Is Your Team Snoozing? Are You Losing Potential New Patients?
Who can ignore the onslaught of information about Sleep Apnea flooding the dental field today? Long time sufferers of Sleep Apnea are now being inundated with information about an alternative to the dreaded CPAP machine. This media blitz has patients hitting the internet hungry for information and wondering if they too can exchange the traditional ball and chain for a more conventional method of treating apnea. This certainly is the new wave in dentistry and an incredible opportunity for dentists to increase their bottom line, but how?
The first step towards incorporating these alternatives into your practice repertoire is education. Just as potential patients are being flooded with information, so are dentists. You won’t have to look hard to find numerous seminars at various levels. It is important to educate your entire team. Think about it – it definitely needs to be a team approach to be successful! Everyone on the team has to know how to “walk the walk” and “talk the talk”. Your team should be familiar with basic dental sleep terminology; the types of oral dental appliances used to treat sleep apnea, and be comfortable discussing basic sleep apnea questions.
Once you have education under your team’s belt, it’s time to establish basic systems for everyone to follow. It is important to establish a flow chart for your team to follow for sleep patients which includes detailed steps of the appointment process beginning with the initial phone call. Your system should detail each step of the appointment process including scripting for your team to follow in regards to insurance and treatment questions. It is imperative to include specific bullet points about your team’s approach that can be used to differentiate your practice from the growing masses of offices promoting their own Sleep Apnea treatment modalities. Systems will vary from office to office, but the key is to write the process down so that everyone is clear as to what needs to be done and who is responsible for each step. Role-playing is also an integral part to ironing out any obstacles, glitches, or communication difficulties prior to seeing your first patient.
You don’t have to look far to begin marketing alternative to CPAP treatment. By adding a few questions to your medical history pertaining to Sleep Apnea or adding the Epworth Sleep Test to your new patient paperwork, screenings will automatically become part of your routine. Your educated team can take this important screening information and discuss alternatives with your patient before you even enter the treatment room to conduct an exam. Chances are with one simple question, “Do you or someone you know snore?” you will be well on your way to incorporating Sleep Apnea alternatives into your practice.