Why the patients story is the biggest thing you need to pay attention to

I am continuing to pinch myself at the moment as I celebrate 10 years in business. A business that was born out of Treatment Coordination and now supports practices whole-heartedly with the patient experience and business development. So for this post I wanted to share with you an aspect of the role that is vital to its success.

For me the portfolio of pre and post pictures was the most powerful thing that we displayed in practice; the most powerful tool I had as a Treatment Coordinator. It was not merely a case of showing the photographs it was a case of telling the real story associated to the photos I was showing. I was not showing teeth ‘a case’ pre or post ops, I was telling a story about a real patient, the patient in these photographs.

When I work with new TCOs building a portfolio is always top of the list prior to training, this in itself can be a laborious task. Photos are still on cards, unknown teeth are displayed and it is a minefield to work through. Some are luckier than others, as photos have been downloaded but where everyone struggles is in the creation of a verbal proof story. This shows that the TCO role is vital in the practice – if no-one knows the story of the teeth from the jpeg, this shows that no-one has been listening in the first instance.

My role as a TCO was to spend an hour with the patient via a free consultation. In this time I was doing a huge amount of listening, I was listening to the story of the patient, understanding their motivating factors and goals.

If that patient went ahead with treatment and agreed to be a case study I therefore knew their story, I knew where they started as a person not as a set of teeth (or in some cases no teeth).

We also had outstanding end of treatment systems that meant that I could find out how the patient had benefitted from treatment and bring those benefits to the finale of their story.

Stories can never be fabricated, and stories must be learnt by the entire team, but most importantly the story of the patient should be at the heart of everything you do for them.

If you are not currently focused on taking pre-op photographs and using stories while showing post-op photographs try for one week to implement both and you will see it will pay dividends. If as a dentist you are thinking that the time restraint is too much then you need to look at developing the Treatment Coordinator role into your business, as having a portfolio of cases with real stories attached to them is one of the most powerful things you can do to showcase your clinical abilities and validate what you really do as a Dentist.


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