Referring Your Patients to a Dentist You Trust

September 18, 2018 Lee Ann Brady DMD

Referrals can be a real challenge, especially for those invested in building a strong relationship with their patients. It’s a bummer to let go of the many years you’ve put into developing a patient’s trust, but it happens all the time. You just have to make sure the trade-off goes as smoothly as possible.

Everyone has patients that move or need to leave their dental practice for whatever reason. As part of the service and care we have provided I like to give them a referral to an office where I know they will get the same level of care and quality.

Referring to Another Pankey Dentist

I may not know every dentist that has gone through Pankey, but I know a lot about them. I know they care passionately about dentistry based on their commitment to education and being the best dentist they can be. I also know they have learned the same approach to clinical care that I have and really understand how to connect with their patients. Many have created their own individualized, relationship-based practice.

One of the best resources I have for referrals to dentists in the Pankey family is the “Find a Dentist” link side banner on the Pankey.org website. I can type in their area code and find members of the Pankey Alumni association anywhere my patients are moving to. I use this resource all of the time.

I also know that I get patients referred by other Pankey dentists every month. That’s why when I look at the dues and fees I pay to belong to dental organizations, my Pankey alumni membership is the easiest one to pay. What I get back in rewards is a small cost to market my practice to other Pankey dentists looking for a new dental home for their patients.

What’s your favored referral process? Let us know! 

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Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded leeannbrady.com and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

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Please Bring Your Smartphone: Part 3

March 21, 2018 Will Kelly DMD

It’s time to start thinking of smartphones as an asset rather than a detriment to dental practices. Yes, they can be distracting, but they can also pose great opportunities for connecting to a younger generation of patients. Ultimately, they can directly contribute to case acceptance and smoother communication with specialists. 

How to Use a Smartphone for Better Case Communication

Videotaping patients with an iPhone has changed how I practice, especially with interdisciplinary care. Here is how that often takes place in an exam:

“You know Mrs. Jones, we are so blessed to have Dr. Periodontist, Dr. Orthodontist, and my Lab Tech, Mr. Awesome, working together with us on this case. I think we learned some things today that are important to share with them, wouldn’t you agree? I’ve got an idea … would you mind if I recorded a short video to text to them? I think this will keep them up to speed and enable them to give any input as we move forward.”

I state the patient’s name and date, then start describing the situation. We show things from exam findings while the patient experiences them again, usually nodding their head in agreement. With the right patient, I get them to state what we found while recording the video. The whole time, I imagine the patient feels like they are holding the attention of all the members of the interdisciplinary team at once.

These videos are an awesome way to communicate with specialists and other members of the case team. With care and knowing your patient, the behavioral learning opportunity is priceless for them. Sometimes the behavioral pieces can even guide a team member.

As we grow, we must embrace the possibilities of our current reality. We experience and process the world differently now that it is through the filter of a little device in our pocket that connects our mind to the world.

Do you love or hate smartphones in your dental practice? 

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Will Kelly DMD

Dr. Will Kelly attended the North Carolina State University School of Design and received a BA in Communications. He went on to spend two additional years in post baccalaureate studies in Medical Sciences at both UNC Chapel Hill and Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Kelly graduated from the top ranked UNC School of Dentistry in 2004. His good hands and clinical abilities led to his being chosen as a teaching assistant to underclassmen in operative dentistry. In addition to clinical time in the dental school, Dr. Kelly had valuable experiences working in both the Durham VA Hospital and for the Indian Health Service in Wyoming. As a child, Dr. Kelly had the opportunity to assist his father on several dental mission trips in Haiti. After completing dental school, Dr. Kelly joined his father in private practice and served on the dental staff at Gaston Family Health Services, where he maintained a position on the board of directors. At this time Dr. Kelly also began his studies in advanced dentistry at the prestigious Pankey Institute in Miami, a continuing journey of learning that has shaped his philosophy and knowledge of the complexities of high-level dentistry. Today Dr. Kelly devotes over 100 hours a year studying with colleagues and mentors who are regarded as "Masters of Dentistry".

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Communication Challenge: Patient Referrals

March 14, 2018 Pankey Gram

One of the keys to delivering meaningful patient care is upholding the power of relationships in all aspects of your work life. For example, clear communication in the patient referrals process can either make a patient feel doubly supported or leave them feeling insignificant.

So how do you foster good relationships with the specialists you refer to that improve patient trust?

Patient Referrals: Communication, Relationships, and Trust

It’s not uncommon for a dentist to refer their patient to a specialist, only for the patient to realize the specialist hasn’t been told anything about their unique case. This clumsy pass between health care professionals starts the patient off with a heightened level of distrust.

Then, the situation can be made even worse if what the patient learns from the specialist is very different from what their dentist told them. They can become frustrated by the inconsistency or angry that they are being given conflicting information.

The solution to this problem is as simple as it is difficult to enact consistently. Patients will develop increased trust with their general dentists if they are led to believe the general dentist is skilled at referring them to specialists.

Additionally, they should feel that their case is handled with great care in the transition period. Their general dentist should make the process smooth for everyone involved and communicate expectations with the specialist.

Patient trust is everything. They will not follow you on the path to more advanced or complex treatment, or even come to think of you as their long-term dentist, if they feel the relationship is built on shaky ground. Who you refer to and how you do it can either strengthen that relationship or do the exact opposite.

More than anything, you must show the patient you are very familiar with the specialist and advise the specialist about the patient in turn. The specialist’s office should then be able to affirm your relationship with the patient by providing complementary care and information.

When you and the specialists you refer to provide conflicting treatment plans or explanations, doubt inevitably creeps in.

How do you communicate effectively in the referrals process? 

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