Great Ideas From Outside the Box – The Post It Note

Sometimes there are simple things that you can use in your dental office that come from thinking as I say, from “outside the box”. Using ideas and things not related to dentistry, in and during the practice of dentistry, to create more MAGICAL MOMENTS for your cleints, customers and patients….

Here’s one we started using in my office which has been very successful, and has been taken up like WILDFIRE by my consulting clients and shown immediate results in their offices.

The Humble Post It Note…


As dentists, sometimes we can become very, dare I say it, anal. We get so tied up in procedural detail, engrossed in the minuti of the PROCESS of the procedure that we are doing that we can sometimes forget the WHO that we are doing it to…. Has this ever happened to you? Yes? No? Believe you me this can be very, very, common…

You know, Dale Carnegie wrote: “Remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in the English language.”

But sometimes you sit there, over a patient…and wonder if their name is Dianne or Dianna? Or Joanne or Joanna? I don’t know whether this has ever happened to you, but sometimes a dentist can forget the patient’s name completely……right there while they’re working on them!!

You see, the treatment rooms are often set up very poorly, when it comes to visual name prompts. In other industries, like phone calling and tele-marketing, and even at conferences, the names of the people that are being dealt with are worn, as a badge, or written, on a screen, to be easily seen and repeated, as needed.

But in the treatment room, often the patients name can’t be seen, it’s in small writing…on a computer screen, on a small chart, sometimes way away, sometimes behind your back!!

So here’s what we did in my office. …

Before bringing the patient down to the treatment room, we have our dental chairside assistant write the patients name in big letters on a post it note…..and stick the note onto the edge of a bench in the operatory.

Once the patient is seated in the chair, and the chair starts reclining, the dentist takes the post it note from the bench and adheres it to the corner of the patients bib [must be a double sized bib….more on the reason for using these in a future blog]……

So now the patient’s name is right there in front of you, beside their mouth and face, every time you need it…

And best of all, the patient doesn’t even know that it’s there!!

Now, we also have the dental assistant write on that note the patient’s next appointment date, and purpose.

What this does is save a heck of a lot of time at the end of each appointment… as the chair comes up, the doctor slips off the post it note, and farewells the patient with a very courteous and unprompted “Mrs Smith, I’ll see you on the 23rd  of August for your next hygiene visit…etc”

You can’t believe how impressed the patients are with your attention to detail, and they DO notice that you haven’t had to start clicking away at the computer screen for this information…. the way every OTHER dentist does it.


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