Starting at Perfect

by Larry Emmott on April 5, 2016

in Management

Dental practiceThe expectation from any patient getting a filling, whether it is an indigent getting it free at a Medicaid clinic, a middle class 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 a perfect, defect free, functional filling.

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 perfectly acceptable 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. Doing a filling just tells them you are a dentist.

An attractive office in a nice neighborhood with modern technology has greater value to a patient than the quality of the filling, which is considered by default to be perfect. How much more value? How much more will people be willing to pay? If the insurance pays $100 and you charge $200 will the patient say to themselves “That’s OK that is the price I pay for a nice office with superior technology.”? Or is the patient more likely to say to themselves,”What a rip off the dentist is overcharging me.”?

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There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

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