I am glad you are part of The Lifestyle Practice Community! If you haven’t noticed, I love simple things that can have a big impact on my practice and life. Several years ago, I started using a powerful 3 letter word that has made me more productive while helping my patients.
The word is ‘yet’. After you get done rolling your eyes, hear me out. I started to add this to a question I was already asking my patients on a daily basis. When I am doing exams on patients and I see:
1. a cracked tooth
2. a cracked or leaking filling
3. inflamed gums
4. recession areas
I often asked, “does (insert condition from above) bother or hurt you?" Most of the time the patient said no, and then I either moved on, or I was left with the option of starting the conversation over explaining why it could, should, or would eventually,
Why make it harder on myself?
Then one day I made a subtle, but profound change to my question….
I added the word‘YET’ to the end of the question. When seeing a cracked tooth or 1 of the above mentioned conditions I ask “Does this bother or hurt you yet?”. All of a sudden my patient’s ears perked up. They wanted to know what was going to be bothering them. They were interested, they wanted to know more. It opens the door wide open for further communication about what is going on and what they can do to fix Now before you freak out.
Obviously I am ONLY going to do this if I see a tooth I legitimately feel needs treatment, because it usually leads to the patient getting treatment done. Much of my success is due to how I feel about the service I (and a collective we) feel we provide to our patients. Assuming we are being ethical and only suggesting treatment we feel a patient really needs and that we would want done ourselves, the more treatment acceptance we get, the more good we are doing. Right?
Anything I can do that helps a patient see, understand, and eventually remedy an existing or potential problem the more I am helping them, and fulfilling the reason why they came to me in the first place.
For example, if I have high blood pressure, like BP that needs to be treated, I want a doctor that is good at helping me grasp the problem, and ultimately get healthier. I don’t want the doctor that is afraid of telling me the issues I have, because they are afraid of hurting my feelings or offending me.
I encourage you to try it out. Try the word ‘YET’. Use it strategically and see if it helps your case acceptance. More importantly, see if it helps open the communication lines with your patients. If you use it once and it works with a patient, then the next time you see a similar condition in their mouth, and you say “Mrs. Jones remember the leaking fillings we fixed last year, well we have the same thing going on over here….”. It’s an easy conversion, and why make it harder on yourself? If you are ethical and you treat your patients the way you want to be treated, you should only feel good when you have a higher case acceptance because you are helping more patients get healthy!
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