You are on page 1of 9

Exceptional Dental Practice Management

They don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

M. William Lockard, Jr, DDS: The Exceptional Dental Practice- Why Good Enough Isn't Good Enough
Discover Seven Systems For Creating the Practice of Your Dreams (*****)
Barry Polansky, DMD: The Art of the Examination
Why Patient Care Goes Beyond Clinical Correctness (*****)
Marc B. Cooper, DDS, MSD: Mastering Success
Mastering the business of practice. Not a HOW TO book, but a WHO TO book for success.

Marcus Buckingham: Now, Discover Your Strengths

Stephen R. Covey: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Jim Collins: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't

Tom Morris: True Success: A New Philosophy of Excellence


(*****)

Edward Horrell: The Kindness Revolution: The Company-Wide Culture Shift That Inspires Phenomenal
Customer Service
(*****)

The Arbinger Institute: Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box
(****)

Henry Cloud: Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality


(*****)

Tom Morris: If Aristotle Ran General Motors


(*****)
Ken Blanchard/Norman Vincent Peale: The Power Of Ethical Management

Brian Tracy: The Power Of Charm

Jack H. Grossman: Managing With Wisdom

Thomas V. Morris: The Stoic Art Of Living: Inner Resilience And Outer Results

Jack Canfield: The Success Principles

James C. Hunter: The World's Most Powerful Leadership Principle-How To Become a Servant Leader
The following is an article that I had published in the now closed Contemporary Dental Assisting magazine.
I've had a few e-mails lately asking about the PCC position. I thought I'd run it here in case any of you are
looking at this position for your practice. I will be speaking on this subject at the Florida National Dental
Convention in Orlando in June.

The Dental Assistant As Patient Care Coordinator

Clinical dental assisting has been around a long time and is gradually evolving into a profession that is dynamic
and multifaceted. When I started assisting in 1976, there was little for the assistant to do except set up and clean
rooms, take radiographs, and provide suction. Dentists that I worked with did not generally ask my opinion,
expect me to understand the procedures I was assisting with, or think that there was an opportunity for growth
within the profession. As a matter of fact, I don't know if I or they considered dental assisting a profession.

Fast-forward to today and dental assistants know and understand a wide variety of procedures and materials,
and must be able to discuss those procedures with patients and help them understand how the proposed
treatment can benefit them. We are human behavior specialists who need to be able to read the dentist's mood
on any given day and respond accordingly. We have to understand that patients act in certain, sometimes
unusual, ways when they are stressed and fearful, as they often are in the dental office. We must be able to
reassure the patient and help turn their fear into confidence in our skills and care for their well-being. Behind
the scenes we keep the equipment maintained, the supplies stocked, and the office immaculate. What else could
there be?

A new and exciting step for an experienced, well-trained, enthusiastic dental assistant is to become a patient
care coordinator (PCC). This position offers the practice the ability to extend even greater services to their
patients. The PCC escorts the new patient into the practice and is their advocate thereafter. The position can be
infinitely satisfying for a person who can get genuine gratification from having a positive impact on the patient.
The PCC lets patients know that they are viewed as unique individuals and will be cared for as such. The PCC
is also available to patients whenever they have questions or concerns about the proposed treatment or even
about financial considerations. Finally, the PCC dedicates his or her time and resources to working with
patients to help alleviate any fears, concerns, or misconceptions they have about their treatment. The PCC is the
icing on the cake and let's face it—what's a cake without the icing?

The PCC is also a great adjunct to the dentist. He or she is able to step in and take over with sensitivity at a
certain point in the dental process, allowing the dentist to go on practicing dentistry.

Which scenario sounds better? A dentist is stretched for time. He or she has to check up on hygiene, inject the
patient in room one, and finish the composite in room two. Now the dentist has to explain a complicated,
lengthy treatment plan as quickly as possible. Enter the PCC whose time is dedicated to helping the patient
understand the treatment that is recommended and why it is needed. The PCC can do what the dentist might
wish he or she had the time to do.

Progressive dentists are identifying people they know and trust to handle this important aspect of patient care.

PCC and Patient Interaction


What a PCC does exactly will probably vary according to the practice. The following is an example of how
things work in our office. When the new patient arrives in the office he or she is immediately greeted by name
by the receptionist, who then brings the patient's file to me. After reviewing the file, I greet the patient in the
reception area and invite him or her into my office for a preclinical visit. In my opinion, this is one of the most
important steps. It gives me a chance to get to know the patient and the patient to get to know and trust me and
the practice team.
I begin by asking open-ended questions about the patient. I also tell him or her about myself, the dentist, the
staff, and the practice. I ask about any good and bad experiences the patient has had in dentistry and what we
can do to help. We spend anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes on this part of the visit.

A few times it became apparent during this step that our practice was not the right choice for a particular
patient. Using the right questions and giving the pertinent information about the way we care for our patients, I
can help the patient come to the understanding that he or she might want to continue searching to find a practice
that fits his or her particular needs. For example, our practice is prevention oriented with an emphasis on
restorative dentistry. If during the preclinical phase of the initial visit it becomes clear that the patient is really
only interested in being seen on an emergency basis and has no interest in being active in our recall system,
then we are probably not the right practice. When I see this, I will explain to the patient that we do expect our
patients to come in for regular prophies and exams. We will usually agree that it would be better for the patient
to find dental care that better suits his or her individual desires. This saves the patient, the dentist, and the staff a
lot of frustration.

It is important to understand that you are not just giving the patient the impression that you care about him or
her, you must truly care or the impression won't last long.

Once we have completed the preclinical interview, I accompany the patient to the operatory. I then proceed to
chart existing conditions. This provides a great opportunity to educate the patient about his or her present oral
health. By explaining what I am seeing and how it can affect him or her and explaining the treatment options
available, the patient is better able to understand the dentist's diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

Once I have finished charting existing conditions and have made notes about what I see, I will talk to the dentist
for a few minutes and relate the patient's goals for his or her oral health, fears and anxieties if any, and past
dental experiences, good and bad. I also will be sure to let the dentist know what conditions I have mentioned to
the patient while charting. The dentist then goes in, spends some time getting to know the patient, and proceeds
with the exam.

This is where the importance of a well-trained PCC is evident. While carrying out the exam, the dentist will be
bringing up areas of concern that have already been introduced by the PCC. This reinforces the patient's
confidence in the practice and the diagnosis. The patient has already had time to absorb some of the information
and has started the process of accepting that treatment is needed. Now the patient is more receptive to the
dentist's recommendations because time has been spent carefully and thoroughly explaining the conditions and
options.

Next, I will take the necessary radiographs, study models, and diagnostic photos as prescribed by the dentist. If
the treatment plan is limited, I can go over fees with the patient at that time. If the treatment plan is lengthier,
the patient will be recalled for a consultation.

After I complete the comprehensive exam, the dentist and I review the findings together and organize a
treatment plan. I will then prepare a review of the findings and print out x-rays and information sheets pertinent
to the treatment being proposed. I also will be ready to suggest a few payment options. By the time the patient
returns for the consultation, I am prepared to discuss and explain the needed treatment. I have time to answer
questions patiently and continue to educate the patient about his or her oral health.

There are many creative options that I can suggest to help the patient find a way to afford the necessary
treatment. Once the patient decides to begin treatment, I help schedule a series of appointments, help track
everything, and remain available at any time.

Making a Difference
There is great satisfaction in being a PCC. You have a major impact on the patients you serve, the dentist, and
the practice. You are not only a caregiver, you become an educator. Most patients tell me that they have never
had such a thorough exam. I get to know the patients and understand them. Then I can share what I learn with
the rest of the team. I am using all the skill and knowledge I have developed over years of assisting in a new
and interesting way that benefits our practice and patients. I still assist clinically, too, so I truly believe I have
the best of both worlds. There is definitely a place for a PCC in any practice that wants to provide excellent
service and satisfaction to their patients. It requires an educated, experienced, caring, and dedicated person who
is confident in his or her abilities and wants to take a new professional direction. You can have a new
opportunity to make a difference.

Email this • Save to del.icio.us • Digg This!

Posted by Linda Zdanowicz on January 14, 2009 at 05:12 AM in Patient Care Coordinator | Permalink |
Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

| Digg This | Save to del.icio.us | Tweet This!


January 17, 2008
What Can A Patient Care Coordinator Do For You?

The benefit of the patient care coordinator (pcc) in today's dental practices is being recognized more and
more as dentists see how much they can add to the practice. Dentistry is unique in the health care community
in that the dentist still feels that he had to juggle so many areas of running a practice alone. Most medical
practices have these responsibilities broken down into job categories and even sub-categories. Dentistry is
starting to do this a little at the front desk. We're even starting to realize that the front desk assistant isn't
automatically an office manager. Clearing that up will free a lot of dentists from demands for higher salaries
from employees who have changed nothing except for their job title. But, that's a different post.

By designating a trusted, well-trained staff member to be the pcc, the dentist has a valuable hour to
concentrate on productive dentistry. He also has someone working at the same time to establish a trusting
relationship with a new patient. The pcc will welcome the new patient into the practice in a way that they
probably haven't experienced before. That is the beginning of the "Aha" experience that will make the patient
feel that your practice is different from anything they've experienced in any other office. I remember going to a
new dentist many years ago who was trying to make this "Aha" feeling happen, but in a superficial way. His
manner was not warm and welcoming, and neither was his staff's. After an impersonal initial meeting I was
handed a rose at the desk as I was leaving. It felt strange and I wondered why they bothered. The pcc is the
rose if she fulfills her role well. She finds out what the patient has experienced in the past and what they want
from you. She is able to share information about the practice, dentist and staff that leaves the patient excited to
meet you and be a part of your practice. When the patient leaves the office after that appointment they will
often tell their friends and family about the great new dental office they have discovered and urge them to see
for themselves. People like to find something great and share it with others.
By the time you enter the exam, she will have a thorough charting of existing conditions and a newly
educated patient waiting who is just dying to meet you. You enter as a new friend, rather than a dreaded, but
necessary new acquaintance. You will have the benefit of being briefed by the pcc about the patient and can
meet them in a more relaxed and congenial atmosphere. When the exam is finished, your pcc will input all the
data you've both acquired and organize it into a good review of findings. She will put together any materials
needed for a follow-up consult if necessary and in many cases, she will handle the consult and presentation of
the treatment plan. She can spend as much time as necessary answering the patient's questions and organizing
their appointments. She will work with them to find ways to make the treatment you have recommended fit
into their budget. Rather than having a patient who tells you that they really don't want to be here at every
appointment, you will have one who tells you they've never enjoyed coming to the dentist as much as they do
now.
The pcc enhances a great practice and helps improve a struggling one. It's a role that requires a dedicated,
experienced person, who is interested not only in helping to ensure a high quality new patient experience, but
who wants to pave the way to help others shine in their positions as well. The role of the pcc can be extremely
gratifying and beneficial for all.

Posted by Linda Zdanowicz on January 17, 2008 at 08:39 AM in Patient Care Coordinator | Permalink |
Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
| Digg This | Save to del.icio.us | Tweet This!
January 20, 2007
I Can't Help Myself

OK, here it is. It's my shameless plug for my first published article. Check it out here in Contemporary
Dental Assisting magazine. Dental assistants, pay special attention. This article is about patient care
coordinators. It's a position that is becoming more popular in dental practices and can be very rewarding for the
dentist, the assistant and the patient. I started out as an assistant in 1977. I took a decade and a half off to raise
some fantastic kids and went right back to the profession I love. I went back to school first and that was a great
idea. Then I was fortunate to go right to the perfect practice for me. It has been a journey filled with mountains
to climb and sometimes slide back down, mire to get bogged down in, sunshine to bask in and finally those
roses to smell, but without all of it, I wouldn't have the satisfying and exciting career that I have now. Because
I have looked for ways to apply what I've learned at the side of a master dentist, I am able to venture further
than the side of the chair. You can too, and you will see that there is more to assisting than you ever thought
there was. You just have to take some chances and try some new things. Read the patient care coordinator
article and see if that's something you might like to talk to your boss about. It's a completely new way to serve
your patients and your practice.

Posted by Linda Zdanowicz on January 20, 2007 at 11:34 AM in Patient Care Coordinator | Permalink |
Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

| Digg This | Save to del.icio.us | Tweet This!


January 14, 2007
Getting To Yes

Part of the responsibility of the patient care coordinator (pcc) is helping the patient understand the treatment
being recommended and how it can improve not only their oral health, but their over-all health as well. You
have to make the patient feel good enough about the treatment and what it will accomplish so that they can
accept the fee as fair and equitable. To do that you have to find out what your patient needs, what he wants and
what doesn't matter at all to him. Once you understand that, you have to understand the treatment your dentist
is recommending, what alternatives are available and why your dentist feels that one is better for this patient
than another. You and the dentist must sit down and exchange information. You need to share what the patient
has told you, what they are looking for and what their understanding of their conditions and the possible
treatments available are. Then you must listen carefully to the treatment the dentist is proposing, the reasons
that one treatment will be better for this patient than another and be sure that you understand every aspect of
what you are being told. There is a lot of responsibility to educate yourself on your own time so that you can
have an intelligent discussion of treatment options with your dentist. You can do this by reading dental journals
and going to continuing education. Don't wait for the dentist to provide everything along the way. Get on-line,
have him pass his periodicals on to you and visit specialists offices and shadow their staff for the day so you
can get an even greater understanding of what is available. Ask for the education you need and seek it out
yourself, as well.
Once you understand the treatment plan, take your time presenting the treatment, give the patient
opportunities to ask questions and state concerns and take those concerns seriously. Sometimes, people really
can only do a limited amount for now. Don't always think that no means never; many times it just means 'not
right now'. I have often seen patients say no to an implant retained lower denture only to return in a year to
have implants and attachments placed. They had to arrive at a place were they understood that they wanted
more because what they had wasn't satisfactory. Then they can really appreciate the improvement. The only
time I really come to a place where I feel like I may be pressuring the patient is if I see they are going to do
something that they will not be happy with and won't be able to reverse as easily. Then I tell them that I am
going to persist a little because I want them to understand the consequences of the treatment they are choosing.
Once I have given them that education, then I feel like my responsibility has been fulfilled. Once they see that I
truly care about their comfort and happiness, they are more likely to consider my comments seriously.
Keep in mind that people are different and their tolerance levels are varied. One person can go through most
of their adult life wearing dentures without complaint and another would do anything in their power to stay out
of them. A lot of that reaction depends on what the patient's experience has been. Patients who see most of
their relatives slip into dentures like a teenager slides behind the wheel of their first car may almost see it as a
right of passage, or almost inevitable. A few people have told me, "My grandmother had dentures, my mother
had dentures, so I always knew I'd get dentures. We all have soft teeth." This is all they know. It is the dental
team's job to debunk that belief. It is important to do that without making the patient feel ignorant or foolish.
You have to look at it as opening a window and showing them another view. Find out what's important to the
patient and address the ways that improved oral health can provide that for them. Then help them find ways
that they can afford it. I had a thirty year old tell me that she wanted all her maxillary teeth extracted. I told her
what her ridge would look like in thirty years and asked her what the most she could afford in monthly
payments would be. We then worked with a dental lending plan and realized that she could pay for the
treatment she needed in five years at that payment. I said, "At the end of the five years you will have your
teeth. If you have them extracted, at the end of five years you probably wouldn't have saved the money you'll
be spending and you will be wearing a denture." That made sense to her and made her see that she not only
could afford the treatment, but she was starting to feel hopeful about it. When patients want what you are
offering, getting to yes follows naturally.

Posted by Linda Zdanowicz on January 14, 2007 at 10:29 AM in Patient Care Coordinator | Permalink |
Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

| Digg This | Save to del.icio.us | Tweet This!


October 04, 2006
Treatment Plan Presentation

Presenting large treatment plans can be challenging. OK, downright nerve-wracking, sometimes. The best
defense is thorough preparation. You owe it to yourself, the patient and the dentist. Sit down with the dentist
before the presentation, preferably while he is doing the treatment plan, and talk about what the patient needs
and why they need it. Make sure you understand all aspects of treatment. Find out what is most urgent and if
treatment can be phased over a period of time.
Prepare information sheets that pertain to the needed treatment, print out photos and x-rays. Have a copy of
the treatment plan and fees. If you work with a financing company, have their brochure and fee schedule ready.
Place all this data in a folder that the patient can take home with them. Patients like this because it shows you
are thorough and organized and it helps them keep all the information together.
At the presentation, begin by showing the patient the x-rays and photos. Give a tooth by tooth tour of the
treatment plan and the fees associated with the treatment. Let them know how long the plan will take from
beginning to completion. If the patient has insurance and the treatment can be phased, suggest they begin
treatment this year and complete it at the beginning of the following year to maximize their insurance coverage.
Educate the patient about the benefits of receiving treatment and the consequences of delaying so that they want
the treatment and choose to proceed.
Treatment plan presentations are challenging but can be very satisfying. Finding creative ways to help a
patient understand how they can benefit from optimal oral health and discovering ways to afford it, you are
helping the patient in many ways. People who are in pain can feel better and enjoy their food more. Patients
who are ashamed of how their teeth look will begin to smile without hiding their mouth behind their hand. Try
to understand what your patient values and gear the discussion toward that. A healthy mouth and attractive
smile can improve the patient's life as well as their health. Being a part of making that happen is very
rewarding and provides an important service to the patient and the practice.

Posted by Linda Zdanowicz on October 04, 2006 at 10:08 PM in Patient Care Coordinator | Permalink |
Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

| Digg This | Save to del.icio.us | Tweet This!


September 26, 2006
The Ups and Downs of Being a Patient Care Coordinator

Being a patient care coordinator (pcc) can be a very fulfilling job. You get to spend a lot of time getting to
know your patients and can make a real difference in their attitude toward their oral health and dentistry. You
can promote your dentist and team to the patient so that they are excited to be in a place where everyone is so
great and works so well together. You get to have a lot of independence in your job as well and have many
opportunities for personal growth. Sounds great, doesn't it?
So what is the hard part? Well, I think for most people it is presenting treatment plans and discussing
financing. Everything can be going along great and then you have to tell a patient they need a lot more work
than they thought they did and it's going to cost a lot too. This is where the rubber meets the road and you have
to be able to think on your feet. Maybe you need to break down the treatment plan into smaller bites. Maybe
even spoon feed it a little at a time, all the while explaining why the treatment will benefit the patient. Don't get
anxious and don't get defensive or apologetic. The patient came to your practice for care and that is what you
are proposing to them. You may need to explain that they have a choice between optimal and adequate
treatment. All the while you must be educating the patient so that they know the benefits or consequences of
their choices. It is your responsibility to make sure you are prepared to answer their questions. Go over the
treatment plan with the dentist before the consult if there is anything you are not sure of.
How about payment? That's probably the biggest hurdle. Again, approach it as a business matter. You can
only tell them the fee and help them decide on the best method of financing. Don't hesitate to offer Dental Fee
Plan, Care Credit or any other financing source you work with. You may lose a percentage up front, but the
payment is in your hands at the beginning of treatment and it is better to give up a small percentage than to lose
the case altogether because the patient didn't have this option.
Do you get nervous or feel funny talking about these things? Then learn to act. Think about it, actresses in
plays are paid to be someone they are not in their normal lives. That's how they get their job done. Acting like
you're not nervous about talking to patients about treatment or fees is no different. You are getting your job
done. If you have a really bad case of nerves try using positive visualization. Picture yourself in the consult
with the patient calmly going over all the information. You can even picture the patient getting upset and
picture yourself calmly answering their questions and helping them calm down. It works, try it.
Being a pcc is something you grow with. You will be a much different pcc a year after you start then you
were when you began. You will learn different ways to problem solve and you learn how to interact effectively
with many different types of people. I was speaking to a friend recently about challenges in life and he told me
to be happy for big challenges because that's how you learn to handle big problems. Now, that's a great way to
look at it. Remember, you can choose to put a positive spin on any situation and come out a winner. Whenever
you face a situation that feels uncomfortable or uncertain that is the time to ask yourself what all your possible
responses are and what the outcome of each will be. Then choose positively.

Posted by Linda Zdanowicz on September 26, 2006 at 07:50 PM in Patient Care Coordinator | Permalink |
Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

| Digg This | Save to del.icio.us | Tweet This!


September 21, 2006
Patient Care Coordinator Wanted

The patient care coordinator (pcc) can really pull customer service together. Before that can happen, the
concept has to be accepted by the patients. A lot of this depends on the attitude of the pcc. First of all, she has
to believe in the job. She must approach it with the firm belief that every patient's experience in the practice
will be better because of what she does. Some of it is role playing, but most of it is commitment to the position.
Ask yourself this question: Is dentistry a calling or a business for me? If you want to be successful as a pcc, I
believe your answer must be that dentistry is your calling. You must love it and have a strong interest in the
profession to be effective. You must enjoy educating your patients and helping them understand what is going
on in their mouth and what they can do to help improve or maintain their oral health. You have to be patient
and have a thick skin.
You are the person who will be presenting treatment options and fees. Patients who came to the initial
consult saying they want to really improve their smiles can sometimes be downright angry when they find out
how much that will cost. They want to find a place to dump the anger and the disappointment that the treatment
they wanted might be more than they can afford. You're sitting right there across from them so you're the likely
dumping ground. Can you take it? You can if you put it into perspective and don't take it personally. That part
is just business. Let them blow and let it flow right past you. Commiserate but don't suck it in and hold on to
it. They're not mad at you, they're just mad.
I learned this from a mistake I made. Sometimes, discussions about a large cosmetic case can be like a
fencing match. In a fencing match the opponents approach, put forth an effort, retreat, and come back and try
again till someone dominates. When discussing fees and treatment patients can sometimes be unreasonable,
emotional, aggressively assertive and even desperate. It's important to see it for what it is and not become
emotionally attached to the maneuverings or the outcome. Remember that the goal is for the patient to be
served. Your personal feelings must be put into perspective. It's not about you. That can be extremely
difficult. Some consults can be exhausting and you can feel like you've taken a beating. Patients may decide
that if they are going to pay such a high fee that they want to talk to the dentist, not his "flunkie". Yes, they
might actually say that. And you can't let it get to you, it's really not personal. You could put great effort and
much time into a case presentation only to have that happen and then the patient may accept the case after
talking to the dentist for five minutes. He may say exactly what you said, too. You know what? They just
want to hear it from him. They want him to "earn" their money. Now here's the hard part. You have to choose
whether to feel resentful or whether to just be happy that the patient will be served and the practice will benefit
as well. Choose to be happy, I know, resentful doesn't work.
The position of pcc has more rewards than heartaches. When you think of the difference you can make by
having the right attitude and commitment you will love coming to work every day. One of the most important
abilities you must develop is the ability to hold your own counsel. You must be able to perform rapid and
accurate self-examination and discipline yourself to always do the right thing. Self indulgence doesn't work if
you want to be in this position. This attitude can be developed. The work is hard but the rewards are great. Do
you have what it takes? It's not a job for people who can't think on their feet. You must be able to field
questions but you must also be able to admit what you don't know and make it your business to get the needed
information. It's all about comittment, care and the desire to serve. Leave your ego at the door, it's all about the
patient.

Posted by Linda Zdanowicz on September 21, 2006 at 10:38 PM in Patient Care Coordinator | Permalink |
Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

| Digg This | Save to del.icio.us | Tweet This!


August 26, 2006
Patient Care Coordinator, What's That?

Good question! A patient care coordinator (pcc) is the concierge of the health care practice. The role this
person plays can vary from practice to practice. I am the pcc in our practice so I'll tell you what I do.
When a new patient comes into the practice I am the first clinical person they interact with. Since we send
them a new patient packet to fill out before they get to the office and a self-addressed envelope to return it with,
I usually have some info about them ahead of time. Many times we also have their records and x-rays from
their previous dentist, as well. So now I know a little about them already. When they arrive, I greet them in the
reception area and escort them to my office. Sometimes they look a little wary of this change from what
they've been used to so I explain that I like to get to know them as people a little before trying to see what their
oral health is like. They usually like that idea and start to relax. We usually spend about 20 minutes talking
and getting to know each other. This develops a rapport that sets the tone for how they feel about the practice.
It is during this time that I can find out about their past experiences, their fears, preferences and desires for their
oral health. With their permission, I take notes that will be shared with the rest of the team.
Next we move into the operatory where I can chart their existing conditions and tell them what those
conditions can mean and what the dentist may suggest as treatment. We will talk about how different
treatments or lack of treatment can affect or improve their conditions and what the outcome can be. I am
continuously educating the patient and letting them know that we want them to understand what we are seeing
and suggesting. By the time the dentist comes in to diagnose and suggest treatment he has a patient that
understands what he is telling them and is able to make an informed decision about their oral care. The patient
is also enthusiastic about the dentist because the pcc obviously thinks highly of him and has mentioned some of
his achievements. The pcc is able to humanize the dentist for the patient before they ever meet and that sets a
better tone for their relationship right from the start. By the time the dentist enters the room the patient has
gotten past most of their nervousness and is anxious to meet this great person.
It doesn't end when the patient leaves the practice. The pcc will record all the information gathered during
both the preclinical and clinical portions of the new patient exam. Patient preferences will be entered into the
record and the rest of the team will have the info before them when they meet the patient for the first time. The
patient doesn't have to repeat the same info to each new person. This makes them feel cared for and that the
staff is really interested in them.
I will also prepare any materials I will need for the consult appointment to present the doctor's treatment
plan. I will prepare a review of the doctor's findings and have info sheets ready to share with the patient. I will
place all of that along with the treatment plan in a folder with my business card attached. My business card has
my e-mail address on it so that the patient can reach me that way if they prefer. During the consult I can answer
most questions the patient can think of. On the occasion that I am stumped, I admit it and excuse myself to
confer with the dentist. We also discuss payment options at the consult and set up a series of appointments.
Before the patient leaves I assure them that they can call me anytime if they have questions or concerns. I am
able to develop a special bond with the patients and really enjoy getting to facilitate their care.
A pcc can add a lot of value to a practice. It takes dedication, caring and a genuine interest in people. You
also need to know your stuff. If patients see that you know what you are talking about and really care about
them as a whole person, not just a mouth with teeth in it, they will trust you and believe in the practice.

Posted by Linda Zdanowicz on August 26, 2006 at 05:20 AM in Patient Care Coordinator | Permalink |
Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

| Digg This | Save to del.icio.us | Tweet This!


August 05, 2006
PATIENT CARE WHAT?

Watch for my first article titled Patient Care Coordinators to be published in the November issue of
Contemporary Dental Assisting magazine.

Sorry, I just found out that this article will not be published until next July. Please feel free to e-mail me if you
have any questions concerning patient care coordinators.