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383: How to Shorten Exam Times AND Keep Value

Did you know the right hand-off can efficiently shorten up doctor’s time in an exam? This concept blows the idea that time equates value right out of the water. Kiera shares the ICRP hand-off to shorten those exam times.

I: Introduce doctor

C: Compliment patient

R: Recap the treatment

P: Personalize

Navigate these four easy steps right and doctor is ready to dive in! By educating your practice’s clinical team to co-diagnose with the doctor simplifies everyone’s time (and bonus! Makes the patient feel good).

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Podcast Transcript:

Kiera Dent:

Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast. I'm your host, Kiera Dent and I had this crazy idea that maybe I could combine a doctor and a team member's perspective because let's face it, dentistry can be a challenging profession with those two perspectives. I've been a dental assistant, treatment coordinator, scheduler, pillar, office manager, regional manager, practice owner, and I have a team of traveling consultants where we have traveled to over 165 different offices, coaching teams. Yep, we don't just understand you. We are here. Our mission is to positively impact the world of dental. And I believe that this podcast is the greatest way I can help elevate teams, grow VIP experiences, reduce stress, and create A teams. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast.

            Hello, Dental A Team listeners. This is Kiera and you guys, this is a very timely topic. I've been seeing it in the offices that I'm working on and it is on doctor introductions. So with that, what we're finding is I'm in an office, and the reason this came about is because they told me, "Kiera, we are so stressed. Our doctor has really, really long exams." It's fine, guys. It happens. "And we're struggling to be able to move along and we're getting behind." So this is where I tie it back to, okay guys, we're going to drill down on our handoffs again because handoffs actually can shorten up doctor exam times. Also, I'm going to give you guys a couple other quick tips because this often happens with new associates. It happens with newer doctors. It also just happens with doctors who think that time equates value.

            Time does not equate value, you guys. Actually, being direct and concise equates value in my opinion, and also check yourself on your disc personality profile. You might be somebody who loves details but the bulk of the world actually doesn't want a lot of details. It actually can confuse them more. So here we go. Let's talk about how to shorten up those exam times in a quick, easy way. So oftentimes exams are very long because the doctor is trying to pull information from that patient and they're feeling as if, "Oh my goodness, I'm not getting this information so I need to spend more time getting it." And this is where the handoff comes in so paramount when the doctor comes into the room. So hygiene and assistance, guys, be on top of this and be quick and snappy, otherwise your doctor's going to jump in because they're going to feel that you're not moving quick enough for them so they'll be panicky.

            So the way I love to do this, you guys, I've heard about it before. It's called the ICRP. I've updated this since before. But basically what it is is the introduction, patient's name, and has the doctor met them before? That helps the doctors a lot not look like idiots. "Hey, I just met you last week, but I don't remember." So we do the introduction, then we do the compliment of the patient. Everybody loves to be complimented, then we do a recap. In that recap, you guys can also spruce it up and let the doctor know is this patient's primary concern related to cosmetics, longevity, function or cost. Immediately that gives the doctor the filter by which his patients coming to the practice and they can tailor their treatment plan to that filter. So we give the introduction, the compliment, the recap, and then a personal note so our doctors can quickly build that connection by giving that information.

            And the recap is about the treatment that you've already discussed. So, "Hey, it looks like you've got this area going on here. Doctor most likely is going to recommend a crown. This is what a crown is." Lots of different ways that you can tee up that treatment. That way as soon as the doctor walks in, they were just giving personal information. They're just given their recap of what was discussed. They were told the filter of what to look through for this patient. And they also know what this patient's name is and have they met them. Get this handoff to be the triangle of trust. So have all three of you in there, patients included in this handoff and it needs to be said in front of the patient. Reason being is if you guys say it out of the operatory and then come in and doctor [inaudible 00:04:08] knows, patient's like, "Wait, wait, how did this happen? I don't really know."

            So I call it the ICRP. Guys, it's such an awkward handoff. It's fine. It works amazingly well. And this is how you're going to be able to get those exams to shorten up because now doctor doesn't have to pull as much information. They can just move right along. Then doctors, you'll do your comprehensive exam. I strongly suggest you ask the patient, "Hey, can I lean you back?" "Hey, do you mind if I take a look in your mouth?" Getting the patient to say yes to you right there actually are two things. One, it's polite. And second, it actually puts them into a yes frame of mind and it's giving them more trust and confidence in you as well. Doctor does the comprehensive exam, then doctor does a nice little bow on the end, the NDTR.

            So it gives the next visit, the date, the time needed, and making sure that recare is scheduled. That's a nice bow to wrap it up and off they go. A doctor asked me yesterday, how long is an average exam? For a recare patient it's usually five to seven minutes. For a new patient, 15 minutes to 20 minutes, unless we're doing a really big comprehensive case that we've purposely brought them back for a consult and we might have a little bit longer time with them there. So that kind of just gives you guys parameters. So if that's the case, I also have found there's nice cube on Amazon that's a light cube. So if your doctors are taking a long time, you can actually spin the cube and it will light up on how much time they've been taking. You can also put sticky notes up there.

            So as soon as they enter the room, put 15 minutes from the time they enter if you know it's a new patient and stick it up there by the clock. You know they're going to look back towards the 12 o'clock, so put a little sticky note of what time they need to be done, especially for newer doctors who might be taking more time. Then doctors, be conscious of it. Look to see, could I do these exams shorter and get just as great of results? It's kind of like me as an assistant. I could flip a room in 10 minutes, then I got down to seven minutes, then I got down to five minutes. Also doctors, remember when you were in school and you had to learn how to do an FMX? Well, you were able to get that FMX in less time because you practice, practice, practice and realize I don't need to spend 20 minutes taking an FMX.

            Building rapport with that patient, if we drill down on those handoffs and our team's really good at passing that information off to us, doctors, you don't need to spend as much time and still get just as great of results. So I'm not saying scrimp time, don't make the connections, I'm just helping you realize you actually don't have to spend as much time as you might think. I've had a lot of offices do this. They're able to drill it down, practice that introduction, patient's name, has the doctor met them, then we give a compliment, "Hey, Kiera's has been doing a great job flossing." That way the patient's like, "Huh. I look great in front of the doctor." That's really what we're doing it for. Then we do a recap of treatment, "I chatted with Kiera. She knows something's going on. Most likely you'll probably have a crown on the upper right and then fillings on the lower left.

            And then also just so you know," here comes the personal. "Kiera is headed off to California next week." Beautiful. Doctor now can say, "California? What are you doing in California?" We've instantly got a bond and a connection. Doctor's not trying to pull that information out. Then from there, we can talk. "Okay, great. Let's look at that area for that crown, those fillings. See what's going on. And the great news is we're going to get you back to healthy. Do you mind if I lean you back? What questions do you have for me?" Wrap it all up.

            Hello Dental A Team listeners. All right, one of my absolute favorite quotes is you are always one decision away from a totally different life. So what life do you want to have? Do you want more accountability? Do you want a team that's trained? Do you want to have somebody who thinks outside the box and creates just for you? Do you want to have a coach? Do you want to have team training? Do you just need somebody to kick you in the rear and get you going? Okay, don't worry. I'm in every single one of those boxes. And that's why we created Dental A Team's Silver, Gold, and Platinum. It's going to be customized team training for you on the terms you want. So silver, silver is more for accountability. Gold, gold includes all of our online training plus the accountability. And platinum includes all of that and in office.

            You guys, I would strongly suggest you go join Dental A Team Gold today because you're always one decision away from a totally different life. So, what are you waiting for? Hop on over to the dentalateam.com today. You guys, we only have so many spaces so get over there today and sign up for Dental A Team's Silver, Gold, or Platinum.

            Now team members, practice, practice, practice this. You guys, as teams, role play this out. Have everybody do the ICRP handoff. That way you guys are all practicing this, practicing this, practicing this, getting better and better and better. So that way our doctor exams really truly can be shortened down and they can be more intentional. Also, I would say some team members get nervous talking about treatment. So let's dive into that in a couple of ways that you guys can take care of this. Number one that I love that I saw in another office is what would doctor do? So the doctor and the team gets together every week and they bring an FMX to the table. It can be done in a morning huddle, does not need to take a lot of time. You have an FMX and you do a "race".

            I love to make games out of everything, of who can guess the treatment plan that doctor is going to present the fastest and most accurate. So you guys go through, have an FMX up there. You guys write it down, everybody does their own. And then doctor tells what the exam actually would be. Doctor explains, why would they be diagnosing a crown here? Why would they be diagnosing fillings here? Why would they be doing this? Where do they want intraoral photos. So all of you get quicker and quicker and quicker at recognizing what doctor's most likely going to recommend you. You are not diagnosing. You're just teeing it up so that way the patient can be thinking about it before a doctor comes in. Patients need to hear treatment, used to be three times, then I heard seven, then I heard 17. You guys, that's crazy town.

            Let's just do it least five times. That means they come through, they hear it from you, clinical team as we look at x-rays. Then they hear it again in the recap when we hand it off to our doctor, then the doctor diagnoses it and they confirm it. Then we say it again as we're scheduling them. And then the fifth time is when we're doing our treatment plan. So they've heard it five times. They should know the treatment and should be bought into it by that point in time. So this what would doctor do exercise really helps the whole clinical team get more confident because oftentimes they're scared to say what they think the doctor will do and then doctor comes in and says, "Nope, that's actually just a filling and they've been teeing it up for a crown." Clinical team, that's just a story.

            You're just afraid of a story that's not true. "The patient's going to think I'm stupid. The patient's going to think I'm incompetent." That's actually not true. Guess what? You just gave them great news. You said, "Hey, it's most likely going to be a crown," and doctor comes in and says, "It's a filling." It is your luckiest day. It's not a crown. You just prepared them for a worst case scenario and doctor came in and made it a lot better. Now, if you said it was a filling and it goes to a crown, that's okay. You can be like, "Well, guess what? Good news for you patient, is doctor is incredible and they're going to be able to take great care of you." So I've given you guys quite a few little tips to be able to help one, your clinical team figure out how to co-diagnosis with our doctor.

            That way they know what the doctor's going to diagnose. Doctors, this simplifies your exam because then everybody is looking from your lens, your angle. I know every doctor diagnosis differently. It's totally fine. Let our team know how you diagnose, how you say things and start to prepare this. If it was me and my practice, I would spend a good solid month to two months doing what would doctor do at least once a week at morning huddle. That way my team is getting calibrated on our exams to shorten those exam times. So that would be step one. Step two, the ICRP handoffs. So making sure we're practicing those when the doctor comes in for the introduction, compliment, recap of treatment, and the personal note about the patient. That's for hygiene. In the assistant side I love an introduction and then say what the patient's there for treatment.

            And if you've talked about plus treatment that we could do, say that right there, and then we loop it in with a personal note about them. That way doctor still has that quick connection for them. That's how the clinical assistant side can do it. And then from there practicing that NDTR handoff as well really will simplify it up. You guys can also get that light up cube on Amazon. You can also put sticky notes up there. And then the last point would be tracking. Tracking how many patients actually get out on the time that they were scheduled to leave the practice. That's going to let us know, were we on time with our exams? Were we running over? And how many patients were we running over by? So we can get faster and better every single time, making sure we're giving the most excelled patient experience by honoring their time, honoring our time and looking for ways that we can be just a smidge more efficient by working together as a team.

            So you guys, there's a massive, massive, massive tangibles for you today. I hope you guys take it, try it out. Let me know how what would doctor do goes in your practice. This is one of my favorite things to do and offices who actually implement it are shocked at the results they have. Case acceptance skyrockets, patient experiences excel and patients are happier. Team members are happier. Doctors exams are easier. So if that's not enough reasons to try this, it's okay. You can email me [email protected] But I know you're going to love it. So try it out. Let me know how it goes. And as always, thank you guys so much for listening. Thank you for sharing the podcast. Thank you for leaving reviews. Thank you for attending our events. Thank you for working with us as clients. I am truly honored. And if you guys want help with this, we implement this all day long in practices.

            So I've just been in three offices implementing this very thing in these practices, helping them out and these offices are already seeing insane results, adding same day treatment, having simpler exams, closing cases, having happier patients, getting great reviews. So you guys, if you're interested in that, email us, call us, [email protected] We'd love to work with you and your practice in your own area. All right, you guys, thanks so much for listening. I'll catch you next time on the Dental A Team podcast.

            And that wraps it up for another episode of the Dental A Team podcast. Thank you so much for listening and we'll talk to you next time.

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