The Dental Health Review
In the concluding episodes of The 100% Growth System I’m moving away from automation and towards those “orange ellipses” on The Lifecycle Marketing Workflow.
Namely, things that the people in your practice need to perfect.
Reference back to the workflow will remind you that the contribution made by your team begins before a prospective new patient visits your web site or contacts the practice for the first time:
- Word of Mouth requests
- Networking in your local community on a B2B or B2C basis
- Collecting stories and testimonials from other team members and happy patients whose lives you have changed
The team contribution then begins in earnest with:
- Front Desk
- Completion of internal web forms
- Consultations (with The Smile Check)
- Treatment planning
- Managing the treatment plan pipeline
- Delivery of Treatment
So in this penultimate episode I want to discuss the first of 2 post-treatment systems that are critical to the success of your 100% Growth.
The Dental Health Review is sometime colloquially known as the “hygiene pop-in” system and has been around in dentistry since the 1960’s.
Other practices have given the system alternative names over the years but I’m going to stick with DHR for the rest of this post.
My own first encounter with a practice using the DHR system was back around 2001 with Meneage Dental in Helston, Cornwall, where Pete Hodgkinson, Carrie Bradburn and the team had been using the system since the early 1990’s.
Proof for me that “it could be done” in a small market town, alongside competing practices who were fixed in the old ways.
Let me summarise the main characteristics of a good DHR system.
Most patients visit the practice twice a year.
They book one appointment in the hygienists chair (for the purposes of this post for hygienist include therapist).
That appointment can be 30-minutes nurse assisted up to 45-minutes where the hygienist is working without assistance.
The patient arrives in reception to be greeted by the front desk team, then personally escorted to the surgery by the hygienist or nurse.
The hygienist conducts a preliminary conversation with the patient, going through The Smile Check and asking if the patient has any particular concerns or issues to be discussed.
Where necessary, the hygienist will take x-rays and intra-oral images.
The dentist will arrive around 10 minutes into the appointment.
The hygienist will “present” the patient as a junior doctor would present to a consultant in a hospital.
The dentist will then examine the patient more closely if there are any clinical issues and engage the patient in conversation.
If treatment is required, the dentist will ask the hygienist/patient to book themselves in for an appointment with the dentist, usually within a few days.
If there is interest in a particular cosmetic procedure, this could be prefaced by a meeting with the TCO.
The dentist will leave after 10 minutes.
The hygienist will conclude the DHR.
Meanwhile, back in the dentist’s chair…….
A patient arrived at the top of the hour for treatment.
At around the 10-minute mark, the dentist leaves the patient with the nurse attending – to visit the hygienist’s surgery – and is back 10-minutes later.
This happens at 10 past and 20 to the hour if the hygienist is working on a 30-minute DHR cycle.
I assume that by now you will begin to see the picture.
At this point, when I discuss the DHR with a new practice…
Howls of protest from all concerned – front desk, hygiene/therapy, associates and Principals who begin a well-known mantra of:
- We could never work like that.
- It will never work in this post code.
- My patients have been coming to see me for years and would never agree.
And so on.
My response to which is “would you like to visit a practice who are already doing this?” and then to buddy them with a similar practice in a similar location.
Why the buddy system? Because nobody is going to believe a non-clinical consultant when it comes to such a sea-change.
But they will believe a fellow practitioner who has done it.
The DHR system doesn’t work all the time – some patients visit the hygienist and the dentist is delayed – and so you have to offer them a separate dental appointment.
Not every patient does accept and you will have to accommodate some die-hards.
You cannot do DHR’s when the dentist is in the middle of complex delivery – so you may well need to zone the book.
The lynchpin in this is a good reception team who can manage the ebb and flow of people.
The benefits are huge.
The biggest of them is the ability for the Principal to focus on their best work – with a corresponding and significant increase in average daily production – which will have the biggest effect on the bottom line of the business.
The patients love the idea of one visit – one chair.
You can reduce the cost of your membership plan (of which more on Friday).
I could go on – Sheila Scott writes about the system with finesse in her book Putting Health at the Heart of your Practice (2014) – CLICK HERE.
The DHR makes huge difference when successfully implemented, the team do eventually come round – and the majority of patients love it.
Tactic #13 – Use The Dental Health Review System
Summary so far of The 100% Growth System
Tactic #1 – hold accountability meetings face to face with your SEO, Digital and Direct Marketing providers EVERY MONTH AND PREFERABLY FACE TO FACE and ask them the golden question.
Tactic #2 – lead your team in actively asking for emails, social connections, testimonials, referrals and networking invitations
Tactic #3 – The Lifecycle Marketing Workflow
Tactic #4- create White Paper downloads on your web site for all of the major treatment modalities that you wish to broadcast
Tactic #5 – embed White Paper offers into your existing email newsletters
Tactic #6 – complete internal web forms for all new patient enquiries and up-sales to existing patients
Tactic #7 – create reactivation sequences for dormant treatment plans.
Tactic #8 – create a CRM software-based recall system that encourages up-sales and referrals
Tactic #9 – get trained and adept with Digital Treatment Planning
Tactic #10 – implement The 12-Point Recommendation Checklist
Tactic #11 – demonstrate Passion and Leadership on a daily basis
Tactic #12 – use The Smile Check
Tactic #13 – Use The Dental Health Review System