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Why Patients Make Terrible Historians

Every dentist has that patient who thinks they’re always right. You know who I’m talking about! They say things like, “Ten o’clock? I thought my appointment started at eleven.” Or, “I’m pretty sure I paid that off last time.”

Patients get details wrong all the time. They hear what they want to hear, not what your team actually says. That’s nothing new—patients will always try to convince you they’re right. The real problem is that your team is relying on patients for information.

You can’t depend on a patient’s memory. As the provider, it’s your job to get the details right. And when I say you, I don’t just mean you. Every team member plays a role in setting the record straight for patients.

How will you do that? Well, by keeping a record! Track things like X-rays, fluoride treatments, fillings and payments in the computer system. Track your communications, too, like phone calls and email reminders. That way, your admin can point to the screen and say, “Actually, your appointment did start at ten o’clock.”

Don’t rely on patients. Show patients they can rely on YOU!

Need something to brighten your day? Here’s our take on the patient who’s “always right.” Show it to the team at your next morning huddle!


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