3 ways patient education software can help dentists develop meaningful relationships with patients

March 31, 2016
Dr. J. William Claytor
Dr. J. William Claytor

J. William “Bill” Claytor, Jr., DDS, MAGD, PA graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry and completed a two year General Practice Residency at the Medical University of South Carolina. He has been awarded the coveted Fellowship and Mastership from the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Claytor has lectured nationally on Cerec Connect, has completed the Sirona Speakers Academy Workshop (2011), the Sirona Digital Impressioning Trainers Workshop (2012), and has been a Beta tester for Apollo DI, Cerec Connect, and Cerec Omnicam. He also is a Mentor for the Digital ACCEPT Programs and has completed Level 3 and Level 4 courses at the Scottsdale Center for Dentistry and attended inLab 4.2 training from the Cerec On Demand Education Center. Dr. Claytor has published in Dental Products Report and Cerec Online magazine (www.cereconline.com) describing his journey into digital impressioning using Cerec Connect, Cerec Omnicam, and OrthoPhos XG-3D.

Building a bond with patients is critical. One of the best ways I have found to build this patient bond and develop meaningful relationships is to make education a standard part of my patients’ dental visits.

Building a bond with patients is critical. They rely on us to help them in times of need and to ensure their dental health. We rely on them to bring us business and, ultimately, to keep our doors open. One of the best ways I have found to build this patient bond and develop meaningful relationships is to make education a standard part of my patients’ dental visits.

Expand your dental team

I have been using my patient education software, CAESY Cloud by Patterson Dental, for over two years and have come to rely on the software as another member of my dental team. The videos give consistent, reliable and accurate information every time, which can help alleviate some of the burden that dental staff carry when explaining complicated or difficult procedures.

Patients, at times, are hesitant to watch videos because they think they won’t understand the complicated terms, don’t want to see anything bloody or scary, and don’t want to “waste” unnecessary time in the dentist chair. Thankfully, these assumptions are all quickly squashed once we begin to go through the videos together. The videos I use are top of the line and explain in a non-invasive, easy to understand way exactly what a particular dental treatment or issue looks like. Best yet, the videos take very little time and can be easily incorporated into a dental visit.

Related reading: Applying CAESY Cloud in your practice

Extend the discussion

I view my patient education software as a “conversation starter” – it invites questions that help prompt a more meaningful discussion. We do our patients a disservice if we don’t explain to them the issues they face with regards to their dental health. We owe them our time and, most importantly, our recommendation for improving their oral health. Patient education software makes this simple as the videos help encourage patients to participate in the discussion and diagnosis. We don’t need to resort to a one-sided treatment plan, but can invite the patient into a co-diagnosis once they understand the issues that affect them.

Most of the time, my staff shows videos when we are talking about a specific procedure with a patient or if a patient has a concern about a procedure they are considering. That being said, there are many options for which we can use the videos outside of the operatory. We have shown patient education videos in our waiting room and even send video links home via email with patients to view in the comfort of their home with loved ones not present during the appointment.

Related reading: How CAESY Cloud can help increase case acceptance with patients [VIDEO]

Enrich your practice

My patient education software is a huge value add to my practice that patients remember and appreciate. I have had many people in the past tell me they accepted a particular treatment plan simply because I explained to them why it was needed and showed them what it looked like, which no one else had ever taken the time to do.

The important thing to remember is that patient education doesn’t replace your interaction with patients – it enriches it. When showing a video, either my staff or I are always present and ready to address the questions that will inevitably come up. I never want my patients to think they are alone in the process – they need to know we are there to answer questions, too, not just throw a diagnosis at them.

The last thing I always emphasize is that patient education is not strictly about case acceptance – it all comes back to building that bond. The goal should be you spending the time educating the patient so when he or she gets to the point of case acceptance, be it in two weeks or two years, they know you have their best interests in mind. That is key and what ultimately sustains the life of your business.