Increase Treatment Acceptance in Tough Times


When a patient says “I just can’t do that now with all I’m dealing with after the hurricane [recession, earthquake, fire …]”, that is your opportunity to offer just a little bit more information that may motivate the patient to choose to proceed with their needed or wanted dentistry. Remember: one of the four reasons patients do not accept treatment is lack of information or patient education.

Henry Schein Guru offers many visual and engaging ways to help you motivate your patients to accept treatment. Guru has spectacular videos and animations for all dental procedures that illustrate how approachable oral care can be, in a fun and engaging way:

Click here to view a sample Guru animation of an anterior implant procedure.

However, building empathy and rapport starts with you and your team. Start with Guru’s easy-to-understand videos and playlists, and then try these steps:

1. Respond empathetically - some statement like….

“I can imagine how stressful this must be for you.” OR

“I know how you feel. I too have had damage to…” (but don’t get sidetracked in your details and your story.) OR

“Well there’s a lot going on in your life, for sure!”

2. Reassure the patient - that others have faced this decision also. Say something like…

“Many of our other patients have suffered damage to their homes also…” OR

“Many of our other patients struggle with stressful situations right now, too…”

3. Mention a possible solution - say something like….

“…and what they found was when talking to __________ [name your Business Administrator] about financial options, they were able to get their needed dentistry and still fit it in their budgets.”

4. Give the control of the decision to the patient - say something like …

“Would you be interested in hearing those options?”

If the patient declines, again respond empathetically with some statement like...

“I understand. It’s a tough time for you right now.”

5. Check Out with the Business Team.

Remember your 3-5 minute check-out process. This is the perfect time to alert the Business Team to the patient’s choice. After escorting the patient to the Business area, in front of the patient, the clinical team member communicates to the Business Team member:

a. Summarize what treatment was done today

b. What is to be done next and explain either the patient’s interest in hearing financial options

i. Or the patient’s decision not to go ahead now due to personal dilemmas after the storm.

6. Business Team member attempts to clarify your understanding of their situation – Make this private (even if only standing and moving around to the same side of the counter as the patient to create a more intimate space). Say something like –

“This sounds like a very difficult time for you, Mrs. ____. Would it be helpful to you to hear about some ways to possibly be able to go ahead with the treatment now?”

Follow the patient’s lead at this point. Give some financial options if they have led you in this direction.

7. Business Team asks for permission to contact patient who chooses to wait - say something like the following and make notes in the patient’s chart…

“I understand your decision to wait on treatment for right now. Would it be OK if we called you in about a month to see how you are doing and check with you whether you have questions or want to go ahead with treatment at that time?”

Remember, it takes time and effort on the part of the entire team to motivate patients. For hesitant patients, this is especially true of followup outreach and visits. To follow up effectively and keep building rapport, Guru enables you to continue personal outreach to your hesitant patients after they have left the office. With a Guru Content Enhancement Plan you can send your personally-narrated Guru videos and animations of their needed treatment straight to their email inbox. Let them share with their family and keep evaluating your suggested treatment. Guru also allows you to post those same narrated videos and animations on your practice Web site for general patient viewing. These are great ways to get patients comfortable with your treatment and trust your professionalism!

For more information and ways to motivate your patients, visit us at:

Cathy JamesonFind our more from Jameson Management by visiting their Web site, Written by: Cathy Jameson, Founder and CEO of Jameson Management, Inc. and Holly Holm, Henry Schein Practice Solutions

Published: 02/16/2010
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