A Practice Philosophy is Key

Build your relationships first….then your dentistry. ~ Bob Barkley

A Practice Philosophy is Key

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Dental practices which fail to clearly communicate their Philosophy of Care force their patients into making decisions based primarily on the empirical evidence available to them at the moment.

This is because without the big picture that a clearly and simply communicated philosophy can paint, the patient will be unable to put what they are learning into the proper context. Evidence without a related philosophy lacks significant meaning, and may be acquired from you, the internet, or the guy on the street. And this is why decisions for patients under these circumstances are so difficult and often confusing for them. The evidence available to the patient (from their perspective) appears to be full of fog because it often contains cognitive distortions, misinformation, and distractions.

A practice Philosophy is the WHY, and the WHY is the compelling narrative which brings meaning to the HOW. And when only empirical evidence is available to drive a decision, the patient is forced to focus on HOW MUCH (time, energy, inconvenience, discomfort) and WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR THIS? …All left brain thinking….all non-creative problem solving…all here-and-now oriented rather than future-focused. And all therefore – limiting and likely to lead toward a non-optimal decision.

Clearly communicating Philosophy is the key to turning this corner. It is what Aristotle referred to as “Ethical Proof”, which must be present along with emotional and logical proofs – particularly when a complex and expensive decision must be made.

But here is the catch: A practice philosophy is a useless piece of paper if it is not owned and lived by every member of the Care Team. It must be LIVED. The Team must BE IT, and not just SAY IT. Most patients are smart enough to sense incongruity between the message and the messenger, and when they do, they decline…they pause… the defer. BEING IT is only possible through lot of team Building and clarity, and BEING IT is the only pathway to success.

Einstein famously said: “If you can’t explain something simply, than you don’t understand it enough.” And sometimes explaining it at the right moment just takes a nod, a smile, or a hug, because the helping relationship – the vehicle through which the philosophy was already communicated – had already been built.

Understand that, and you are well in your way to experiencing a fun and fulfilling health-centered practice.

Paul A Henny, DDS

Thought Experiments LLC, ©2017

Read more at www.codiscovery.com

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