in mind. If you discover that patients are filling out the forms incorrectly or if they are omitting information, it’s likely time to rethink your forms.

When you develop the medical and dental history section of your forms, develop questions so that a “yes” answer requires the doctor’s attention. For example, change the question “are you satisfied with the color of your teeth?” to “would you like whiter teeth?” This approach can speed your review process, because you can quickly decipher where to focus your attention. Continue reading

Getting Patients to Say “Yes” to Dental Cases

by Dr. Mark Hyman

A young dental student was working with me in my office years ago. All day long, he repeatedly said, “How can your team get patients to say yes to so many cases? What’s the secret sauce?”

His questions astonished me until I realized this: what is obvious to me isn’t obvious to everyone. My way of practicing dentistry involves the use of fundamental human relations principles, and a lot of practitioners out there just don’t realize the importance of this. Here’s the premise: Stop telling people what they need; instead, listen to what they want.

We try to never use the word need in our practice. You need a crown; you need to floss; you need to stop smoking. Need is punitive. Let’s face it: for the most part, dentistry is elective. The better four-letter word is want. After all, it’s not enough to buy CBCT systems, or digital sensors or intraoral scanners. What good is that state-of-the-art technology if your patients don’t want you to use them? Continue reading

Top 5 Ways to Improve Practice Communication

In last week’s post, I discussed the impact that gossip can have on practices. To help you alleviate this problem, I am providing some ideas that will help you facilitate communication within the office so employees feel comfortable speaking to each other as issues arise.

Here are the top five tips anyone can use to improve their professional (and even personal) communication:

  1. Drop sentences that start with “you” (such as “you make me feel angry”). When you phrase sentences in this way, it sounds like an accusation, making the other person immediately defensive. Think of it this way—it’s more effective to confront issues with people than people with issues. By starting your sentences with “I,” as in, “I feel upset when [fill in the blank happens],” you are starting a conversation instead of a confrontation.

Continue reading

Dental Practice Improvement Series – Does This Sound Like You? (Part 3)

My post today rounds out the third part of a three part series in which I’ve been discussing different scenarios my colleagues and I faced as we set out to improve our dental practices. Through one situation or another, we were all ultimately giving up film in favor of digital radiography in our efforts to: Continue reading

Dental Practice Improvement Series – Does This Sound Like You? Part 2

In my post last week I mentioned discussions I had recently with colleagues about the challenges and best practices we face to keep our dental practices modern. For those of us that incorporated digital radiography into our dental offices, for the most part, we were: Continue reading

Dental Practice Improvement Series – Does This Sound Like You? Part 1

I was recently brainstorming with a few colleagues about challenges and best practices when it comes to managing a dental practice.  Although all of them faced different challenges as business owners, generally speaking, I found those who purchased digital radiography were in the process of: Continue reading

Dental Leadership Series: Setting up a Modern Practice (Digital Radiography)

I have had the privilege of owning my own dental practice for over twenty years.  Whether I am working through the operational issues at my own office, or talking to colleagues who are looking to build a new practice or renovate an existing one, there are several common themes I come across. Continue reading