5 Things Top DSM Practices Do

You want patients to ask “Should I be tested?”

600x300_bodilyYou bought the gym membership. It was on special and you were all amped up from the motivational speaker touting “extreme fitness and taking control of your life.” But like so many things in life, it ended up just a little plastic piece of guilt on your keychain. But seriously, how do some people do it?! How is it we buy the same system as that guy and his practice grows and grows? Why does his staff seem so “on board” with making new things work and others’ seem to be sabotaging themselves from the inside out? In this edition we thought we’d take a look at the 5 things successful practices do to treat OSA.

  1. They screen EVERYONE.

You’ve heard it before, “we screen all of our adult patients.” These practices hand out screenings like Ez Sleep’s Sleep Health Questionnaire or the Epworth to every patient. This is a matter of course; just like updating the health history. However, far too many practices call me up and ask the best way to approach and screen the obese patient, or the man with the diminished chin. I get my answer from those successful practices, “We screen everyone.” Patients in the waiting room are always thumbing through magazines or fiddling with their phones. Why not give them something meaningful to read? It’s amazing how often a patient will approach the dentist saying they were reading the symptoms and risk factors of obstructive sleep apnea and ask if maybe they should be tested.

  1. The dentist connects with the patient.

The difference between a dentist and a successful dentist is sometimes referred to as chairside manner. Your patients come and sit in your chair. Despite whatever is going on in their lives, they have made their health and well-being a priority. Successful practices understand that in many cases, their patients have never even heard of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. They’ve certainly never imagined it could be something that affects them. The dentist is there to answer a few questions about OSA and dispel their fears. After all, he isn’t even sure if his patient HAS OSA. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Let’s first have you tested by a top notch Home Sleep Testing company like Ez Sleep. Once we get the results we’ll have something to
talk about.”

  1. It takes a village.

I hear it all the time, “I’d be nowhere without my amazing staff.” This one orders, this one is a gem on the phones, this one can soothe even the most fearful patient. The person who can take a patient’s money and still laugh with them like they were high school buddies is a rare personality. That’s why they man your front desk. The most successful practices know when Mr. Smith’s next cleaning is, when Mrs. Barnes’ RCT is ready for a crown, and how old her grandson will be. These highly organized, ever-smiling front desk personnel are geniuses when it comes to scheduling a follow up consultation for the patient at risk for OSA. Yes, this consultation is 3-4 weeks out. However, that patient is far more likely to accept the testing from Ez Sleep, take the test the night they receive it, and ship it back right away. After all, they want to know the results too! According to reception here at Ez Sleep, we get upwards of 8-10 patient calls per week asking for their results. We assure them their results were sent to their dentist weeks ago. Successful practices make that call far before their patient can call us.

  1. They introduce partners.

A memorable introduction can go a long, long way. I love seeing a new patient walk into an office and be introduced to their hygienist, the treatment coordinator, the assistants, even the scrub tech. They get to see how a well-oiled machine runs. I know patients who want to see which lab the practice works with. In every successful OSA treatment case I can recall, the patient was introduced to us as Ez Sleep, their home sleep testing diagnostic company. When they see their trusted dentist trusting us…well, you see the pattern. This way, when an Ez Sleep scheduler calls to verify the shipping of their home testing device, the patient is confident they are still in good hands.

  1. They can’t leave well enough alone.

When doing a root canal do you just remove the nerve and say to yourself, “yeah, I’m sure I got it all.” Umm. No. Proof, right? You want empirical evidence to show your skill and competency as the professional you are. Same goes for sleep testing. You screened the patient and they showed risks. You prescribed a sleep test, told them the necessity of their cooperation and they smoothly took the Ez Sleep Home Test. You got the results from the Board Certified Sleep Physician and promptly shared them with your curious patient. You fitted them for an oral appliance and their symptoms have disappeared. Now, here’s what sets you apart: successful practices don’t stop there. They efficacy test their OAT patients. They show, without a shadow of a doubt, that this patient’s life has been ever changed. Consequently, that patient is now a lifetime wearer of the oral appliance to treat their sleep apnea. All because you went the extra mile.
Practices that are in this for the long haul have established themselves as strongholds in their community. More and more people are looking to their dentist for the treatment of snoring and they don’t even realize how their health is being improved. But we do. We’re just like you. We want to screen and test every person showing risk. The more we expose this epidemic of obstructive sleep apnea, the healthier and safer our communities will be. Ez Sleep raises a tiny little key fob to the successful practices we work with. We may not run into each other at the gym, but we all have to sleep sometime.

autumn_bodilyAutumn Bodily, RDA, is a writer, a twenty year veteran of dentistry, and Ez Sleep’s Director of Education and Training. She knows a good Oxford comma when she sees one.

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