Dental Practice Advice-Amos Tversky, You, and Your Patients

dental practice advice

I bet you’ve never heard of Amos Tversky or his behavioral studies as I apply them to dental practice advice-even though just that kind of study of how your patients decide things is far more important right now to you than anything going on in dental research.

During a recent podium presentation, I gave the audience an Amos Tversky survival and loss/benefit test.  The test uses a life and death health situation to point out how we are all hard wired to be influenced by how information is presented.

The tested audience of dentists, auxiliaries, and team members received the same scenario where they would need to choose a cancer treatment option.   Half of the room had their treatment options framed (presented) via the benefits and the other half from a loss perspective.

In the scenario, based on the odds of dying, radiation was the WRONG choice, no matter what, if you wanted the best possible chance of survival.  Here’s how the audience of doctors and teams chose:

When benefits were presented:          72% chose surgery and 28% chose radiation.
From potential loss was presented:      60% chose surgery and 40% chose radiation.

No surprise, even an educated health care group was swayed by the information “framed” the strongest via loss.  People were pushed into a bad decision simply based on how information is presented.  It’s a very typical result with this test.

In my dental practice advice I give to my dentist memebers-there are DIRECT applications of this in how you discuss treatment and present cases.  If this kind of information is ignored, ultimately, patients make worse decisions.

There’s a reasonable argument that once one is aware of this kind of science, an ethical obligation arises to understand the right and wrong ways to frame treatment options, since harm is done when it’s left out of patient discussions.   Yes, one could do evil things with this kind of information but we are in the caring business of helping people make good choices surrounding life with functional dentition.

Is anyone in your dental circles or CE circles talking about this type of dental practice advice?  Are you reading it in any dental journal?   Does anyone at the podiums you listen to ever mention other names like Kahneman, Cialdini, or Iyengar?  If you’re not getting exposure to such, your results with more elective treatment plans are automatically diminished….and most in the profession don’t know what they don’t know.

Amos Tversky is just one of many behavioral SCIENCE related items built into the ethical selling program we teach our member doctors.   It’s a small investment to make sure you are doing the right thing by your patients.

Why not take some more helpful dental practice advice by reading my book found on Amazon.