Do You Know Your Patient’s Philosophy?

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

Do You Know Your Patient’s Philosophy?

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We all have five natural resources: Time, Energy, Money, Opportunities, and Gifts.

And each of us is unique in terms of how much of these resources we have available, as well as how we choose to leverage them to advance ourselves, our values and our priorities. Consequently, we can learn a lot about ourselves and others by simply observing how these five resources are utilized over time.

This concept applies to our patients as well. Does their resource utilization pattern indicate that they value their total personal health? Do they seem to value their dental health specifically? Do they see a relationship between the two? Have they had an opportunity to see the relationship between the two? And consequently, is their personal philosophy toward health well aligned with your practice’s mission? And if not, is there still an opportunity for you to facilitate a change in their philosophy – and therefore their decisions and behavior?

At one point Bob Barkley decided that he was no longer going to share HIS philosophy with his patients until he first understood THEIRS. He recognized that he had influence over other people’s behavior only when he was able to establish a healthy collaborative relationship with them first. And to this point he famously stated, “Build your relationships first – then your dentistry.”

This is why observing, and occasionally probing the “why” behind how patients spend their time, energy, money, opportunities, and gifts is key.

If an individual is more loyal to their insurance plan than to your opinions, it makes a philosophical statement. If an individual has no time or desire to learn more about their dental health, it makes a philosophical statement. If an individual trusts your judgment and proceeds with your recommendations, it makes a philosophical statement.

And if we dial the view of an entire practice back to that of the Care Team’s general behavior, it also makes a statement. That statement is reflective of the practice’s philosophy – how it chooses to spend its time, energy, money, opportunities, and gifts.

What is your Practice Philosophy? Have you spent time clarifying it together as a Team? And do you take the time to understand your patient’s philosophy toward dentistry? Finally, how does your philosophy influence their philosophy?

Paul A. Henny, DDS

Thought Experiments LLC, ©2018

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