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One of the areas that I have trouble with is figuring out is how to get from point A to point B and ultimately, completion when starting complex cases. I find myself forgetting things and having to rethink the process every time I have to schedule the patient’s next visit. How do you handle this?
Views: 1155 Created: 10/14/2010 20:24 Last Updated: 10/14/2010 20:24

I love your question because I’ve witnessed my associate fall prey to the same issue. In fact, I’ve spoken with many a doc that subscribe to “seat of the pants” treatment sequencing.  Mind you I’m not talking about treatment planning but rather, laying out the visits that will execute the agreed upon treatment plan.  This might be thought of as GPS treatment planning in that one’s destination is visualized in advance much like a MapQuest print out. Many years ago, before the popularity of implants, combination cases were done more frequently. Heck, guys even used to lecture about this kind of stuff.

Being a fan of the combination case (crown and bridge combined with removable appliances), I decided early on that if I was going to do these cases, I needed an organized approach to it.  To that end, I developed a very simple flow chart that forced me to plan all the visits before starting the case.  I included such elements as:

1. What would be done at each visit;
2. How much time I wanted scheduled for each visit;
3. How much time needed to elapse between each visit;
4. How much might be expected with respect to payment at each visit; and
5. What items I needed to get between visits . . . such as a custom tray or bite block.

This little map was filled in following case acceptance and handed to my scheduling coordinator or whoever would set up at least the first few visits and later use the GPS treatment sequence as a guide for setting up any future appointments. Keep in mind, this works for any kind of complex, multi-visit treatment plan.

The end result is that I was less apt to forget crucial elements needed for each visit and everyone had a general idea of when the case would be completed.  Of course, it was understood that on occasion a lab misfire might occur which would necessitate an amendment to the map . . . but hey, when you miss that right turn, doesn’t your GPS just recalculate the route? Not a big deal.

If you’d like a copy of that GPS form, you can download it from my web site at www.drgoldsteinspeaks.com.  And remember, it’s not just for combination cases.  It can be used to lay out any type of treatment plan. Give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.