Let’s talk about the distinction between a commoditized new patient process versus a prescriptive one.


A commoditized new patient process is one where every new non-emergency patient goes through the same sequence.

They check-in at the front desk, they get full mouth radiographs, a cleaning, and exam by the dental hygienist, an exam and a treatment plan by the dentist, and case presentation and financial arrangements by a team member.

Now, a commoditized new patient process and its associated commoditized diagnostics- meaning the x-rays, models, and photos, typically, are not associated with specific behavioral benefits patients seek. For example, we may tell our new patients…well Diane, we take full mouth x-rays and do cleanings on all our new patients.

This one-size-fits-all commoditized process fits well with patients who require minimal care.

It also matches well with recent graduate dentists who do best with minimal complexity processes, meaning all new patients go through the same process. So, suppose a practice seeks to treat minimal care patients, employs primarily new dentists, and has a sales model that emphasizes same-day dentistry. In that case, a commoditized new patient process makes the most sense.

Practices that seek to treat patients with a wider range of clinical needs, that employ dentists and team members who have long-term career goals, and want to develop lifetime relationships with patients, then a prescriptive new patient process is the path to follow.

A prescriptive new patient process is patient-specific.

It’s linked to the behavioral benefit they seek. This process is best initiated with a new patient conversation before any clinical procedures. During this conversation, dentists and team members can discover which clinical procedures fit best for this patient. So, for example, during this new patient interview, the dentist learns the patient’s daughter is getting married in one week and wants the chip on his front tooth fixed so he looks great for the wedding photos. This is the behavioral benefit he seeks. Now, full mouth radiographs and cleaning may not be the best use of time during this appointment. This patient would be far happier if the dentist made him look great for the photos by fixing his front tooth then revisiting full-mouth radiographs and cleanings at subsequent appointments.

I’ll get more into discovering patients’ behavioral benefits in future videos.

Here’s why understanding the distinction between commoditized versus prescriptive new patient processes is important…

A practice will grow in the direction of its new patient process.

A commoditized process will grow the numbers of new patients but not significantly improve the scope of care. A prescriptive process will grow numbers of new patients and help you evolve into more complex care. My advice…match your new patient process to the long-term goals of your practice.  

If improving your new patient experience and treatment acceptance is important to you, consider visiting Treatment Acceptance Mastery.