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to Dental Practice Solutions

Welcome to dentistry’s largest dental hygiene practice management resource center! We are the leading dental hygiene consultant/coaching business.

We will increase your TOTAL dental practice profitability without working more hours or days each year.

- Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS, Speaker, Author. Dental Hygiene Coach & Consultant

Dental Practice Solutions - Debbie Bittke

Keep Patients Returning to Their Dental Hygiene Appointments

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

March 26, 2015

Patient and RDH Think back to your last visit to Nordstrom. What type of service did they provide?

Did you see value in their services? Do their clothes and the way you are treated make you feel special; like you are fit to be King or Queen?

Personally, I prefer to shop at Nordstrom because I know I receive quality products and great customer service.   The results are that it makes me look and feel great! I especially like the way I am treated and valued as a customer.

Just like customer service is key; value propositions will keep your patients coming back to your office for a lifetime.

What is a value driven proposition?

Simply put, value driven propositions are what keep your patients returning to your dental office for their appointments. And, it especially means they will keep their routine dental hygiene appointments.

Offering your patients value driven propositions:

  • explains how your services will improves their specific dental situation
  • delivers specific benefits (this adds to the value),
  • tells your patients why they should continue returning to your dental office

During this month of March I have been sharing tips to reduce cancellations. Many of you have asked what words will add value.

Below is a list of words and phrases you can use to add value:

  • Optimal Oral Health
  • Preventive Care
  • Periodontal Maintenance
  • Inflammation
  • Disease
  • Bleeding Gums
  • Healthier and Longer Life
  • Loose teeth
  • Jaw pain
  • Eliminate grinding

While the dental hygiene patient is seated upright in the chair, explain what you will be doing (before you recline them back in the chair) during their time in the office and use some of the above words. These words and phrases are suggestions that add value to the patients’ appointment. (This is just a short list with examples.) Talk with your team to gain insight into what other words you can use to add value and benefits to patient appointments.

Here is one example of how benefits for returning to the hygiene appointment is driven by benefits.  Dentist and Patient eye to eye

Hygienist Susan: “Mrs. Jones, today we will complete your periodontal maintenance appointment. As I reivew your medical history, I see that are taking insulin for your Diabetes. Did you take your insulin today? That’s great! I want to commend you for continuing to return for your routine periodontal maintenance appointments. This is what helps maintain optimal oral health and a longer, healthier life.

In a few minutes I will recline you back in the chair and begin the periodontal exam. As you may remember, you will hear me call out those numbers. When you hear me say numbers like 1 thru 3 this means your gums are healthy. If I call out a 4 this is a sign of inflammation. If I call out a 5 or higher, as you may remember, these are numbers that relate to periodontal (gum) disease. If you hear me say bleeding point, this is not good. It means that you have active disease. Healthy gums do not bleed.”

During this communication with the patient, imagine how the hygienist has set up the patient to engage with her during the hygiene periodontal exam. This is an example of “co-diagnosis” between the hygienist and the patient. They are developing a partnership during the patients service today.

Other value driven propositions may sound like this: (Imagine now that it is the end of the dental hygiene appointment. Below is what it may sound like.)

“Mrs. Jones, It was great to see you today and congratulations on an excellent periodontal maintenance appointment today! As recommended by the American Academy of Periodontolgy, patients with diabetes and especially with a diagnosis of periodontal disease, need to return at least every 3 months for a periodontal maintenance appointment. This is where we re-evaluate the health of your gums and provide treatment to create healthy teeth and gums.  The latest science and research says that we can even reverse diabetes. At the very least, routine periodontal maintenance appointments support  status-quo with patients who have a diagnosis of diabetes. sThis means that you can live a long and healthy life. I can see you on Thursday July 16th at 11 am, for your next periodontal maintenance apppointment. Will that work for you?”

Do you see how the hygienist complimented the patient, keeping a positive environment in what can many times be  a stressful environment?

Susan, the hygienist, also gave a valuable reason for her patient  to return for future routine periodontal maintenance appointments. Susan also explained the benefits of why it is important for Mrs. Jones to return in 3 months.

What words to you use in your patient appointments that add value and benefits for patients returning to your office?

Do you want to know more about ways to reduce cancellations? Grab our free eBook here: Reduce Cancellations and Increase Profits

About Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

In 2000, Debbie founded Dental Practice Solutions, a dental practice management business focused on creating profitable dental hygiene departments, as well as improving the total bottom line of the dental practice. She has been named as one of Dentistry Today’s Top Consultants for 10 years in  row!

Debbie is a former clinical assistant professor at University of Southern California where to taught the senior dental hygiene students skills to treat periodontal patients. She also co-taught the practice management course  at USC from 200o-2002. (Until the school start PBL – Problem Based Learning)

Debbie has a team of experts to guide teams throughout the world to provide quality, patient centered practices that sustain profits for the life of their dental practice.

Keep Patients Returning to Their Dental Hygiene Appointments

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

Think back to your last visit to Nordstrom. What type of service did they provide?

Did you see value in their services? Do their clothes and the way you are treated make you feel special; like you are fit to be King or Queen?

Personally, I prefer to shop at Nordstrom because I know I receive quality products and great customer service.   The results are that it makes me look and feel great! I especially like the way I am treated and valued as a customer.

Just like customer service is key; value propositions will keep your patients coming back to your office for a lifetime.

What is a value driven proposition?

Simply put, value driven propositions are what keep your patients returning to your dental office for their appointments. And, it especially means they will keep their routine dental hygiene appointments.

Offering your patients value driven propositions:

  • explains how your services will improves their specific dental situation
  • delivers specific benefits (this adds to the value),
  • tells your patients why they should continue returning to your dental office

During this month of March I have been sharing tips to reduce cancellations. Many of you have asked what words will add value.

Below is a list of words and phrases you can use to add value:

  • Optimal Oral Health
  • Preventive Care
  • Periodontal Maintenance
  • Inflammation
  • Disease
  • Bleeding Gums
  • Healthier and Longer Life
  • Loose teeth
  • Jaw pain
  • Eliminate grinding

While the dental hygiene patient is seated upright in the chair, explain what you will be doing (before you recline them back in the chair) during their time in the office and use some of the above words. These words and phrases are suggestions that add value to the patients’ appointment. (This is just a short list with examples.) Talk with your team to gain insight into what other words you can use to add value and benefits to patient appointments.

Here is one example of how benefits for returning to the hygiene appointment is driven by benefits.  Dentist and Patient eye to eye

Hygienist Susan: “Mrs. Jones, today we will complete your periodontal maintenance appointment. As I reivew your medical history, I see that are taking insulin for your Diabetes. Did you take your insulin today? That’s great! I want to commend you for continuing to return for your routine periodontal maintenance appointments. This is what helps maintain optimal oral health and a longer, healthier life.

In a few minutes I will recline you back in the chair and begin the periodontal exam. As you may remember, you will hear me call out those numbers. When you hear me say numbers like 1 thru 3 this means your gums are healthy. If I call out a 4 this is a sign of inflammation. If I call out a 5 or higher, as you may remember, these are numbers that relate to periodontal (gum) disease. If you hear me say bleeding point, this is not good. It means that you have active disease. Healthy gums do not bleed.”

During this communication with the patient, imagine how the hygienist has set up the patient to engage with her during the hygiene periodontal exam. This is an example of “co-diagnosis” between the hygienist and the patient. They are developing a partnership during the patients service today.

Other value driven propositions may sound like this: (Imagine now that it is the end of the dental hygiene appointment. Below is what it may sound like.)

“Mrs. Jones, It was great to see you today and congratulations on an excellent periodontal maintenance appointment today! As recommended by the American Academy of Periodontolgy, patients with diabetes and especially with a diagnosis of periodontal disease, need to return at least every 3 months for a periodontal maintenance appointment. This is where we re-evaluate the health of your gums and provide treatment to create healthy teeth and gums.  The latest science and research says that we can even reverse diabetes. At the very least, routine periodontal maintenance appointments support  status-quo with patients who have a diagnosis of diabetes. sThis means that you can live a long and healthy life. I can see you on Thursday July 16th at 11 am, for your next periodontal maintenance apppointment. Will that work for you?”

Do you see how the hygienist complimented the patient, keeping a positive environment in what can many times be  a stressful environment?

Susan, the hygienist, also gave a valuable reason for her patient  to return for future routine periodontal maintenance appointments. Susan also explained the benefits of why it is important for Mrs. Jones to return in 3 months.

What words to you use in your patient appointments that add value and benefits for patients returning to your office?

Do you want to know more about ways to reduce cancellations? Grab our free eBook here: Reduce Cancellations and Increase Profits

One More Tip That Will Help Reduce Last Minute Cancellations

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

March 18, 2015

Empty Chair Orange

 

Dental Professionals know that open operatories destroy the dental practices profit. When the office is silent, the dentist and entire team risk losing their job!

Unfortunately, no strategy will completely eliminate last minute cancellations and  no-shows. Howver, here are some strategies you can employ to keep downtime to a minimum.

During the month of March I will create one video tip each week and then write a little about how you can implement this and help keep patients coming back to your office.

This week I want to talk about one more tip that will help  reduce last minute cancellations.

Do you have an after-hours message on a voice mail for your office?

Most offices do have a message machine where patients can leave a message when the office is closed.

What does your voice message say to patients who call your office after hours?

Do you allow patients to leave a message to cancel their dental appointment?

Many times leaving a message about appointment cancellations is a scape goat for the patient.

State in your after-hours voice message “This voicemail does not accept cancellations. All cancellations must be made in during business hours.”

Also consider if you do feel it’s necessary for your patients to leave this type of message AND if you have your patients trained right…your patients will only cancel when they have an emergency situation. If you are the doctor, don’t you want to know about a personal emergency with your patients?

Your patients are most likely a friend and in the case of an emergency and they do need to cancel last minute, have your answer machine state that if there is an emergency situation that requires a change in their appointment they need to call doctor at such-and-such phone number.

Most patients will not call doctor UNLESS it really is an emergency.

My point here is:

  • #1 do not allow patients to leave a message to cancel their appointment on your voicemail.
  • #2 is if you MUST allow patients to leave messages on your voicemail to change an appointment at have your voicemail state that if the patient does need to change their appointment, they must call doctor personally. This will eliminate the scape goats from calling because (as I stated in last week’s video) too often patients value another type of appointment over their dental appointment and they will call last minute to cancel their dental appointment. Seldom do people call to cancel their massage, spa appointment or haircut! AND
  • #3 if you communicate via text and emails with your patients, let me know these types of communication are not accepted when a patient needs to change their dental appointment. The must call to change an appointment during office hours.
  • #4 is eliminating the word cancel and instead say “Change in appointment”.

What challenges do you have with cancellations in your office?

What has worked well to reduce cancellations for your office?

Please do share below.

VIEW THIS WEEKS VIDEO TIP BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK  Green Jacket

 

 

If you would like to increase profits in your hygiene department and learn more about reducing cancellations please grab our 7 Day Dental Hygiene Profits Program. It’s no charge today! Grab it here

Best PhotoAbout Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

In 2000 Debbie founded Dental Practice Solutions, a dental practice management business focused on creating profitable dental hygiene departments, as well as improving the total bottom line of the dental practice. She has been named as one of Dentistry Today’s Top Consultants for 10 years in  row!

Debbie is a former clinical assistant professor at University of Southern California where to taught the senior dental hygiene students skills to treat periodontal patients. She also co-taught the practice management course (Until the school start PBL – Problem Based Learning) at USC from 200o-2002.

Debbie has a team of experts to guide teams throughout the world to provide quality, patient centered practices that sustain profits for the life of their dental practice.

You can also enroll in her 7 Day Dental Hygiene Profit Program for No Charge Today: Get Your No Charge Dental Hygiene Profits Program Here

 

One More Tip That Will Help Reduce Last Minute Cancellations

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

Dental Professionals know that open operatories destroy the dental practices profit. When the office is silent, the dentist and entire team risk losing their job!

Unfortunately, no strategy will completely eliminate last minute cancellations and  no-shows. Howver, here are some strategies you can employ to keep downtime to a minimum.

During the month of March I will create one video tip each week and then write a little about how you can implement this and help keep patients coming back to your office.

This week I want to talk about one more tip that will help  reduce last minute cancellations.

Do you have an after-hours message on a voice mail for your office?

Most offices do have a message machine where patients can leave a message when the office is closed.

What does your voice message say to patients who call your office after hours?

Do you allow patients to leave a message to cancel their dental appointment?

Many times leaving a message about appointment cancellations is a scape goat for the patient.

State in your after-hours voice message “This voicemail does not accept cancellations. All cancellations must be made in during business hours.”

Also consider if you do feel it’s necessary for your patients to leave this type of message AND if you have your patients trained right…your patients will only cancel when they have an emergency situation. If you are the doctor, don’t you want to know about a personal emergency with your patients?

Your patients are most likely a friend and in the case of an emergency and they do need to cancel last minute, have your answer machine state that if there is an emergency situation that requires a change in their appointment they need to call doctor at such-and-such phone number.

Most patients will not call doctor UNLESS it really is an emergency.

My point here is:

  • #1 do not allow patients to leave a message to cancel their appointment on your voicemail.
  • #2 is if you MUST allow patients to leave messages on your voicemail to change an appointment at have your voicemail state that if the patient does need to change their appointment, they must call doctor personally. This will eliminate the scape goats from calling because (as I stated in last week’s video) too often patients value another type of appointment over their dental appointment and they will call last minute to cancel their dental appointment. Seldom do people call to cancel their massage, spa appointment or haircut! AND
  • #3 if you communicate via text and emails with your patients, let me know these types of communication are not accepted when a patient needs to change their dental appointment. The must call to change an appointment during office hours.
  • #4 is eliminating the word cancel and instead say “Change in appointment”.

What challenges do you have with cancellations in your office?

What has worked well to reduce cancellations for your office?

Please do share below.

One Tip to Reduce Last Minute Cancellations

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

March 12, 2015

11006410_s

Doctor, do you know what happens when a patient calls last minute to cancel their appointment?        (Please click on the above video to hear One Tip to Reduce Cancellations)

I am certain that you probably have a protocol, but do you know what is truly said when a patient calls to cancel?

I was observing in an office last week and I saw and over heard the front office team member pick up the phone. She listened to the patient and her response was only to say “OK!” End of the conversation!

The team member then deleted the patient appointment from the schedule on the computer.

How many times has this happened in your office?

I imagine it happens every week that a patient calls to cancel last minute.

Today, I bring just one tip that may help to reduce cancellations.

Yes! There are true emergency situations that arise but how does the team follow up when someone calls to cancel?

Is that patient deleted from the schedule and that is the end of the story?

I see things like this happen all the time when I am doing an observation in an office.

The proper protocol to keep you patients coming back is to:

  • Ask the patient what you can do to help them keep their appointment
  • Offer to help solve their current situation that keeps them from coming in that day or week

> Does the patient need a babysitter or do they need a taxi?

> It does happen occasionally (GOD FORBID!) that there is a serious emergency. (In this situation, always call to follow up in 24 hrs. Check on your patient with an serious emergency!Never just delete them from the schedule – out of sight – out of mind!)

If your patient must cancel, be sure to schedule a next visist and if the patient doesn’t have a good excuse definitely do not reschedule them the very next day!

Patients who don’t feel dentistry and their oral health is important are the ones most likely to cancel last minute.

  • Do you have a cancellation policy? And do patients read and sign this?

Add value to your patients about why they need to return to the dental office. Do they have high blood pressure, heart disease AND periodontal disease? Does this patient understand the link between their oral health and how optimal oral health will most likely halt systemic diseases. Much research is available to show oral health can reverse systemic diseases such as diabetes.(1)

One more system we have seen work well to keep patients from cancelling last minute is to offer Lifetime Whitening.

Next week I will provide another video to help reduce cancellations.

For more information on LifeTime Whitening please view the 13 minute video. LIFETIME WHITENING VIDEO

What type of challenges does your office have regarding last minute cancellations? Please comment below so I can provide suggestions to overcome this epidemic in the dental office.

VIEW One Tip to Reduce Cancellations VIDEO HERE

About Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

In 2000 Debbie founded Dental Practice Solutions, a dental practice management business focused on creating profitable dental hygiene departments, as well as improving the total bottom line of the dental practice. She has been named as one of Dentistry Today’s Top Consultants for 10 years in  row!

Debbie is a former clinical assistant professor at University of Southern California where to taught the senior dental hygiene students skills to treat periodontal patients. She also co-taught the practice management course (Until the school start PBL – Problem Based Learning) at USC from 200o-2002.

Debbie has a team of experts to guide teams throughout the world to provide quality, patient centered practices that sustain profits for the life of their dental practice.

You can also enroll in her 7 Day Dental Hygiene Profit Program for No Charge Today: Get Your No Charge Dental Hygiene Profits Program Here

One Tip to Reduce Last Minute Cancellations

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

Doctor, do you know what happens when a patient calls last minute to cancel their appointment?        (Please click on the above video to hear One Tip to Reduce Cancellations)

I am certain that you probably have a protocol, but do you know what is truly said when a patient calls to cancel?

I was observing in an office last week and I saw and over heard the front office team member pick up the phone. She listened to the patient and her response was only to say “OK!” End of the conversation!

The team member then deleted the patient appointment from the schedule on the computer.

How many times has this happened in your office?

I imagine it happens every week that a patient calls to cancel last minute.

Today, I bring just one tip that may help to reduce cancellations.

Yes! There are true emergency situations that arise but how does the team follow up when someone calls to cancel?

Is that patient deleted from the schedule and that is the end of the story?

I see things like this happen all the time when I am doing an observation in an office.

The proper protocol to keep you patients coming back is to:

  • Ask the patient what you can do to help them keep their appointment
  • Offer to help solve their current situation that keeps them from coming in that day or week

> Does the patient need a babysitter or do they need a taxi?

> It does happen occasionally (GOD FORBID!) that there is a serious emergency. (In this situation, always call to follow up in 24 hrs. Check on your patient with an serious emergency!Never just delete them from the schedule – out of sight – out of mind!)

If your patient must cancel, be sure to schedule a next visist and if the patient doesn’t have a good excuse definitely do not reschedule them the very next day!

Patients who don’t feel dentistry and their oral health is important are the ones most likely to cancel last minute.

  • Do you have a cancellation policy? And do patients read and sign this?

Add value to your patients about why they need to return to the dental office. Do they have high blood pressure, heart disease AND periodontal disease? Does this patient understand the link between their oral health and how optimal oral health will most likely halt systemic diseases. Much research is available to show oral health can reverse systemic diseases such as diabetes.(1)

One more system we have seen work well to keep patients from cancelling last minute is to offer Lifetime Whitening.

Next week I will provide another video to help reduce cancellations.

For more information on LifeTime Whitening please view the 13 minute video. LIFETIME WHITENING VIDEO

What type of challenges does your office have regarding last minute cancellations? Please comment below so I can provide suggestions to overcome this epidemic in the dental office.

Hear Patients Say YES to Case Acceptance

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

March 4, 2015

Best Photo

Trust is the #1 reason patients will accept your care at your dental office! (Please click on the above picture to view this weeks video. This video is one from my 60 Day Dental Hygiene Profit Program.)

Hearing patients say “Yes” to case acceptance begins with a patients first phone call to your office and in today’s world their first contact may be through a visit to your website. This is the place where trust begins.

Once they walk in your front door it continues and how you talk to them while first seated in the dental chair makes a huge difference. Do you put a patient bib on immediately or do you sit knee-knee and eye-eye with patients at the beginning of their appointment? This can only take one minute but makes a huge difference in patient rapport!  18665987_s

When patients are in your dental chair provide a tour of their mouth to show them what you see. Use pictures in brochures, typodonts, posters, etc. when you explain what you see and when you explain the benefits iof “WHY” their treatment needs to be completed sooner than later. Treatment Planning Creates Your Own Economy

 

When patients leave your office to “think about it” many times they leave because they really don’t get it. There was something missing, their questions were not answered and maybe they didn’t feel comfortable asking.

 

If you have enthusiasm in your tone, and your attitude is positive, you will be more likely to have your patient feel enthusiastic about the treatment you present. Realistically, some patients will need to have a spouse or significant other help with their decision especially if that someone else is attached to paying for the treatment.

 

When patients leave without making their next appointment always ask when you can follow up and try to make this follow up call within 72 hours. The  longer you wait to schedule their treatment the less value their treatment will have. Urgency to complete treatment is key here and why would anyone want to wait if they can be healthier tomorrow?

This video is part of our 60 Day Dental Hygiene Profits Program. Did you like what you just read? Want to view more videos like this and learn innovative and proven methodologies to improve your dental hygiene department and profitability? Check out the 60 Day Dental Hygiene Profits Program. Our clients double their money spent on this program. If you purchase today and take advantage of the 2 coaching calls we offer you a  money back guarantee.

MORE INFORMATION ON 60 DAY HYGIENE PROGRAM

About Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is founder of Dental Practice Solutions a global dental consulting, coaching and speaking business. For the past ten years Debbie has been named one of Dentistry Today’s Top Consultants. She has guided thousands of dental practices throughout the world to be more profitable by implementing proven methodologies in the dental hygiene department. What separates Debbie from other dental hygiene consultants is her ability to look at the practice’ bottom line numbers. Due to client successes and currently unique to the Dental Consulting Industry, is her money back guarantee for clients. Not every dental office is a perfect fit for her services but for those who are, she can offer a 200% ROI. If taking your practice to the next level is something you are serious about contact her today for a no-fee 30 minute Discovery Call and see what areas you should focus on to receive your biggest profit potential and without working as hard as you may be today! Email her office at mailto:support@dentalpracticesolutions.com

 

 

 

Hear Patients Say YES to Case Acceptance

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

Trust is the #1 reason patients will accept your care at your dental office! (Please click on the above picture to view this weeks video. This video is one from my 60 Day Dental Hygiene Profit Program.)

Hearing patients say “Yes” to case acceptance begins with a patients first phone call to your office and in today’s world their first contact may be through a visit to your website. This is the place where trust begins.

Once they walk in your front door it continues and how you talk to them while first seated in the dental chair makes a huge difference. Do you put a patient bib on immediately or do you sit knee-knee and eye-eye with patients at the beginning of their appointment? This can only take one minute but makes a huge difference in patient rapport!  18665987_s

When patients are in your dental chair provide a tour of their mouth to show them what you see. Use pictures in brochures, typodonts, posters, etc. when you explain what you see and when you explain the benefits iof “WHY” their treatment needs to be completed sooner than later. Treatment Planning Creates Your Own Economy

 

When patients leave your office to “think about it” many times they leave because they really don’t get it. There was something missing, their questions were not answered and maybe they didn’t feel comfortable asking.

 

If you have enthusiasm in your tone, and your attitude is positive, you will be more likely to have your patient feel enthusiastic about the treatment you present. Realistically, some patients will need to have a spouse or significant other help with their decision especially if that someone else is attached to paying for the treatment.

 

When patients leave without making their next appointment always ask when you can follow up and try to make this follow up call within 72 hours. The  longer you wait to schedule their treatment the less value their treatment will have. Urgency to complete treatment is key here and why would anyone want to wait if they can be healthier tomorrow?

This video is part of our 60 Day Dental Hygiene Profits Program. Did you like what you just read? Want to view more videos like this and learn innovative and proven methodologies to improve your dental hygiene department and profitability? Check out the 60 Day Dental Hygiene Profits Program. Our clients double their money spent on this program. If you purchase today and take advantage of the 2 coaching calls we offer you a  money back guarantee.