Thursday, May 6, 2010

Patients doing work for you

Need I say more.

Good week for me. It is still kind of slow at the office, but we are managing.

Before I forget...
I have decided that I want to lecture, and I want to lecture on Posterior Composite Restorations.I would like for you to help with a title that will attract people.
The title is huge in lecturing.Case and point..Drill'em, Fill'em and Thrill them. 1000's of people showed up for this class, and it wasn't even about restorations.
As you know, I am conservative in my approach to restorations. I think I can fill a lot of things that might make you shake your head, like "no he didn't".Don't forget to double click on the images to see the depth of these restorations.

And the reason I do this is to save the tooth from the inevitable crown that they are going to need.
You know once you get a crown, you can't go back. So I want to portray this in my title.
Something like "Going back to basics..fillings." or "Tick off your a filling."
See what I mean, I need help.

Today I wanted to talk to you about having patients work for you.
I am not talking about bartering; I am talking about having a person in the chair that is a plumber, and you have a leak in your house.
So you say, "Hey, can you help me with a leak at my house?"

Now you are not just picking this dude just because he is a plumber. You have a past with him, you like him, and you think he is someone you can trust.
So you ask him.
Have you ever done this?

For me it was with our air conditioning. For the last 8 years or so we have had issues being HOT in our office.
Every year we have done things to improve our conditions in the office in the summer.
We tinted our windows one year.
We added another unit the next.
The next year we replaced a unit (oh, by the way, the units are on the roof, so we had to rent one of those cranes).
So when it was hot the next year, I called this guy, who is a patient, who does air conditioning.
I said, I don't care how much it costs, I just want it to be better. I know all the units work, but it is not cool in here.
We have 3500 square feet and five air conditioning units. Are you kidding me?
I have two at my house, and I can practically make it snow.
Granted three of the five units are old, but they have all check out.
I asked this guy to come in and do a full evaluation.

So he comes back with drawings of everything we have up there. He tells me what every unit is doing. He tells me what rooms each unit is doing.
He tells me what shuts off when one turns on. He tells me what flap opens when the air pressure is done.
Blah, blah, blah.
I stopped him and said, "Listen, I don't know what the hell you are talking about. And in fact, I don't care. I care about one thing....AT 2PM, EVERYDAY, I HAVE SWEAT RUNNING DOWN MY BACK.
Can you fix it?
I don't want a quick fix. I want it fixed right, and I don't want to talk to you next year about the same thing.
He has every tech known to man walk through my office. He had the electric expert. He has the flow expert and the unit guy.
So we sit down, and he has a plan. It is a three-step plan, and it is all spelled out what they were going to do and how much it was going to cost.
Wait a minute, I do the same thing.
Again he starts with the air conditioning jargon, and all I wanted was the bottom line.
I then again asked him, "Can you fix it, and can you make it so I don't need you next year?"

Here is the problem.
The hottest months are June, July, August. Through June we realize our air conditioning is in trouble. July we have got around to hiring someone and in August they are fixing it.
So by the time it is fixed, the weather is getting a bit cooler.
We might have about three weeks of extreme heat to judge from. And we say, "You know, I think it is better."
Then next June you realized, "It ain't better".

So I did all the three phases this guy spelled out.
It was something like $10,000 by the time we were through.
And you know what, "I think it is better."

Well, it isn't.
I called them back a couple of times, and it was a lot of fumbling on their words and you need another of this and this has stopped working and "you need a pheltzer valve".
But by that time I was pissed because I did everything they said, and I still have BUTT SWEAT.

After a couple of months of back and forth, I decided to go with another company.
They decided to go another way. It was about a $1000 fix and it worked.
We have had so many people say that they are cold in our office, and it thrills me. We even have had to pull out the blankets a lot. And I love it.

But go way back in the story and remember that this guy was a patient.
I am a little pissed at him, and he probably has some issues with insecurity knowing that I might be a pissed and that his company couldn't fix my issues.
He probably knows that I got someone else because all the thermostats are new.
But I am still his dentist. I think he likes me as a dentist. I don't think he wants to go anywhere else.
It is awkward for me and for him. We are supposed to go back to our relationship before the $10,000 was spent.

People in my staff would say, I would never use a patient to do work at my house because things can go wrong. I get that. I think for me it is, are they fair? Are they honest? Are they treating me like they would treat their family?
I know dentists who don't live in town they work in on purpose. They don't want to see their patients out and about. They don't want to get that feeling of insecurity.
I, most of the time, like seeing my patients out. I do the best I can. I am honest. I am fair. I am comfortable saying that I would treat everyone like my family.
Now, most of the issues occur when people screw me somehow. They didn't pay their bill. They are going to another dentist for some reason or another.
The only issue I have with seeing people out is that I don't remember any names.
It's always, "Hey you?" or "What's up dude" or "Hey gorgeous".
Or that I don't remember them at all.

What do you think about this?
Do you work with patients? Has it bit you?
Do you live out of town on purpose?
Do you like seeing patients out?

Have a great weekend,
Mother's day on Sunday. And don't give me this "My wife is not my mother" crap.
Fellas, go get a card and flowers for your wife.


P.S. Remember I need a title for my lecture. Help.


Cesar said...

never, ever, ever, mix business with business. next time you treatment plan a crown (er, wait, MODBL-COMP) on the HVAC guy, he'll have a bubble over his head saying "jeez, i wonder if he's trying to re-coup the 10Gs he just gave me"..

title for the lecture: "when it needs an endo in 3 months, you'll go through fewer burs accessing the chamber" ;)

kidding. awesome work, beautiful anatomy.

happy mom's day and a nice weekend!


Anonymous said...

Bad Idea to use pts for work. It is tempting though. How about Composite works of art. Composite monuments. European Dentistry Gammichia Style. Gammichia it.

Unknown said...

I needed drywall and trim in my basement. Got a $6000 quote from one contractor. I remembered that a favorite patient had done good work for a friend. I got a quote from him, MUCH less because he does all his own work.

I've seen this guy for years as a perio patient and really trusted him. He and his helper worked at my house for two weeks. Got the job done very nicely. He gave me the bill and it was a little below the quote. Super great deal for both of us. He needed the work and I needed it done

Another pt and I barter services. He takes care of my boat, gives me an invoice and I just credit hus account for that much. Works great.

I think it can work. You just have to pick carefully.

Anonymous said...

occasionally will do this.....can be a problem tho. I did have the good fortune to barter an irrigation system a couple of years ago. Already had a quote from him and subsequently his son was referred in for some tx....worked out great.


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