I interview Joseph Field, DDS, FAGD, FAAID, FICOI, DABOI/ID, who has three practices in Los Altos, CA. We discuss marketing high-end dentistry, a range of high-tech treatments, mastering teledentistry, building an unassailable practice culture, and more. This one’s dense with valuable stuff!
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The conventional wisdom in dentistry has been that we have to physically see the patient. But during this crisis, virtually all practices are only seeing emergencies. And what we’re finding is that a significant percentage of dental emergency patients can be treated with teledentistry. (For a video on this topic, go to: https://youtu.be/_amZ7qjfUxc )
Treating Dental Emergencies with Teledentistry
Let me stress this first. It is your civic duty as well as your professional one to see emergency patients during this crisis. I’ll give you three key reasons why:
Your patient won’t get their dental problem solved in the ER;
The ER’s are already overwhelmed, and don’t need dental emergencies on top of it;
Your patient could possibly leave the ER with the coronavirus, with an immune system that is already compromised because of their dental problem.
The ER is not where you want your own patients to be going. You have sterilization procedures to protect yourself, but now you have the ability to do teledentistry, triage those patients and be compensated for it.
There are a number of options out there for teledentistry, and the one I’ve found with the most comprehensive solution is offered by PatientPop. It is a cloud-based system that works directly with your PMS, streamlining the process.
Here’s how PatientPop Telehealth works:
The patient contacts the office or uses the practice website to make an online tele-appointment;
The dentist or team member can update the patient history or, if it is a new patient, get that history input right then, as well as their insurance information;
The dentist uses HD video to see and diagnose the patient, with a side chat to share images and interact;
If the patient needs a prescription, it can be done right there in the app;
You can collect the payment right there within the app;
You can do electronic charting of all the information, sending it straight in to your PMS.
We now have teledentistry codes, D9995 and D9996. You can charge between $75 and $150 for a consultation that may only take five or ten minutes. And then only bring in the patients into the office that need immediate treatment. You can also determine during the telehealth call if the patient is a COVID-19 risk to the practice, and take extra precautions.
You can use your patient communication software such as RevenueWell or PatientPop’s own system to notify all your patients that you are available for emergencies and can do teledentistry. This is powerful. Your patients will feel cared for, and you can keep them out of the emergency room, which is not where they would want to go now anyway.
Treating emergencies during this crisis is also a chance to attract new patients. At this time, 1-800-DENTIST is fielding tens of thousands of emergency calls a day, and have created a temporary membership that is emergencies only. These are people who don’t have a dentist. Take care of them, and turn them into long term patients. For more information about 1-800-DENTIST’s emergency program, go to www.Futuredontics.com.
PatientPop’s program is extremely affordable, and can pay for itself with just a few patient calls. It is also very easy to learn and install. You can be up and running in half an hour. I encourage you to take a demo of PatientPop Telehealth, for the sake of your revenue, your patients, and the medical industry that is so overwhelmed right now.
Full disclosure, I am an advisor to PatientPop. But I only advise companies with services or products that I think bring real value to my friends in the dental industry. I also am an advisor for PatientPrism for the same reason. And I no longer have any financial interest in 1-800-DENTIST.
Thank you for all you do in health care. You can make a huge difference on the impact of this crisis.
In the retail business, everyone pretty much agrees that Apple is king. And one of the first things you notice when you buy an Apple product is the beautiful, brilliantly designed packaging for every single product. In fact, I know some people who collect the boxes just because they are so impressive they can’t bring themselves to throw them out.
There are plenty of businesses owners and product manufacturers who would say, “That’s nice for Apple, but I can’t afford that.” And that makes perfect sense if you don’t want to be considered the best, and just want to be the cheapest or an average product.
What’s this got to do with dentistry? Everything. Your “packaging” is your entire office: your reception area, your scrubs, your operatories, your bathroom, your signage, your parking lot, your website and your social media pages. All of it tells patients how they should rank your value against other things they spend money on.
The fact is that Apple products, from a technical standpoint, are seldom the absolute best in the market. There are better phones, bluetooth headphones, tablets, laptops and computers out there. But there aren’t any that look better or come in a more appealing box. On top of that, Apple gets more money for their products, even though they are not the best. And they also never discount their products, when everyone else in the marketplace does, often on the first day of release. (And they’re also the second most valuable company in the world.)
Please don’t misconstrue this as telling you that you don’t have to be a good dentist clinically if you have a great-looking office. That’s hardly the point. What I’m saying is, don’t go to all the trouble to create a superior product, i.e., your clinical dentistry, and then do an average job of packaging it.
By all means, be a great practitioner, get loads of CE, and use all the latest technology that gives your patients the highest quality treatment possible. But don’t ignore the box it all comes in. Renovate your reception, get nice designer scrubs with your logo on them, and make the entire office pristine and well designed, from lighting to the wall colors. And make every aspect of your digital presence the highest quality.
And remember also that your team is your packaging: their smiles, their attitude, their helpfulness, caring and integrity, that’s all your packaging too. It all matters. It matters in case acceptance, loyalty, and getting your patients to refer you. And just like Apple, you won’t have to offer discounts to attract patients.
So pay attention to all of it, and maybe someday you’ll even have people lined up outside your office, just like an Apple store!
One of the things I try to emphasize in dental marketing is that a dental practice is too small a group of people to have even one person who’s not pulling in the same direction as the rest of the team.
The challenge starts with hiring, but it doesn’t end there. At the same time, if you hire wrong–either the person doesn’t fit the culture or doesn’t have a great attitude, then there isn’t any fixing that. Treatment plan: extraction.
But if there is a team member who isn’t participating fully and supporting the culture, then the need becomes how to grow the employee. This most often means teaching them the importance of the proper attitude, the need to effectively “sell” dentistry for the patient’s benefit, and the need to be positive and supportive of the team. And they also have to understand the importance of the practice culture and core values.
How does that happen? With good coaching it can definitely be achieved. I have also discovered that a significant number of the dentists who’ve read my books have started a study club with the team, where they all read the book a chapter at a time and then discuss it together, and apply the changes that they agree on, both to themselves and to the marketing of the practice.
This can be highly effective, but only if the team reads. Which a lot of people don’t anymore. They watch videos. So I decided to create the material so that practices can get everyone literally and figuratively on the same page. To that end, I just completed a video course entitled, “Creating the Remarkable Dental Practice.”
This course is an eight-week course, with four 20-minute videos in each weekly module, so that the team can watch them together and then talk about what they’ve learned and how they want to apply it to the practice. The course spans everything from the ideal practice mindset, to hiring and training, social media strategy and finally how to effectively advertise and promote your practice.
If you want to succeed in the years to come, you need a remarkable team creating a remarkable patient experience. My goal is to help you create that with as many tools as I can provide.
The course is $997, but to my faithful blog subscribers I’m offering a 20% discount. Just use the coupon code FREDBLOG when ordering. I think it will transform your practice, and if it doesn’t, it comes with a money-back guarantee. So jump on it, as the discount ends when the whim strikes me!
Here’s a sample video from the course. It’s on practice culture.
I was lucky enough to see a presentation by Dr. Wayne Kerr earlier this year and frankly I was blown away. Wayne’s tales of success and failure from his 35+ year career in dentistry had me laughing hard and seriously rethinking a lot of what I thought I knew about how to succeed as a solo practitioner. I’m thrilled to tell you that Wayne is my special guest for an all-new webinar tomorrow.
“Winning the Long-Game in Dentistry” is filled with humor, great insights and proven business principles that improve lives, practices and financial health. I hope you can join us. A good time is guaranteed, especially during the live Q&A session. It’s going to be a wild one. Click here to register.