The Internets Impact on Dentistry

Oct. 1, 2000
The Dental Economics year-long series,"The Internet`s Impact on Dentistry," is proudly sponsored by smileworks.com.

Part X:

How can the Internet improve case acceptance?

The Dental Economics year-long series,"The Internet`s Impact on Dentistry," is proudly sponsored by smileworks.com.

Bill Kimball, DDS

How many times have you presented a treatment plan to patients only to hear them say, "I need to go home and talk it over with my spouse?" And how often have you scheduled a consult appointment only to have the patient not show up? If you`ve practiced for more than a few months, these unfortunate situations have occurred in your practice. While there are many possible solutions, with varying degrees of success, I`ll bet you haven`t heard about the exciting new options I`ll be discussing below!

Last year I wrote a monthly column for Dr. Woody Oakes` The Profitable Dentist newsletter titled, "Mastering Case Acceptance." "Presenting fine dentistry" is my all-time favorite lecture theme, and I strongly encourage my clients to master this. I have relentlessly pursued this topic for more than a decade, and I have refined my ideas to a very predictable system that really works. So it was with great anticipation that I reviewed Steve Seltzer`s Technology Pearls Report #3 on how to use the Internet to deliver "virtual case presentations."

I discovered that Adobe ActiveShare (www.active share.com) offers a revolutionary new idea for marketing dental services, selling dentistry, and obtaining case acceptance. The Internet is an extremely appropriate medium for marketing cosmetic dentistry.

Publish the "before" and simulated "after" photos in an ActiveShare album, and send an e-mail to your patient when the photos are available for viewing online. Encourage the patient to share the photos with friends and relatives (to get their comments about how nice the patient will look with her new smile).

ActiveShare allows you to create a "personal case presentation Web page" on the Internet - for free - designed specifically for a patient to view and accept treatment. Adobe ActiveShare allows you to extend the case presentation beyond the four walls of the consult room and reach all the decision-makers in the anxiety-free comfort of their own homes.

Imagine this: A patient`s mother, who lives in Arizona, calls her daughter living in Chicago, and says, "I saw your pictures on the Internet and want to give you an early birthday present. I will pay for the dentistry. Happy birthday!"

You can also post an electronic photo album of before and after pictures, along with patient testimonials for your patients to view. When someone visits the site, you receive an e-mail notifying you of the visit.

Schedule a follow-up telephone call a day or two later to the visitor and say, "I am calling to ask whether you have any questions about the treatment we proposed?" The patient may then respond, "What a coincidence! I just looked at the photos on the Internet yesterday."

According to Seltzer, "Patients will be more enthusiastic and accept more dentistry. You will be more enthusiastic as you do more large, enjoyable cases and watch your practice grow."

While this method will not replace the face-to-face contact necessary to build trust, it will, in my opinion, add another layer of confidence and support to your case presentation systems. This is especially true with the generation-X crowd, who pride themselves in being able to make buying decisions using the Internet. As you become more experienced with presentation dynamics, your success and efficiency will increase.

ActiveShare takes advantage of digital photography and almost universal access to the Internet. It offers unlimited potential to market dentistry, particularly cosmetic dentistry. I was excited to see all the other free services at ActiveShare, such as event planning, starting discussion groups, and more. Seltzer suggests that you need to schedule eight to 12 hours for education and an additional 12 to 16 hours to effectively implement ActiveShare in your practice. You will be amazed at the results!

For more information about this and other exciting new ways to use the Internet to enhance case acceptance, contact Steve Seltzer, MBA at [email protected], (800) 229-8967, or visit www.hitecdentist.com. Remember the old adage, "You never get a second chance to make a good first impression?" The Internet might have just changed that idea forever! Until next month ... I look forward to seeing your smiles (or your patients`) on the Net!

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