Kevin Henry: How's the Handoff in Your Practice?

Today's post is a guest post from our friend Kevin Henry, former managing editor at Dental Economics. In this piece, he discusses the all-important "handoff" and why patients should never go it alone when visiting the dentist.---It may be March and football season may be months away. However, it’s never a bad time to be thinking about how the handoff is handled in your dental practice.

Just like football players have to constantly practice making the handoff correctly, there’s an art form to ensuring that, when your patient leaves the back and heads toward the front, he or she doesn’t feel confused, alone or forgotten.

Think about football. If a quarterback and running back don’t execute the handoff correctly at the goal line, a fumble could occur and the chance for scoring a touchdown could be lost. The same can be said for your practice. If a patient walks to the front desk by himself or herself and has to answer questions about what was done in the operatory that day, you’re fumbling away a valuable chance to ensure your patient knows how much you value him or her as a customer. You’re also taking a chance on some incorrect information being shared.

The best dental practices ensure that a patient never walks to the front alone. There’s also someone there to talk to them and reassure them after a procedure has been completed. That same person is also there to answer any questions the patient might have before leaving OR any questions the front desk might have about what was done that day.

From the time the patient walks into your practice until the time he or she leaves, he or she should feel like the most important person you have as a customer. After all, you’re not just running a dental practice and these aren’t just patients. You’re running a business and these are people who are your customers.

Sooner than later, talk with your team about how the handoff from the front to the back works in your practice. Ensure that your patients are escorted to the front and have no questions when they head home. Making sure your handoff is the best it can be is the best way for your patients to see your practice as a winning team every day.

Kevin Henry is the former managing editor of Dental Economics and speaks to dental audiences around the country on topics ranging from practice management mistakes to empowering dental assistants. He and his wife, practice management consultant Dayna Johnson, will be lecturing on “Solving the 3 Biggest Battles Between the Back and the Front” on April 6 in Denver. They will be giving their presentations in other cities throughout 2017 as well. For more information, visit