A thing I see very regularly at dental practices is the dentist out the front doing the handover of the patient to the front office employee.
And when I see this I know what I am seeing is wrong on so many levels.
In The Ultimate Patient ExperienceTM, the Post-Appointment Handover of the patient is best performed by the dental assistant who has just worked with the dentist on that patient.
And not the dentist.
Some dentists choose not to follow my advice and choose to do the handover themselves while their dental assistant is tearing down the treatment room and is setting it up for the next patient.
And that’s a valid reason.
There are better uses of the dentist’s time than to be out the front handing over the patient.
The dentist could be writing notes?
The dentist could be reviewing correspondence?
And in reality, the dental practice could easily employ an extra team member at a nominal hourly rate to do the room teardown and set up while the assisting dental assistant transfers the patient to the front office.
What can go wrong if the dentist does the handover?
When the dentist performs the handover, he may rush the process, and the urgency of the patient’s treatment, along with the reasons for the following appointments may not be addressed properly.
A great handover takes time.
Because a great handover follows a process.
Secondly, when the dentist performs the handover at the front office, there is a good chance that because he hasn’t needed to handover to the dental assistant [as per The Ultimate Patient ExperienceTM] then this could well be the first time that the patient has HEARD the reasons why they need to return.
And what I have found is that the more times that the patient hears something, the more chance there is that the reasons will “sink in” and be acted upon and will not be misunderstood or forgotten.
And so two times is better than one time.
Another thing that can happen when the dentist takes the patient to the front is, that if the front office person is busy [on the phone or with another patient], then the dentist has to decide whether to stay and wait with the patient, or DUMP the patient and run.
Dumping and running is not a good look for the dentist or for the practice.
And standing and waiting is a very poor use of the dentist’s time.
The dentist could also become sidetracked or even become CAPTURED while at the front desk, and not be allowed to return to the treatment areas.
This is also a very poor use of the dentist’s time.
Are you a hoverer?
What I often also see is I see the dentist bring the patient to the front office area, but the dentist APPEARS on the internal side of the front desk, while the patient is made to stand on the “outside” side of the front desk area.
Firstly, this creates a TWO VS ONE approach at the desk with the patient being the ONE and the dentist and the receptionist being the TWO.
This is wrong.
The patient should always have the team member on their side of the desk, because of the subliminal meaning of care created by having the carer handing the patient over to the front office employee.
Also, what I often see dentists doing is the CROUCH AND HOVER at the front desk, where for some reason, the dentist believes that he [the dentist] can now take over the computer and the appointment book, despite the fact that there is an able bodied employee sitting right there performing that role admirably.
I see no logical explanation for dentists to behave in this manner.
What really should happen…
Ultimately, what really should happen is that the dentist should have two operatories where he finishes treatment in one room with one patient, and then goes straight into the second room where is next patient is seated and is ready to begin treatment.
He has correctly farewelled the patient in the first room and completed his ULTIMATE HANDOVER of the patient to the dental assistant in there.
That dental assistant then takes the patient to the front office and hands the patient over to the front office person.
When the dentist enters room number two, the second Dental assistant has seated their patient and is engaged in light conversation with that patient.
Doing things this way is THE MOST PRODUCTIVE USE of the dentist’s time.
Doing things this way creates an ULTIMATE DENTAL HANDOVER in your dental practice.
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