Dental Paperwork

Dental Paperwork

Dave Kinnear1-On Leadership

Dental Paperwork


It was time. The pandemic shutdown notwithstanding, I had to get to the dentist for a cleaning that I had been putting off far too long. So, I called for an appointment. I have been going to this dental office for many years. I was quite happy with the hygienist and the conservative way the dentist handled my teeth. He worked with me when it came to my aversion to x-rays. Instead of a full set of x-rays every year, he agreed that it would be acceptable to move to every-other-year unless there was an issue.

However, when I called the receptionist to make the

appointment, I was told I would have to fill out “new patient” paperwork and schedule a full set of x-rays. When I asked why I would need to fill out paperwork, I did not get a satisfactory response. Next, the receptionist informed me that I hadn’t had a full set of x-rays for four years. I knew that was not valid information. Their records were in disarray.


I made the appointment, but I slowly became more upset with filling out paperwork when the office should have all of it in their files. An email arrived with a set of horrible non-fillable pdf files. They were forcing me to print them out, complete them, and either mail or rescan and email the paper.

The more I thought about it, the more I decided that if I were going to have to go through all that work, I might as well be a new patient elsewhere. I asked around and got a recommendation from a trusted friend, called that dentist, and they told me that they would need a full set of x-rays, and I could fill out the new patient paperwork when I arrived. I made an appointment and then canceled the appointment with my old dental office.


I noticed a couple of things. First, I readily admit that I will be doing just as much work and taking just as much radiation now as I would have if I stayed with the dental office I had. My wife chose to stay with that office. I will be traveling farther to get to the new office.  In essence, the old dentist permitted or invited me to shop around. My aversion to paperwork, especially “crappy” paperwork, meant that I would not have changed if he hadn’t “forced” that paperwork on me.

Also, if they had provided clean, fillable pdf documents, I probably would not have changed. I found that almost all dentists are still using old photocopied documents. They are of terrible quality—tiny print in some cases, and barely readable. There is vast room for improvement, and it can’t possibly be that difficult or expensive to convert to current document technology.

Pushing Clients Away

I wonder how many of us do similar things in our interactions with customers. I know the banks are famous for pushing work off to consumers. I often check myself out at retailers like grocery stores and home improvement stores. It took me some time to convince myself to use a calendar program that allows others to book time with me. It’s very convenient—for both my clients and me. That was the key; it had to be more efficient for my clients. It turns out that my clients like the process much better than the several emails trying to find mutually agreeable times to meet.

I am well pleased with other healthcare services I use. The medical group that my insurance allows me to use shares all my data with physicians in the group. The specialists do not have to each take x-rays when addressing my issues—instead, they share one set of x-rays. They have the same medical history, eliminating the need for me to answer all the same questions repeatedly.

Easy To Do Business

I like doing business with people that are making it easy for me to do business with them. I think that is one of the reasons that online retail is growing so fast. I fill out my profile one time with all the necessary information, and checkout is a breeze. They deliver the product to my home. I don’t pack my own bags. They have removed all the major obstacles that in-store shopping puts in my way.

What are you doing to make it easy to do business with you? Are you pushing more work on the customer? Are you asking for things you don’t need to have? What can you eliminate from the process?