In the terminology of managed care, the acronym LEPEAT means "least expensive, professionally ethical, alternative treatment," In his new book, Optimizing Dental Care: Exceptional Case Presentation, David C. Steele, DDS, FICD, FAGD, suggests that such treatment parameters "not-so-subtly promote standards that accept mediocrity." The alternative he advocates is "high value care," defined as "dentistry at its best."
Steele`s book, combining clinical issues within a framework of practice management, gives detailed instruction for providing dental excellence in private practice. He starts with emergency patients who want "only to have a tooth pulled" and goes step-by-step through a process to upgrade such patients to a comprehensive total examination, consultation appointment and, ultimately, a total treatment plan.
Among the topics discussed in other chapters: comprehensive examination (stressing what to say to help patients co-discover their own needs); "well-orchestrated treatment plans" (including photographic documentation); inlays, onlays, crowns, fixed bridges and dental insurance (including tips on documentation); financial arrangements; how the dentist and hygienist can educate patients (starting with those who "just want my teeth cleaned") to a higher level of "optimum maintenance" that incorporates both the preventive and restorative aspects of high-value care.
What will be especially helpful to the reader in implementing these protocols are the main verbal illustrations that include words and phrases that instill trust and allow patients to make their own choices without intimidation. "Discard the temptation," advises Steele, "to offer a second- or third-level of lesser dentistry... If worse comes to worse, offer something like, `If you`re unsure, let`s do what you want done right now to make you feel like you`re heading in the direction you want; then we`ll do other treatment if you like.` "
Good, better or best? It`s a choice we must all ultimately make about how we do what we do-and what we want in life.
To place an order for Optimizing Dental Care: Exceptional Case Presentation, a PennWell Publishing Company book ($49.95) write PennWell Publishing Co., P.O. Box 21288, Tulsa, OK 74121; telephone (800) 752-9764; or fax: (918) 831-9555.
Bob Levoy is a marketing consultant, seminar speaker and writer based in Roslyn, NY. For further information, contact: Success Dynamics, Inc., 11 Vanad Dr., Roslyn, NY 11576; phone 516-482-5959.