What a difference

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Dr Mark HassedFor various reasons, in the past week I’ve had eye examinations by two different practitioners. One was a delightful experience and one left me cold.

The practitioner who left me cold chatted all about politics and current events. He did a whole lot of tests that took ages because of fluffing around. He took a picture of inside my eye with a very fancy machine and then spent 10 minutes describing and pointing out all that he could see on the picture. In the end I was bored because it took so long and frustrated because I had no idea if the information he was giving me was correct. To me it sounded like an attempt at justifying his fee. His recommendations were vague and full of jargon.

The second practitioner was warm, focussed and personable and he got straight down to business. No chatting about politics. He had a sense of gravitas. He looked intently in the backs of my eyes using just a strong light and a lens. He then said “Everything is fine.” No waffle, no obfuscation, no eye anatomy lesson and no attempt at justification. His recommendations were crystal clear and in plain English.

When it comes to dentistry are you the first practitioner or the second practitioner?

By the way, the second practitioner took 75% less clinical time yet charged me 20% more. And, I was happy to pay it.

3 thoughts on “What a difference

    davidmoffet said:
    September 23, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Great story Mark. Some times there are dentists who get so caught up in their own story they forget about the patient’s agenda.
    And it’s the patient who is the important person in the room, not the dentist, or doctor.

    As a consumer, I’m happy to pay whatever for great service. Like you received at Dr #2.

    Thanks for sharing this story.

    Tim Silbert said:
    October 1, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    This is very interesting, on one hand you have a practitioner who has invested in the best equipment to assist him in getting a good result, has a tangible record to refer back to and compare, is enthusiastic about what he can see and what he does, the second guy may as well have come from the ark and is only one step away from using a candle to check your retina, he rushed you through and charged you more. I cant understand how you prefer the more expensive and less thorough result.

    To contrast, you have a patient and you say “Mrs Jones you need a new crown on this tooth we will book this and do the prep tomorrow”. I have a patient who comes in for a comprehensive exam and I use the intraoral camera to get a record of what is going on, I say “Mrs Jones some of you teeth are very heavily filled and showing signs of cracking, I now show her the image capture. Some of these we can keep under review and will check back and monitor but this tooth is a concern to me and I think we need to look at a crown sooner rather than later so I would like to make an appointment to do this work. Next exam we will compare back and make sure these cracks we noted today aren’t becoming more significant.

    The difference is that I have a record and engaged the patient in staged treatment with future treatment needs locked in, you sold one crown and you will need to sell another next time with no ground work having been done.

    Yes I charged for my time and you might have charged more as you spent less time but which patient is worth more to the practice and which is set up for future treatment needs.

    As an example I had my latest skin check and at the same time was booked in for a excision of a lesion, there are others under watch so next time I just book for the next one to be cut out when I do the check, he has a camera and we can see changes, personally I think I have more faith in the skin guy than the one who just looks at the area under natural light.

    Am I missing something?


    Dr Mark Hassed responded:
    October 1, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Hi Tim,
    Excellent commentary and you raise some good points. The first practitioner misread his patient. I don’t give two hoots how the vessels and nerves are arranged at the back of my eye. Eye anatomy is a subject that holds zero interest for me. To have to sit through a 10 minute lecture on the subject was a tedious waste of time. All I wanted to know was “am I OK?”
    In dentistry so many dentists assume that patients are interested in the minutiae of what we do. They try to teach dentistry 101. They show cross-sectional diagrams of teeth and bore the socks of the patient. Sure there are some patients who want this but, IMHO, most don’t.
    That was the point I was making.

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