Ping pong

… the (possibly deadly) game of bouncing patients between the dentists and the physician.

How so? Well, as explained as an example by a Forbes article, diabetics are considered the exclusive domain of physicians. Gum infections require a visit to the dentist. Yet these 2 chronic, inflammatory diseases are interrelated.

CHX has begun to work with medical teams which involve mobile hygienists. Our focus is to consult with diabetic patients about inflammation in their mouths. This oral inflammation can make diabetes more unmanageable than need be.

So how do we avoid patient ping pong? Here are some guidelines:

  1. The hygienist visit is part of the patient journey in the medical practice. The hygienist works in a medical examination room next door to the medical team.
  2. Nurse counselors make the referral to the hygienist
  3. The oral health consultation is short and sweet — 15 minutes with simple conclusions and recommendations
  4. Mention these words to the patient: no pain, a topical medicine, affordable, it works and is safe, it’s good for your diabetes.
  5. Track the patient via the EMR to reinforce the message at the next visit to the doctor.

In short, make it a unique, memorable experience for the diabetic patient, ripe for follow-up.