Click here to enlarge imageThe referral process works well when patients’ expectations are met or exceeded. However, when patients are dissatisfied, the resulting negativity is far more detrimental. The problems that result from an unhappy patient are exponential rather than cumulative. If this unfortunate situation arises, it must be handled with the utmost diligence.Undiagnosed and untreated periodontal disease is one of the leading causes of litigation for the general dentist. Many of these unfortunate situations could be averted with an early periodontal referral.Enhance staff management through humorHappiness and humor in the office enhances staff management. It also heightens creativity and usually results in exceptional patient care. You do not have to transform your practice into a comedy club, but recognize that the little things in human relations reap huge rewards. Small changes in attitude, cooperation, and respect can create major changes in your practice.Content, happy staff members are much more likely to offer creative suggestions and ideas. An empowered staff is a more productive staff. People are more apt to believe in a happy, warm, and kind establishment, instead of a disinterested, unhappy, and threatening one.There is significant data to support the benefits of humor. Dr. William Fry, psychiatrist humor researcher and former “Man of the Year” for The Association for Applied Therapeutic Humor, has reported many physical benefits of humor. Dr. Fry claims that laughter boosts cardiovascular fitness by increasing the respiratory response, as well as lowers blood pressure and heart rate. He and others have shown it reduces pain perception, stimulates circulation, and increases oxygen tension. The net effect is that you feel better.Humor must be used with no sarcasm and extreme sensitivity. A doctor needs to be sincere, clear, and non-offensive at all times. Being light-hearted and friendly could be a valuable tool. As caregivers, each of us needs to strike a balance between professionalism and being a human being.I feel that happiness and humor go hand in hand to create awesome patient care. They enable individuals to feel better about themselves, which translates into many positives for everyone involved. Therefore, remember to lighten up around your staff and patients to create rewards for all.Invest in technologyInvesting in technology and buying state-of-the-art equipment can be one of the most satisfying practice enhancements to gain “the bigger and better.” This is best accomplished through conducting an organized analysis. One needs to consider the financial implications, personal impact, effects on patient care, market value, and the intangibles afforded by the new technology.The purchase of advanced equipment must make good economic sense. The economics of the purchase - how it is financed, tax ramifications and what you will need to recoup per use - must be carefully assessed. Time needs to be factored in since use tends to be less at the onset.