How to hold a successful perio referral evening

There seems to be a lot of uncertainty about when to refer periodontal cases to a specialist for treatment. Against a background of rising litigation in periodontal cases, this is very understandable.

If your practice accepts periodontal referrals from others, holding a well-organised educational evening is an excellent way to meet potential referring dentists and share your expert opinion on the issue. Not only does it give you the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge, it also highlights your dedication to fostering relationships among your fellow practitioners.

By meeting potential referring dentists in person, solid foundations will be laid onto which good working relationships may be built. It is also a good refresher course for your own staff!
 
In order to arrange a successful evening, the dental team will need to plan the event very carefully. A poorly arranged or half-hearted attempt will reflect badly on your professional abilities and will only serve to drive practitioners away rather than recommend your services to their precious patients.

Send invitations out at least six weeks in advance and call them to confirm their attendance nearer the date of the event. The more effort the team can put in beforehand, the greater the rewards will be afterwards.

Even if just one impressed dentist or hygienist sends their patients on to you for treatment as a result of the evening, all of the planning and preparation will have been worth it!
 
Verifiable CPD
No dentist, hygienist or dental nurse will want to waste an evening of their free time without feeling that they (and by extension, their patients) will gain something from it.

Although some practitioners in your area may be actively seeking a dentist for patient referrals, chances are most clinicians will already have systems in place to deal with cases that lie outside of their own abilities. So, referral practices looking to cast their net a little wider will need to provide an incentive for clinicians to attend their event. One possibility is to offer practitioners verifiable CPD hours for attending the course, but keep in mind that for the CPD points to be genuinely ‘verifiable’, the GDC stipulates that course attendees must fill out a feedback form at the end of the event.
 
Content
Of course, delegates won’t be fooled if you try to convince them that all periodontal cases, no matter how severe, should be referred to a specialist. Keeping the evening as informative as possible and encouraging discussion in an open, honest atmosphere will also demonstrate your professionalism.
 
All referral practitioners should aim to work as an extension of their referral patients’ practice. In order for this to happen, excellent communication between practitioner, patient and referral dentist is key. If the referring dental professional has an understanding of the kind of treatments you provide, they will be armed with the necessary information to inform their patients of their options and to describe the outcomes they should expect.

For example, a periodontist holding a referral evening for dental nurses, hygienists and dentists might want to cover a wide range of topics such as diagnosis, classification, prognosis, referral policy and treatment planning. A referring practitioner’s accompanying patient notes are a great help to any specialist, so the better the knowledge they have of the case in hand, the more relevant and detailed their notes for the specialist will be.
 
Allow time for attendees to ask plenty of questions and be prepared for lots of lively debate. Don’t be afraid to disagree with your peers (explaining your reasoning clearly), but do try to avoid allowing a difference in opinion to deteriorate into an all out row!
 
Case studies
Of course, no amount of tempting refreshments and detailed lecture notes will be able to convince attendees of your practical skills as a clinician. A great way to showcase your abilities is to enlist the help of a willing patient or to fill your presentation with your own clinical cases and good quality images.

This will prove to delegates that you are confident in your abilities and will do wonders for your credibility as a professional. Even in a worst case scenario if something does go wrong during a demonstration, by keeping calm and following the usual procedure, delegates will leave knowing that you know how to overcome mishaps – further cementing your reliability.
 
Holding a well-planned referral evening is a perfect way to introduce your team and your services to other dental professionals in your local area, and to show them how you can work closely together to achieve the very best outcome for the patient.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Case studies
 
Of course, no amount of tempting refreshments and detailed lecture notes will be able to convince attendees of your practical skills as a clinician. A great way to showcase your abilities is to enlist the help of a willing patient or to fill your presentation with your own clinical cases and good quality images. This will prove to delegates that you are confident in your abilities and will do wonders for your credibility as a professional. Even in a worst case scenario if something does go wrong during a demonstration, by keeping calm and following the usual procedure, delegates will leave knowing that you know how to overcome mishaps – further cementing your reliability.
 
Holding a well-planned referral evening is a perfect way to introduce your team and your services to other dental professionals in your local area, and to show them how you can work closely together to achieve the very best outcome for the patient.
 
Shushil Dattani is the Clinical Director of the Kent Implant Studio. For more information or to obtain a referral pack please call 01622 671 265, or visit www.kentimplantstudio.com
 
 
 
 
 

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