By Bren Barbour, Business Development Coach & Kathryn Gilliam, RDH, BA, FAAOSH, Hygiene Coach
We are passionate about teaching dentists and their teams how to present risk factors to patients. Our ultimate goal is to help doctors educate and serve their patients so they can minimize risks and maintain healthier lives.
Let’s set the foundation: the risk factor conversation should be one of education and illumination, not sales. While increased case acceptance is often the result of discussing risk factors, it is not the primary focus.
When patients know that their dental health practitioner is focused on their wellness, it elevates the relationship to a partnership based on mutual trust. And as you probably know, dentistry is all about the trust between a doctor and a patient.
Why Talk About Risk Factors?
While it takes more effort and more education for your team to present risk factors to patients, the benefits – to your patients and practice – can be enormous. Here are just a few examples:
5 Key Distinctions for Implementing Risk Factor Conversations
An effective conversation about risk factors has five components: current risk level, risk linking, consequences of not doing treatment, benefits of treatment, and level of risk after treatment.
The Dangers of Missing Protocol 2
One of the most important steps in the risk factor conversation is step two; linking the risk. This is a vital step in patient communication because it shows the patient how they got that way. While all pieces of the risk factor discussion are important, showing the link is vital to the patient’s understanding of their risks and of them taking ownership of their health.
We often use the example of an oil change when coaching teams and doctors about the importance of linking:
Imagine you’re taking your car in for an oil change. You walk in and state, “I want my oil and oil filter changed.” One of 3 scenarios happen:
In order to ensure that the patients understand their risk factors, all five risk factor protocols must be in place. Once the patient understands “how” they achieved their present condition and the consequences of not doing treatment they more easily commit to treatment plans and behavior changes that will positively impact their health. In addition, you and your team will experience increased treatment acceptance and the satisfaction of making a difference in patients lives.
For more information about the entire team’s role in risk factor conversations, or with help implementing risk factor discussions in your practice, contact Productive Dentist Academy at (800) 757-6077 or fill out the form below to claim your complimentary practice assessment to see what opportunities are available within your practice.
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