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Every dental office is different. Practices specialize in particular areas of dentistry and focus on a number of varied treatments. Yet there is one thing that unites all offices: The desire to help patients understand exactly what is being recommended to them and why.
Since the day I acquired my practice in 2001, I have been using a patient education system called CAESY from Patterson Dental. I have seen no better way to solve this challenge of discussing difficult treatment options with my patients than by utilizing patient education software.
Implementation into your office
When patients enter my practice, I like to ask them how they best learn. Most often, people report they are visual learners. I then introduce CAESY into the timeline of their visit.
When appropriate, I will have patients watch videos pertaining to their treatment plan. In so doing, patients are immediately able to have an educated conversation about their treatment options. By using a visual patient education system, patients are much more easily able to understand the options recommended to them. They see the procedure, which makes it real in a way that talking about or drawing it cannot do.
Patient education videos are a conduit for information and imagery that makes understanding recommendations more tangible for patients. Though I use the system daily, I find it most helpful when explaining cases that require something difficult to visualize, such as dental implants or root canals, or when I present more progressive treatments, such as regenerative periodontal therapy using lasers or minimally invasive veneers. After watching a 30-second video of the recommended procedure, the fear, stress and misconception about what the procedure might be like is alleviated.
Continue to page two to read about the benefits of CAESY...
CAESY for daily use
I integrate the software into my practice by playing CAESY videos in the reception area and on the monitors in my operatories. By doing this, the videos are accessible at all times throughout the office. I have patients every week who ask me about the videos they see in the reception area or in the operatory while the hygienist prepares materials for their visit. The videos act as an opportunity creator in the office, especially when they are customized to the needs of each individual patient. The videos I show help aid our marketing strategy and build our reputation in the areas for which we focus. For example, if you do not do root canals, then you do not have to show videos of root canals. Speaking to patients about the services we provide helps to spark their interest.
Another aspect I use frequently is the post-operative feature. For example, when someone comes in for a denture, we print out the CAESY PDF documents about dentures for our patients to take home. I’ve found giving patients the printed materials to study at home in addition to discussing next steps in the office adds a great amount of value.
Immeasurable benefits and end results
I recommend the CAESY patient education system to any dentist because it is an easy way to show patients the areas in which your practice specializes. I don’t believe dentists are out to hard sell patients into making decisions that are not right for them-we just want to accurately inform them and find solutions that best suit each patient.
Patient education software has undoubtedly increased case acceptance in my office. It is an invaluable yet subtle way of gaining the patient’s trust and encouraging a more personal relationship with him or her. A focus in my office is to have really good synergy between the information we provide with the patient education system while patients are in our office and the information they can subsequently find on our website.
No matter how progressive your office is when it comes to technology, a patient education system has a place in your practice. By utilizing a few subtle features, you can build better relationships with patients, expand their comprehension of the treatments you recommend and increase your case acceptance rate.
About the author
Dr. Kelly J. Blodgett practices in Portland, Ore., as a general dentist. For the past 15 years, Dr. Blodgett has pursued the practice of minimally invasive and holistic dentistry. His particular area of emphasis is on the practical integration of technology and interpersonal communication skills. He was the first dentist in the Portland area to offer minimally invasive procedures, such as VELscope oral lesion detection, LANAP regenerative periodontal therapy and pinhole gum rejuvenation. He enjoys an active lifestyle in the Northwest with his wife and two daughters, is a busy soccer coach and avid cyclist and actively plays music with a couple of bands playing either bass, guitar, keyboard and/or drums.