A discussion about ethics

27 02 2010

 We see it in the news all too often. Someone, maybe a CEO or a Senator, has done something unethical. It seems to be part of our culture these days. But what does this mean for dentistry?

 Dr. Ann Boyle talked about just that during her “Ethics in Dentistry” seminar Saturday morning at the CDS Midwinter Meeting. She covered various scandals that have come up over the years and how they have shaped the public’s perception of ethics in general and even how they look at dentists. She also covered ethics in dentistry and dental schools.

 During her talk, Dr. Boyle hit on key ethical topics, including selling to the patient, only treating patients when it’s convenient for you and overtreatment. Dentists have to remember they are health care providers first and are there for the patient, not just to make money. She also shared poll results that show while patients still seem to trust dentists for the most part, that trust level is slipping. Patients know you make money for the services you provide, and to them that may mean you’re suggesting unnecessary treatment plans, even when you’re not.

 “We run a small business and we need to be efficient and productive,” she said. “But if we approach each patient as a potential sale and are only focused on selling cases and lose sight of the health care aspect of dentistry, we’re going to lose the trust of our patients.”

 During the three-hour course, Dr. Boyle also went over the ADA Code of Ethics and ethical dilemmas doctors may face in their practice.

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4 responses

27 02 2010
Annette Stelter, RDH

Interesting discuss topic, I would like to hear more.

2 03 2010
Dr Prus

Annette,
It all comes down to who you are as a person, what is your mission in dentistry, and how do you incorporate your vision for your business into that. It is all standard stuff: mission, vision, purpose, mechanics. Every business can apply these cornerstones to create their model. It makes like better when you have these defined.

28 02 2010
Dr. Robert Tauber

In our NYSDA Mandated Ethics & Jurisprudence for the Dental Practioner,ADA
Golden Apple Award winning course, which I am one of the presenters with our
NYSDA attorney,Lance Plunkett,we advise the dentist if he feels the patient has
questions about the treatment as far as being necessary, you should suggest
they get a 2nd opinion.This will most often reinforce the need for this treatment
and show patient not doing this just for the fee.

1 03 2010
E Prus

I personally think, if this article captured the essence of the presentation, that the severity of the issue was not stressed sufficiently. I hardly ever meet a patient who doesn’t feel distrusting of the care they have been receiving. Furthermore, the status of the mouths that walk into my office indicate a total lack of caring, awareness, and perhaps ability on the part of the dentists in my region. I am sure there are good dentists locally but there are far too many bad ones. Several colleagues of mine who came to the area from NYC as I did, are astonished at the low quality of care. I hope this is a regional issue and not widespread, but I fear the ‘salesmanship’ approach that was so bantered around in the heydays of the ’80s and ’90s, has caused us to lose our focus. What astounds me is the amount of dentistry that is not done, and the amount of money not made by dentists, in the pursuit of the quick sale of cosmetics and other unregulated procedures.

I have asked many patients as they come into my office if they trusted their dentist was totally interested in providing the best level of care for their health and the general response was about 10% felt that way. They would often comment their older dentist from years ago would have been the last to provide quality health care. This portends a bad trend indeed.

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