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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!

Kirk Behrendt

Kirk Behrendt is a renowned consultant and speaker in the dental industry, known for his expertise in helping dentists create better practices and better lives. With over 30 years of experience in the field, Kirk has dedicated his professional life to optimizing the best systems and practices in dentistry. Kirk has been a featured speaker at every major dental meeting in the United States. His company, ACT Dental, has consistently been ranked as one of the top dental consultants in Dentistry Today's annual rankings for the past 10 years. In addition, ACT Dental was named one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States by Inc Magazine, appearing on their Inc 5000 list. Kirk's motivational skills are widely recognized in the dental industry. Dr. Peter Dawson of The Dawson Academy has referred to Kirk as "THE best motivator I have ever heard." Kirk has also assembled a trusted team of advisor experts who work with dentists to customize individual solutions that meet their unique needs. When he's not motivating dentists and their teams, Kirk enjoys coaching his children's sports teams and spending time with his amazing wife, Sarah, and their four children, Kinzie, Lily, Zoe, and Bo.