For my first ramble of this year I actually don't want to do that much of the talking. Instead I want to bring your attention to some previous posts by Lincoln Harris. You have probably already heard of him. He is the original creator of the R.I.P.E (Restorative Implant Practice Excellence) forum: https://www.facebook.com/groups/381541188712740/
If you haven't already found that forum I would strongly suggest you check it out.
He also has his own site where he documents his work and often posts very thought provoking writing on various aspects of dentistry. I am not ashamed to say that I was inspired by these posts when I started thinking about creating my first Rambles.
The ones I want to highlight today relate to treatment planning which Dr Harris compares to the 3 legs of a tripod. The first leg is "What does the patient want?". He discusses that here:
The second leg is "What does the patient have?":
The third leg is "What can the patient afford?":
Last year I had the opportunity to attend one of Dr Harris' courses about rapid efficient treatment planning but chose not to and instead invested the money on more photographic equipment. I am happy that I have a better camera but in hindsight I wish I had gone on his course.
I will admit that I often struggle with the concept of treatment planning. Particularly regarding the points of what the pt wants and what they can afford. I make assumptions which may not ring true. Over time I feel I have got better at letting the pt talk and not putting words in their mouth but I still sometimes find this tricky.
So one thing I will be trialling this year is a simple document that I call "The Objectives Compass". I am hoping that when I feel I am struggling to nail down what a pt really wants I might be able to use that to help guide the conversation. As you can see from the photo, it is just a very simple compass with common dental objectives for the different directions. The pt can then indicate which path they feel is right for them and that can then be the basis for further discussions about treatment options and costs.
It wont work in every case, but for example it broadly works that if a pt states their main objective is to have the best looking smile, that is going to be pulling them away from minimally invasive work and will also cost more than other options and they should be made aware that some alternatives may last longer. And it works the same for each direction on the compass.
It can be handled in the same way as the consent forms via the adobe fill and sign app which allows you to add extra text as shown in the example. It also allows you to document the pts selection via underlining, or circling certain words, or just putting a point anywhere on the compass if the pt is equally drawn by 2 objectives.
So the main point of this post is to draw your attention to the posts by Dr Harris but also add my little addition. I am happy to take any feedback on this idea.
So below is the original objectives compass I posted and an alternative version that may be useful based on discussions with other dentists.
Dr Chris Harper