As a practice owner, your days are already busy enough with the responsibilities of running a business and leading a team. In order to free up more time and get off the tools, you’ll need to handover some of your patients.
What’s important is that you frame and outline it in a way that demonstrates the value to your patients. If you’re struggling to approach patient handover elegantly, here’s a winning framework and script that will help you tremendously.
1. Compelling reason to return
The first step is to establish a compelling reason for the patient to return in the first place – regardless of who will be delivering care.
The simple formula for this is to introduce:
- Seed concern
For example, I’d approach it like this…
“Bob, you’ve got a crack on that lower right molar. Now, the problem with that crack of course is that it could open up, and if it does open up, that could lead to the tooth breaking or indeed some nerve damage there. Now, I think this particular crack is not stable and we need to put a crown on it. Bob, this treatment is really important. It just can’t wait.”
2. Frame the handover
This is where we outline the time frame we’re working with, and explain the need for handing over to another dentist.
“Bob, the treatment is really important. The challenge we face is that my next available appointment is not for miles off and I really want to get this treatment done sooner. My strong desire is for it to be done in a timely manner.”
3. Introduce and edify associate
“For that reason, I’d love to introduce you to Dr Blogs and she’s an expert at this particular treatment. And in fact, she’s my dentist.”
Or you might say, “In fact, Dr Blogs has done this type of treatment for many, many of our patients in the past.”
Now, I’d never encourage you to lie and pretend that our hypothetical Dr Blogs is your dentist if she’s not. But if they have treated your friends or family or have had great outcomes with this treatment in the past, go right ahead and mention it because that will demonstrate a level of trust and expertise.
4. Test for acceptance
And then we’d test for acceptance.
“How does that sound to you, Bob? Are you okay with that?”
If a patient has concerns or hesitations, you’d rather know now so you can address them instead of dealing with a cancellation in the future. Let them ask any questions they need to and be there to answer and reassure in person.
5. Remove risk/objections
If the patient does have a level of concern, this is where you can offer alternative solutions to ease their mind.
“Bob, of course, if I have a change of schedule prior to that time, I’m more than happy to treat them myself. “
6. Reiterate compelling reason
But ultimately, you want to reinforce the reasons that they need to come back and why you need to handover to another dentist in the first place.
- Seed concern
“But I really just don’t want to leave it because if it does break or indeed the nerve does get infected, it’s a major problem that’s very hard to fix and I just don’t want to run that risk.”
So, there you have it. A simple but effective framework and script for handing over patient care. For a more in-depth look at handover, check out this podcast episode where I explore what it takes to have a productive associate who can pick up the baton and run with it.