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Episode 474: Hygiene Handoffs: Up Your Case Acceptance!

dental a team podcast Jan 19, 2022

Did you know there’s a direct correlation between a perfect handoff and your case acceptance? Kiera explains in this episode, sharing perspectives from both doctors and hygienists. Remember the ICRP method? She touches on that, and gives pro tips on upping that case acceptance through handoffs.

Episode resources:

Reach out to Kiera

Listen to episode 407, WWDD: What Would Doctor Do?

Learn about the ICRP method in episode 383, How to Shorten Exam Times AND Keep Value

Subscribe to The Dental A-Team podcast

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0:00:05.6 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, filler, 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 you. 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.


0:00:51.4 KD: Hello, Dental A team listeners, this is Kiera, and you guys, happy day to you. I hope it's a great day, I hope you're having a ton of fun. I just hope you're loving life, I really do, and if it's a rough day, just know, I'm giving you a virtual hug, it's gonna be alright. Things always work out. I had somebody ask me the other day, they said, Kiera, why is life so hard? I said life is hard because we're not willing to accept that maybe our life looks different than what we were planning on it looking like. It's hard because we're resisting what's actually happening. 'Cause I've had that, I've had my whole identity shaken, I've had just some rough, rough things in life, and I think all of us have. I think that that's what makes us human, but I think at the end of the day, when you can look at life and say, You know what? I choose to love life, I choose to be happy, I choose to see the best in this, I choose to accept that life is happening for me and not to me, that's when a perspective changes, and all of us have that opportunity.

0:01:45.3 KD: So I hope that today is just a good day for you, I hope that you choose that perspective to see that life is happening for you and not to you, it's growing you where you ultimately wanna grow, it's pushing you. It might not feel great, but it's pushing you where you ultimately want to go. Alright, that's Kiera just little like, Hey, I'm sending you some love in this world. So today's topic is nothing to do with that, it's all about hygiene handoffs, and why they're important to case acceptance. Yep, super sexy, exciting. I hope you're ready. I hope you're just like, Yep, let's do this. But hygiene handoffs. Guys, I don't think we realize how much the Hygiene Department impacts case acceptance. Hygienists, you are awesome. You help us so much. You guys, we've done quite a few podcasts around the Hygiene Department, so today we're gonna dive into the Hygiene Department even more so. And with this hygiene department, first of all, we've done what would doctor do? And I just had somebody reach out and ask me, how do we really get this, What Would Doctor Do? We just did a podcast on it. You've got to block it in your schedule, I recommend doing it for four weeks, and I recommend doing it case study-wise, so round robin. And if you don't know what the heck I'm talking about, go listen to that podcast.

0:02:52.0 KD: But that's just kind of a follow-up. Somebody reached out, ask me how to do this, and then make sure that your doctors... Doctors, I've gotta give you a huge tip on this, please don't try to make our life hard like you did in dental school. We understand that every FMX has about 75,000 different treatment plans that you, all dentists will create. We understand that. What we need to know in this what would doctor do exercise is what you normally would diagnose. I understand that that tooth might be a filling, it might be a crown, it might be a root canal, it might be an implant, and it might be a bridge, I'm well aware of that. But please, doctors, for everything lovely and awesome in life, just tell us one simple thing that you normally will diagnose. I understand you might go broke. I understand it won't always be perfect, and I'm not expecting you to be perfect. What I'm asking is that you give the hygienist and the clinical team an opportunity to feel confident teeing treatment up for you, because that's most of the time what you're going to diagnose. We're gonna give you a 5-10% change.

0:03:52.4 KD: That's fine. You still have that, but please, like I said, for everything holy, lovely, and good in this life, just choose one diagnosis for us, that's your general go-to diagnosis. We're not putting you in dental school, you're not being graded on the boards, we just need your basic one so we can win and we can tee treatment up for you. Otherwise, if you make it too hard, we say, Forget it, we don't wanna do this, it's too hard, they're always gonna change their treatment plan, they're never going to treatment plan what we think they're going to. So forget it, they can do it all on their exam time, your case acceptance will be lower, your patient experience will be lower, and doctor, you don't have any help. So I got on a little soapbox for you. But I'm advocating for our teams and advocating for our doctors on this when I see both perspectives, so doctors just give us your normal go-to on that FMX, that way we can start to win and help you out as well. So then next is this handoff, we've talked about the Eye crap handoff, so when doctors come in, we introduce the patient, let them know if they've met them or not, compliment the patient, they're doing great on their flossing, we give a recap of the treatment we've already discussed, #TeedUp and we do a personal note. We do it in that exact order as well, reason being if I say something personal, the doctor can then pick that up and they have an immediate connection with the patient.

0:05:09.9 KD: Exam time drastically reduces. So those are all the things that we've already discussed on other podcasts. Again, if you haven't heard them, go listen to them. Alex is amazing, she links all these in the show notes, so you guys can just quickly click on those other podcasts. Shout out to Alex, she's amazing, she's the wizard behind the keyboard for us, that makes all of our show notes amazing, and she makes you guys' life real easy. So with that said, next up is going to be these handoffs, so hygienists, giving that really awesome eye crap handoff, sorry, it's the worst acronym, but you won't forget it, to your doctor when they enter the room. Now, some doctors are like, "Oh... " so hygienists, you gotta be on it. I hope you hear me snapping in the background. I feel like, as soon as they walk through that door, you roll into your handoff. A lot of people say, "But Kiera, I wanna go tell my doctor outside of the room." Fine, that's totally fine. You can tee em up outside of the room, but in front of the patient, you've gotta have this handoff, otherwise, doctor's gotta go through the whole spiel with something missed, that patient doesn't know what was being discussed. It brings the patient into the conversation versus the patient just watching the movie, versus being an active participant in it.


0:06:21.0 KD: Are you guys sick of trying to figure it out on your own? I know I am. When I'm trying to run a business, sometimes I just think there's got to be a better way to do this, and so for me, my answer has been to find someone who's done it and does it really, really, really well. Like I'm talking the best of the best of the best. I want someone who's been in my shoes, somebody who understands what I'm going through. When I was looking for the consulting business, I found a coach who literally has run a consulting business. Well, that seems like the perfect fit. So you guys, right now, we have a few spaces open in our platinum consulting, that is in the consulting where we actually come to your practice, we help you get systems implemented, we don't just tell you what systems to implement, we actually implement them with you and for you. You guys, it is one of the best investments I've ever made, is to hire a coach who understands the business I'm in, who's lived it, who's done it. And that's what we in the dental A team do, we literally physically fly to you. So if you're sick of trying to figure it out on your own, if you just want somebody who understands you, join our platinum, I'd love to have you, I'd love to have our consulting team come out and see you, be in your office, be with your team, and truly help you get on to the easy path of dentistry. It doesn't have to be hard.

0:07:36.1 KD: So join us in the Platinum, we'd love to have you. So get your patient to actively be engaged, get them involved in, like call your perio numbers out or your probing numbers out, help them co-diagnose with you, have them look at x-rays with you, have that patient be an active participant in the procedure versus a passive participant in the visit, if you will. So then doctors and hygienists, two pro tips that we've discussed before is getting them to say yes to you before we even present treatment, so, Hey, can I put your bib on? Yes. Can I lean you back? Yes. Getting them to do it, versus saying, Okay, now I'll lean you back. Having that patient have autonomy and getting them to say Yes throughout your procedure is actually teeing them up to want to say yes for treatment. Psychological, guys. I had my whole undergrad in psychology, and I love it. And I had a hygienist email me and she's like, Kiera, I tried this, my fluoride acceptance is 100%. Rock on. Shout out to you. You know who you are. You emailed me and I loved hearing it. It was so cool. So with that, now doctors in the room, we do the treatment plan, doctor gives a perfect handoff back to the hygienist.

0:08:46.9 KD: Alright? Kiera, we wanna get you back. So doctor is talking to the patient while giving the information to the hygienist, do you see that triangle? I hope you do. Doctor talks to the patient, that way the hygienist hears what needs to happen. Patient is an active participant versus being just a silent listener. This way we have a perfect handoff. So then, doctor gives the perfect handoff. Hey, alright, Kiera, so it looks like we've got some treatment that we wanna get done, the great news is, you're in good hands, and we're going to get your mouth healthy, we're going to do this really easy for you. Doctors, tee up some confidence there. Okay? I'd like to get you back in about two weeks. We'll start on that upper right, we'll get that crown and that filling done. I know that was your biggest concern, don't worry, we'll get that taken care of, that way you can eat again. I'd like to see you back in about two weeks, and I'll need about two hours for that appointment. What questions do you have for me? I didn't say, Do you have questions? I said, What questions do you have for me? Nothing. I think I'm good. Fantastic, I can't wait to see you back. You're in great hands. Rachel, your hygienist, she's gonna take great care of you, get you scheduled back for that.

0:09:48.0 KD: Beautiful. Doctor, you did so many great things on that, you told us what they're coming back for, you gave us a timeframe of when they're coming back for, you told us how much time they need, you edified the hygienist, and you gave them confidence that you're a rockstar dentist, and they're in great hands. High five, docs, that is something we need from you. Then we loop. Hygienist who've just been edified, you've been given the information, your job now is to take that information and either schedule right then, if that's your practice protocol, or take them upfront with that exact information. This handoff is paramount, I can tell you, when I'm in offices, I sit as a little fly on the wall, watching everything go on. I hear this awesome handoff from doctor, I see your hygienist write it down on the route slip or wherever you choose to write it, message it, whatever you choose to do in your practice. I'm big on having something that has to be filled in, so we don't miss these boxes. Then we walk upfront and we're like, Okay, front desk. Here we go, Kiera's ready to go, we'll see you later, 'cause you're busy and you're behind and you don't even say anything that doctor just said to you. Darn it, we just lost an opportunity right there. So now the front office is like, Okay, we'll see you later. And then they're like, Did you get them scheduled back? No, I didn't even know they had treatment. So this handoff hygienist is crucial.

0:11:05.0 KD: And you guys are the best of the best of the best at it, or you're the worst of the worst. [chuckle] It's one of the two. So let's get you to be the best of the best at this. So that's why I like a route slip, that's why I like something that's written. I don't care how you do it, you can use a reusable route slip, you can use a BlueNote message, I don't care, but it has to be a template of those items, otherwise it gets messy and slushy. The goal should be that this patient knows exactly what they're coming back for, when they should come back, and how much time they need to come back for. I promise you, if you will do this handoff and make it your own, that's fine, I don't care how you do it, I just care that you get these key pieces in it. If you will do this, your case acceptance will be increased. We won't have patients slipping through the crack and we'll be able to give them the best dental care possible. So then going upfront, you literally say exactly what doctor said, Hey, front office, this is Kiera.

0:11:54.9 KD: So Doctor did find some treatment on her, and the great news is she's in awesome hands and doctor's gonna do amazing work with her. Doctor would like to get her back for the upper right, for that crown and that filling. That's what she was mostly concerned about. Doctor would like to see her in two weeks for about two hours. I've already got her cleaning schedule. And Kiera, what questions do you have for me? Oh, I've got nothing. Thanks so much. Awesome, Kiera, you are in great hands with the front office, say their name, they're gonna take amazing care of you, and I can't wait to see you back at your next cleaning. Hygienist, you take off, and write there, front office just got the handoff to pick it up to schedule perfectly from there. So hygienist, do this. You edified the front office, you told them they're great, so you left this patient in great hands, you also re-edified our doctor, reminding them that they're the best place possible, and you gave all the information, so now it's easy to schedule. Hygienist, you are a pivotal piece, you are like the cornerstone in this formula, you're the one who gets the information from the patient to hand off to the doctor, you're the one who gets the information from the doctor to hand off to the front office.

0:12:56.3 KD: You are literally this hinge between doctor, front office, doctor and patient. You hinge in two areas that are pivotal to the patient experience and the patient success. So, try it out. Listen back to this podcast, deep dive on it, role play. I can't wait to hear it. You guys are gonna do incredible. Hygienist, you are paramount, and so, so, so valuable in these handoffs, so try it out, let us know how it goes. And if you guys need help, we do this in practices, we role-play it with you guys via Zoom or in person, and help you guys really dial this verbiage in, because at the end of the day, I believe great case acceptance comes from great verbiage. It's all about our confidence, and it's about the way we say things, making it easy for patients to say Yes. Alright, guys, as always, thanks for listening. Catch you next time on the Dental A Team podcast.

0:13:44.1 KD: 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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