How to get your patients to accept your treatment plans

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How to get your patients to accept your treatment plans


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Debra Engelhardt-Nash is author of ‘Increasing Production and Case Acceptance,’ an e-book. (Photos: Fred Michmershuizen, DTA)
Kristine Colker, DTA

By Kristine Colker, DTA

Thu. 17 March 2016


ATLNTA, Ga., USA: Getting patients to accept treatment plans can sometimes be a tricky proposition. But thanks to a new e-book, “Increasing Production and Case Acceptance,” written by practice management consultant Debra Engelhardt-Nash, the process just got a little bit easier. The e-book was being distributed at the Hinman Dental Meeting by Dentrix in the Henry Schein Practice Management Solutions booth.

Presented in an easy-to-read format with sections covering such themes as “Influencing Case Acceptance,” “Communicating Trust,” “Presenting Your Case,” “Talking About Money” and “Monitoring Results,” the e-book contains practical advice that can easily be implemented, a sidebar full of tips that can be quickly reviewed and suggestions for dialogue that dental teams can use to create their own patient conversations.

“Dentists spend most of their time in dental school learning the clinical aspects of providing care, but dentists and their teams spend only 15 percent of their time in clinical application and 85 percent of their time communicating with patients,” Engelhardt-Nash said. “I wrote the e-book to help doctors and their team members understand the importance of communicating appropriately and effectively so they can do the type of dentistry they were trained to do.”

Engelhardt-Nash has a lot of experience in the area of practice management, as well as in the dental office itself. In the early 1970s, she was a high school fine arts instructor bemoaning bond issues being voted down and fine arts programs such as drama and music being eliminated from public schools. As fate would have it, she addressed this state of affairs to her dentist at the time, who told her, “You would be great in a dental office.”

That led to her being trained to be a dental assistant and eventually moving to the business office of a practice. When the dentist she worked for sold his practice and moved away, she worked for another dentist who was part of a four-man solo group practice. She eventually became the administrator for the group until she was recruited to become a consultant for a large consulting firm in 1982.

In 1985, Engelhardt-Nash started her own consulting company. Thirty years later, she is still offering multitudes of helpful tips and advice to clinicians throughout the country, including with the new e-book.

Engelhardt-Nash, who calls the e-book “a practical guide to presenting treatment and discussing financial arrangements,” said she appreciates Dentrix for sponsoring the book for the dental community.

“Patients will never choose your ideal treatment plan unless you tell them what it is,” she said. “Take the time to give them the information they need to choose the care that is appropriate for them.”

At the meeting in Atlanta, Engelhardt-Nash presented two courses, “The New Patient Experience: From Phone Call to Recall” and “Your Practice Health: Numbers Matter.”


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