Why stop educating your patients once they leave your office?

You’ve heard the patient education pitch before: educated patients are more likely to accept treatment, feel less anxious about the care they receive, are satisfied with their treatment and are more than likely to refer friends and family. You probably use, or have considered using a DVD in reception. You may also use Optio Dentistry (which is bundled with Tracker) at chair side or in a consultation room to help educate patients about treatment options. Using these tools will definitely contribute to the growth of your practice. The only problem is most patient education STOPS once the patient walks out the door! From that point forward you will rely on them to remember everything you’ve taught them and to be able to communicate the importance of treatment to someone involved in their decision-making process, ie. a spouse or parent. People remember only a small percentage of what they’re told and you could be missing out on an important aspect of the education process. Here are a few things to consider:

Patient Education ‘Booklets’

What’s more effective - having your patients bring home a computer printout with a bunch of dental codes after watching an education video chair side, or along with the estimate, providing them with a complete treatment planning ‘booklet’ with the following information:

  1. A nice cover page with your logo/address on it (which can help in getting future patient referrals!)
  2. A cover letter that explains possible issues preventing them in procrastinating treatment.
  3. A list of simple and clear-cut descriptions explaining all the dental codes listed on the estimate
  4. Illustration and notes summarizing what they watched in the video.

If you can produce all of the above in basically the same amount of time it takes to print an estimate, why wouldn’t you do it? With today’s programs you can! Also, you don’t need to print the booklet when you can create a PDF and email it to a patient, spouse or parent. And the great thing about email is it can be easily forwarded to other people.

Sample Patient Education Booklet


Please click on this link to view a sample
Patient Education Booklet

Using your Website

But patient education doesn’t have to stop with the booklets if you’re using your website to its fullest potential. About 80 % of Canadians and Americans are using the Internet to research health information.[i] In particular, female baby boomers (who, by the way, are an important customer segment for cosmetic treatment) regularly search the Internet for information to support their families.[ii] You have a few options for online education: you can write page upon page of text or you can add videos and/or images of your very own work.

Videos:

Viewing video is becoming a dominant aspect of people’s online activity, largely due to the creation of YouTube, an online video-sharing community. Founded in February 2005, YouTube has changed the way we watch video. And while it’s often assumed only younger audiences are the main consumers of online video, statistics show this is not true. More than half adults aged 30-49 and 50-65 years old have viewed videos online.[iii] Along with using the Optio Dentistry movies, you can also add these and other videos on your website.  You can see them in action at:

(If you want to add any of these products to your website, you should call Charl Eksteen at Optio Dentistry at 866-906-7846, ext 101. If you don’t have a website, you definitely need to call him!!)

Images of YOUR work:

Having been in more than a thousand offices over the years, it’s very common to see a book in reception (not waiting) areas similar to Dr. Dickerson’s "Making You Smile Before & After Book”. Sure, patients may leaf through this book to see what’s possible, but how much impact does a book like that have compared to before-and-after images of YOUR work? By categorizing your images properly in an imaging product like ChairSide Imaging, you can easily retrieve images to show patients chair side. Also, you can organize your images in a mount for ultimate effectiveness, and of course, these mounts can be easily added to your website. For a good example of how images and mounts can effectively be incorporated onto a website, please click on the link below to Dr. Jeffery Schau’s website.

So, we hope you will consider some of these options in an effort to educate your patients once they leave your office. The Bridge Network is confident it will be appreciated by your patients and lead to higher case acceptance.


Written by Frank Dionisi of The Bridge Network and Brent Parr of Optio Dentistry


[i] Philips, Lisa. 2006. Pharmaceuticals Online: Direct-to-Patient Becomes a Reality. eMarketer.

[ii] Philips, Lisa. 2006. Pharmaceuticals Online: Direct-to-Patient Becomes a Reality. eMarketer.

[iii] Madden, Mary. 2007. Online Video: 57% of Internet users have watched videos online. Pew Internet & American Life Project.

 


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