Director's Message: What we can learn from Mad Men to increase case acceptance

May 22, 2015
I compare the final episode of Mad Men to case acceptance. As providers, we must articulate genuinely when having treatment discussions with our patients.
The cast of Mad Men appears at the Primetime Emmy Awards.

If you are not familiar with the Mad Men television series, the final episode aired on May 17. Although I am a big fan of the series, you do not have to be. As a brief recap of the finale episode, the main character, Don Draper, had a journey of letting go of his false identities (personas), releasing old baggage and secrets, and breaking down (often a significant phase in a hero’s path to awakening or breakthrough), which ended when he gained clarity and self-awareness of who he truly is and what he is meant to do.


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I compare the final episode to case acceptance. As providers, we must articulate genuinely when having treatment discussions with our patients. I feel that patient enrollment strategies are the “Mother Skills” to having our patients say yes to their oral health. When this occurs more frequently, we are able to fill our schedules, increase our profitability, and service many more patients.

When practitioners commit to creating a patient enrollment system authentically, advocating optimal oral health and using both feminine and masculine leadership styles, it’s a win-win formula. So the key to improving your case acceptance ratio is simply your willingness to trust in who you are as a provider. When you act and learn to focus and prioritize what feels comfortable for you, then the structure you’re determined or committed to will allow your true self to emanate, which increases your connection to your ideal patients. The honest connection is the universal bond that will support more patients saying yes to their own oral health.

Below is a checklist to begin to analyze your system or patient enrollment formula. Tip: This process is not led in isolation; remember to brainstorm with your team the following:

  • Who connected with the patient? (vs. who treated them)
  • Who referred them?
  • Were appropriate verbal skills used during the initial telephone conversation?
  • Welcome packet/email, etc., sent?
  • Seen on time?
  • What did we learn about the patient? Do we know what they value, their motivations and fears?
  • Did we share our philosophy of care? Vision?
  • Did the clinical process engage the patient in a co-diagnostic experience? Did we create a relationship with the patient that inspired him or her to want the ideal treatment?
  • Are we using a digital patient education system, digital X-rays, and intraoral cameras and photographs (and any other tools available) to educate and motivate, so that patients value and commit to treatment?
  • Are financial or insurance concerns the obstacle? If so, are we prepared to offer more flexibility in financial options?
  • Are we using our insurance information system so that we can assist the new patient in maximizing their benefits?
  • Are the doctor and team comfortable with the verbal skills to handle objections?
  • Does our website have simple explanations of treatment choices that have obvious benefit to the potential new patient? Do our FAQs answer common objections that will help a new patient through the barriers to treatment acceptance?

Your patients want services from you, not someone like you or you being someone that you are not.


Kristine Hodsdon RDH, MSEC
Director, RDH eVillage

Kristine A. Hodsdon is the founder of Dental Influencers, LLC, which supports providers to clean up the business systems and their relationship with money so they can fill their schedules, treat more patients and thrive with their teams! To see if Kristine’s coaching or training programs can help, go to and email her at [email protected]