Know Your Patient: Part 1

December 11, 2017 Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

Knowing your patient beyond their surface structure is essential. It is a process of discovery that is fueled by curiosity. In my view, the critical elements include:

  1. Building trust
  2. Understanding the value and uniqueness of each person
  3. Uncovering the patient’s emotions about their dental health
  4. Facilitating the development of heath, function, and esthetic goals
  5. Exploring what is possible for them

Leadership Through Understanding

Why is this leadership? It is leadership because the practice leader is responsible for defining reality. The reality of what is important and how we act on those foundational beliefs. Those foundational beliefs that we call ‘values’ are the building blocks of our practice culture. That culture is defined by:

  1. What is our WHY? Is our WHY what we reference to make our decisions and manage our practice?
  2. What are the unique rules of behavior in this culture?
  3. How do we spend our time and resources?
  4. What defines success?

Knowing Your Patient

If practicing in a high trust relationship-based culture is what you desire, then knowing your patient is a cornerstone of your practice structure. It can act as a model for the rest of the critical relationships in and around your practice. If this is your culture, then all aspects of your practice are built around relationships.

Next are the relationships with and within your team. I was recently doing a presentation at a major dental meeting in which I was highlighting team roles and responsibilities. From the back of the room a dentist asked me how I attracted quality team members. My answer was simple:

“You have to be attractive to them.”

What I meant was that you have to study the marketplace and understand what the best candidates are seeking. Then, you actually have to deliver it.

To continue reading Part Two..

How do you get to know your patient? 

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About Author

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Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

Dr. Edwin A. McDonald III received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Economics from Midwestern State University. He earned his DDS degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston. Dr. McDonald has completed extensive training in dental implant dentistry through the University of Florida Center for Implant Dentistry. He has also completed extensive aesthetic dentistry training through various programs including the Seattle Institute, The Pankey Institute and Spear Education. Mac is a general dentist in Plano Texas. His practice is focused on esthetic and restorative dentistry. He is a visiting faculty member at the Pankey Institute. Mac also lectures at meetings around the country and has been very active with both the Dallas County Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. Currently, he is a student in the Naveen Jindal School of Business at the University of Texas at Dallas pursuing a graduate certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching. With Dr. Joel Small, he is co-founder of Line of Sight Coaching, dedicated to helping healthcare professionals develop leadership and coaching skills that improve the effectiveness, morale and productivity of their teams.

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