Creating Value

by Larry Emmott on April 6, 2012

in General

We value medical and dental care differently than we do say shoes or hotels. We value shoes in comparison to other shoes and the price of the options in dollars. We value medical care in comparison to perfection.

The expectation from any patient getting a filling, whether it is an indigent getting it free at a Medicaid clinic, a middle class car salesman getting it at a typical office paid for by insurance or a well to  do matron paying top dollar in cash at a Beverly Hills boutique practice, all those patients expect perfection. Perfection is the minimal acceptable result.

There is a disconnect between price and quality. In fact price is not the right word; it is value. If most people do not see a difference in value from one dentist or clinic to the next but see all dentistry as being either perfect or a complete failure then dentistry is no longer a valued personal service but a commodity. If dentistry is a commodity, that is one dentist or clinic is just as good as the next, then it is logical to shop for price. After all we will get a perfect filling from any of the options.

This kind of thinking is what allows third parties to control patients. If the service is always the same why not just go where my insurance plan tells me?

On the other hand patients do make value judgments about their dentist based on factors other than the quality of the filling. They judge us on how friendly we are, if we are on time and how up to date we are. The level of sophistication of your office technology and how proficient you are using it tells your patient you have more value. making a perfect filling just tells them you are a dentist.

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Dr. Harold K. Schmulenson April 9, 2012 at 10:28 am

Very accurate point regarding patients expecting perfection in dentistry. Our colleagues in medicine share no such view. To their patients less than perfect is always acceptable. There may be a scar after surgery, a limp or an inability to use with complete function. The patient will deal with this and accept it. Try this on your next dental patient who complains of sensitivity under a recent filling. Tell them it is acceptable and they will learn to live with it. They will never be back and go elsewhere for a resolution.

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