Do dental patients know what they want?

Do (Dental) patients know what they want?

A recent article in the British Medical Journal discussed the instruction from Health Education England that patients and public should be consulted on ‘What they need from 21st century medical graduates’.

I’m reminded of Henry Ford: ‘If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me – “A faster horse!”’.

Steve Jobs, added: ‘People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.

‘That’s why I never rely on market research.

‘Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.’

Prevention

If we’d asked people 50 years ago they wouldn’t have mentioned prevention and treatment of dementia in a reply.

Indeed, it is likely they would not have considered prevention at all.

Would they have suggested smoke-free workplaces, public houses and restaurants?

If the same question is asked of dental patients, ‘painless’, ‘free’ and ‘always available’ might be high on the list.

Two decades ago, a desire for straight white teeth without much ‘drilling’ would probably have been included as desirable.

But not considered possible by most dental patients.

The revolution in general (dental) practice driven by a desire to deliver an alternative to disease-driven repair care with minimally invasive, patient centred, cosmetic care was not anticipated.

Similarly, putting dentistry at the heart of general medical care would scarcely be an expectation or demand from most of the population – were they even to be asked.

Yet we know that the future must embrace the concept of ‘putting the mouth back in the body’.

Dentistry’s task is to take Job’s words and not only read but also write things not yet on the page.

Who knows where that might take the next generation of dentists?

First published in Dentistry.co.uk

The more things change…

From the editorial in the current BDJ

Each generation believes that it discovers everything for the first time and suffers each difficulty anew. Is it that a certain personality type was (and is still) attracted to dentistry? If so, does this partly explain today’s burnout statistics as much as it did then? ‘In 1913, Dormer was declared bankrupt, which he stated was caused by continuing ill-health … he had left his previous job as an assistant due to a nervous breakdown but had been unable to work up a business sufficiently large to meet his living expenses, been in financial difficulties for some years and had taken loans from money lenders.’

As usual a great read, and I’ve never been to Bexhill-on-Sea either.

 

“I wish someone told me” Ira Glass

My thanks to Will Rees for sharing this.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. 

All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. 

But there is this gap. 

For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. 

It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. 

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. 

And your taste is why your work disappoints you. 

A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. 

Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. 

We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. 

We all go through this. 

And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. 

Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. 

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. 

And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. 

It’s gonna take awhile. 

It’s normal to take awhile. 

You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

The Monday Morning Quote #566

“Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.”

Jean de La Bruyère

Lessons Learned from the RNLI

I was at a meeting at our local RNLI station in Union Hall a few months ago. We were counting the cash from the annual fundraising collection in and around Skibbereen.

Whilst we were waiting to get started I was nosing around, as I do – curiosity being one of my core values, and came across these files on a shelf.

The RNLI exists because things go wrong on the sea or sea-shore. If everything went according to plan, if there were no storms, no tides, no human or mechanical errors, the volunteers who man the rescue boat would not have to routinely put their lives at risk.

Of course not everything goes smoothly during rescues or practicing sessions. So they have a file of what they have taken on board (excuse any pun) during any activities. I’m sure someone in Health Education England, the GDC, the CQC or any combination of “stakeholders” could have spent months with focus groups, working parties and in depth questionnaires to produce a paragraph length title for such a file.

In West Cork (and I’m sure throughout the RNLI) it is pragmatically called: “LESSONS LEARNED”.

Where is yours?

What makes some people more productive?

Time management in Dentistry continues to be a massive stumbling block to success especially when “speed” and “effectiveness” are confused, one leaves you knackered at the end of the day and not earning properly, the other brings rewards that you can appreciate.

We all have the same amount of minutes in an hour, hours in a day, days in a week etc. But some people clearly get more done than others. Often there is resentment from the “doing less” camp who say that the achievers cut more corners, don’t do things properly and so on but I find this is mostly sour grapes.

My experience of being in dental practices, operating theatres and offices is that the people who get most done are the ones who plan their days, roll their sleeves up and get on with it, start their day on time, who “eat the frog” as early in the day as possible and build in flexibility for when “stuff” happens.

Pozen and Downey found that the most productive people were good at:

  • overcoming procrastination
  • getting to the final product 
  • focussing on daily accomplishments &
  • delegating clearly and effectively

On the other hand those who scored lower:

  • did not plan their days in advance
  • were easily distracted by the avoidable 
  • did not have great routines &
  • (frequently) blamed others for their lack of productivity

If you want to have a good day you have to decide what a good day is and work backwards. Sadly too many people still let the tail wag the dog.

Just say no….

It’s easy isn’t it?

To say “No”.

Really?

I would love to say that having been close to and through burnout on a few occasion as both an employed dentist, a practice owner and (even) as a coach – yeah, yeah I know, I should know better – saying “no” is still one of the hardest things to do.

You want, and think you need, the business, the popularity, the money.

You don’t want to turn someone away, to use a negative word, to let them down.

What if this is the last person who asks you?

What if this leads to a hugely successful opening or opportunity?

What will they think of you when you turn them down?

We all know that we are all trying to achieve too much, demands on the only thing that everyone has (time) are growing, last week I visited Practice Owner and mother of three sorry, Mother of three and Practice Owner, Lauren Harrhy and marvelled at her composure and balance as she seeks to carry on her good work and become a BDA rep. 

Tony Barton from Red Kite World who was one of my teachers during my Coach Training sent me a link this morning. It features Greg McKeown and his book “Essentialism – The disciplined pursuit of less”.

I own this book but haven’t read it – yet.

Why? Because I haven’t found the time.

Why? Because I keep saying yes to other things.

Take a look at Greg speaking

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