A failure to communicate?

I hope you are enjoying the new look of Dental Economics as much as we are enjoying bringing it to you! In the months to come, we have a terrific lineup of articles by outstanding authors who have many new and innovative ideas for managing your business.

Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor

e-mail: joeb@pennwell.com

I hope you are enjoying the new look of Dental Economics as much as we are enjoying bringing it to you! In the months to come, we have a terrific lineup of articles by outstanding authors who have many new and innovative ideas for managing your business.

As I talk to dentists around the country, I often find that they are working in their practices, but they do not work on the practice. We tend to become so involved in the clinical aspects of the office and in day-to-day crisis-solving that sometimes the overall manage-

ment of the practice suffers by neglect. I hope that you read Dr. Charles Blair`s article in the October issue of Dental Economics. He wrote about managing your practice by monitoring the numbers. Charles is offering an in-depth course on managing the practice with numbers, and I encourage you to call him for more information.

I also speak to many dentists who take a tremendous amount of clinical continuing education. They seem to think that if they master just one more technique, everything in their practice and life will be great. I struggled with this concept for years and finally discovered that the "answer" I was seeking was within me all the time. While I feel that continuing education is important - and I know that every dentist wants to be clinically proficient - I feel that many times the behavioral sciences are overlooked.

How can we possibly be successful in our practices unless we have learned excellent communication skills? In my own practice, success eluded me until I began studying and learning communication. Based on my own experience, I feel that dentists allow patients to postpone needed dentistry simply because they lack the skills to properly communicate with people. I was invited to present one of my seminars at the Futuredontics Super Seminar in Phoenix this past weekend. It was a terrific meeting with great speakers, an absolutely wonderful facility (the Arizona Biltmore) and an opportunity for the participants to do a lot of networking.

I was speaking with a dentist who had been enrolled with their referral service for a short period of time, but he was not happy with the results. As I questioned him, it became apparent that the problem was not so much the referral service as his own policies.

His receptionist spends a large amount of time on the phone with new patients. That is fine but she tends to set up a lot of roadblocks to the patient making and keeping the initial appointment. The office policy for communication with the new patient is the problem here, not the referral service. Find a good course on the skills of communication and take your entire team.

After speaking at the California Dental Association meeting in San Francisco, my wife Sue and I spent some time with Jim and Carolyn Pride at their vineyard in St. Helena. They are producing some wonderful wines under the Pride Mountain Vineyard label. We visited the Pride Institute and saw first-hand some of the great work Jim is doing with dental students at the University of Pacific Dental School. He actually is teaching a practice management course to dental students, thanks to the dean, Dr. Art Dugoni! Will wonders never cease?

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