Inspiration is the fifth step in building emotional momentum leading to treatment acceptance for complex care patients.
Inspiration occurs during the post-examination discussion after you’ve provided hope and discussed your examination findings. Inspiration is critical for complex care patients. Inspiration is provided in three steps; photographs of similar patient outcomes, storytelling, and a simulation of your patient’s outcome.
Let’s start with photographs. It’s inspiring for patients to see outcomes similar to what they can expect.
Be sure your photographs are of professional portrait quality. Show “before and after” full-face smiling photographs. I like using an iPad to show photographs. This way, patients can hold the iPad and feel closer to the outcome. Just hand the iPad to your patient, briefly tell them what they’re looking at, and then remain silent. Let them enjoy the moment.
Then, it’s time for step two when inspiring; storytelling.
Tell your new patient the story of the patient in the photo. Patients’ stories all have similar structures. Start with the patient’s first name in the photo and explain you’ve been permitted to use it. Then, tell about how the patient’s conditions affected their life; the disability. After that, tell about how the dentistry improved the patient’s lifestyle; the benefit.
The third step in inspiring is showing your new complex care patient a simulation of her outcome.
There are excellent digital scanning software packages available to show estimated clinical outcomes. They require patients to go through the scanning process taken during their diagnostic records. There are also cell phone photo applications that allow you to simulate outcomes. A team member can create the “new smile” simulation in a few minutes with only a modest amount of training and click-and-drag computer skills. Again, I like showing the simulations on an iPad so your patient and feels closer to the outcome.
Explain that they’re looking at an approximation of their outcome. Say it’s an estimate of how changes in tooth position, shape, and color could improve their overall facial appearance. Let them quietly experience the simulation. Then, after a few moments, ask your patient their opinion of the simulation. An excellent question to ask is if they feel an outcome like they’re looking at will provide the lifestyle benefit they seek.
Think back to our lesson on empathy. During this lesson, we learned the lifestyle benefits patients seek. Let’s say with your new patient Christine, her lifestyle benefit is looking great for her daughter’s wedding. Now, after Christine sees her outcome simulation, ask, “Christine, is this something that you had in mind for your daughter’s wedding?” Then, let Christine talk.
Don’t lecture, don’t educate, or get into clinical details.
Let Christine imagine how she’d feel at her daughter’s wedding, looking as good as the simulation shows. This moment is about inspiring patients, not educating them. Often complex care patients need more inspiration than education. Let the simulation do its job. Combining excellent photography with well-told stories and outcome simulations provides the emotional outcome of inspiration.
This escalates the new patient experience of emotional momentum leading to treatment acceptance. Our next video is about the emotional outcome of confidence.