Dr Mark Hassed

Dental offices are high pressure environments. There are time pressures, the technical difficulty of the work, staff issues and the fact that you might cause pain to a live human being.

In the middle of a busy day you need checklists to keep your communication with patients on track. Checklists stop you blathering on, wasting time and getting lost.

In dentistry it's so easy for your brain to get fried.

That's why I often see dentists who stop diagnosing and just go into patch up mode at the end of the year when they're tired. It's also why dentists often blow a case presentation after they've just done a difficult procedure.

When used correctly, communications checklists multiply your effectiveness and keep you out of trouble.

Using a checklist to manage your communication is sort of like a pilot using a checklist to land a plane. With all complex tasks there's a lot going on and by using a checklist you make sure that you do things right and that nothing is forgotten.

Over the coming 2 months I'll be sharing the communication checklist I use. It was originally given to me by Dr Omer Reed and has been tried and tested over the past 25 years. It has never let me down.

In fact, it has saved me vast amounts of time, and most importantly given me the peace of mind. It doesn't matter how busy I am, I just run the checklist and I know it will all work out OK.

I hope that you enjoy Omer's checklist and my comments on its use.

The series starts in 3 weeks on 20 March.

In the interim try looking at how you communicate with patients. Is there a system or do you just say whatever comes to mind? Do you find yourself wasting a lot of time fielding irrelevant questions? Does it take a long time to get to the point where the patient can make a decision?

If so, you really need to follow the upcoming series of articles.

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