It is important to establish a good rapport and build a relationship of trust.
One of the consequences of the pandemic is the dramatic growth of Telehealth and Telemedicine. But how can doctors and providers best care for their patients when they are not physically in front of them? What do doctors wish patients knew in order to make sure they are getting the best results even though they are not actually in the office? How can Telehealth approximate and even improve upon the healthcare that traditional doctors’ visits can provide?
In this interview series, called “Telehealth Best Practices; How To Best Care For Your Patients When They Are Not Physically In Front Of You” we are talking to successful Doctors, Dentists, Psychotherapists, Counselors, and other medical and wellness professionals who share lessons and stories from their experience about the best practices in Telehealth. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Joseph Field.
Dr. Field specializes in dental implants, IV sedation, and esthetic restoration, but he’s much more than an expert in just implants: he’s distinguished for his gentle and caring chairside manner, his overall proficiency and his use of advanced dental technology to guarantee the best clinical results.
Dr. Field is committed to providing a stress-free dental implant placement experience for his patients. Widely recognized for his calm and personable communication, Dr. Field is not only adept at putting patients at ease and helping them feel comfortable, but he also offers a variety of additional relaxation options — from aromatherapy and paraffin treatment to IV sedation — to guarantee his patients a calm and relaxing experience.
Dr. Joseph Field, DDS is the ideal dentist for anyone who is afraid of the dentist, nervous about dental implant surgery, and adamant about receiving the very best in dental care.
Dr. Field has achieved a nearly unmatched level of skill in dentistry: his Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology / Implant Dentistry (DABOI/ID) — signifies the highest level of competence in implant dentistry. He’s also one of the few implant specialists to offer zirconia implant for metal allergies. In addition, Dr. Field is an Invisalign Elite Provider (one of a very small number of general dentists to achieve this top designation of Invisalign proficiency), and a certified IV sedation specialist.
Due to his ability to combine orthodontic cases with implant dentistry, Dr. Field is able to restore patients’ smiles even in the most extreme cases. With a combination of cutting-edge dental implant technology like iTero digital scanning for perfectly fitting restorations and CERAC for same-day dental care, plus state-of-the-art esthetic techniques, Dr. Field helps his patients achieve a natural, healthy, and permanent smile. For patients missing some or all of their teeth, Dr. Field can provide single, multiple, or full-mouth dental implants to help patients restore their smile for good.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ”backstory” and how you got started?
I started my undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and I really enjoyed the design aspects of that field. However, in the middle of my undergraduate education I left for two years to Colombia to do service and volunteer work. While there I was exposed to Operation Smile which is a group that focuses on fixing significant dental issues. I was deeply impacted by their work and decided to shift my focus on helping people fix their smile.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Fortunately most days are quite interesting for me with the type of dentistry that I do. There are so many patients who have gone through a smile makeover process with me and it’s a pretty emotional experience. One memorable experience was working with a patient who is a professional dog walker. He was referred to me by one of his friends who is also a patient. He came in and was very embarrassed about his teeth and hadn’t seen a dentist is years. After I went over the options with him of what we could do, his eyes welled up with tears and he said he didn’t even know this was possible for him. It was truly a life changing experience for him.
Can you please give us your favorite quote? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I love the quote from Thomas Edison that says “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” This quote succinctly summarizes the key to success — -work. Going through my studies and my career I also felt like there were people around me that were so intelligent. For me the difference has been the amount and degree of work that I was willing to put in to get me to where I am in my career. And there certainly isn’t a plateau, you have to constantly and consistently grow and develop.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I stand on the shoulders of so many that have helped me along my path. I would say one of the biggest catalyst to my growth and development was my mom. As a single mother I witnessed her tremendous work ethic in raising me and my brothers while working full time as a nurse. And while I was in high school she went back to school to get her MBA while still working. She led by example and showed me the keys to success.
The pandemic has changed so many things about the way we behave. One of them of course, is how doctors treat their patients. Many doctors have started treating their patients remotely. Telehealth can of course be very different than working with a patient that is in front of you. -This provides great opportunity because it allows more people access to medical professionals, but it can also create unique challenges.
To begin, can you articulate for our readers a few of the main benefits of having a patient in front of you?
I enjoy having my patients in front of me so that I can read their feelings and body language as well as hear the words they are saying. As humans we communicate non-verbally quite a bit especially in a perceived stressful situation like going to the dentist. Additionally, being face to face creates more meaningful and in-depth dialog which is crucial when going through a smile design process.
On the flip side, can you articulate for our readers a few of the main challenges that arise when a patient is not in the same space as the doctor?
When not in the same space the biggest challenge is making sure both the patient and the doctor are on the same page with respect to options, plan and expectations. That is one of the reasons that I always recommend some type of in person consultation prior to moving forward with treatment.
What are your 5 Things You Need To Know To Best Care For Your Patients When They Are Not Physically In Front Of You ? (Please share a story or example for each.)
It is important to establish a good rapport and build a relationship of trust.
You need to establish what is most important to them.
It takes more questions than normal to understand what the chief concerns are.
Use as many visuals as you can.
Always end with a call to action.
Can you share a few ways that Telehealth can create opportunities or benefits that traditional in-office visits cannot provide? Can you please share a story or give an example?
They are tremendously more convenient. Providing patients a way to connect with their doctor without having to travel to the office saves a lot of time and removes a barrier to treatment.
Let’s zoom in a bit. Many tools have been developed to help facilitate Telehealth. In your personal experiences which tools have been most effective in helping to replicate the benefits of being together in the same space?
The two main tools are first the direct video consult and second the on demand video consult. These are nice to help create more engagement. However, I also find the recorded video consults to be quite beneficial as well as they don’t have to be scheduled and are essentially done on demand.
If you could design the perfect Telehealth feature or system to help your patients, what would it be?
A system that allows the patient to upload photos, xrays, video etc and allows for a direct or recorded response from their doctor is ideal. It is the most convenient way for a patient to get the basic information they need and know how to proceed from there.
Are there things that you wish patients knew in order to make sure they are getting the best results even though they are not actually in the office?
The more information they share the better the experience will be. For example, when I get a request from a patient and all they say is “I want to fix my smile” it doesn’t help me know what matters to them. I like it when patients go into detail of what they don’t like and what their desired outcome is. That makes our virtual consults much more meaningful.
The technology is rapidly evolving and new tools like VR, AR, and Mixed Reality are being developed to help bring people together in a shared virtual space. Is there any technology coming down the pipeline that excites you?
I love the concept of using VR for virtual consults. I think that will be a game changer for what we are doing.
Is there a part of this future vision that concerns you? Can you explain?
My biggest concern with the evolution of technology and how we connect is losing the personal touch. Especially in dentistry the interpersonal connection and contact is so important with the work I do.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I believe everyone deserves a nice smile that there are confident about. On countless occasions I have seen how having confidence in your smile is truly life changing. With the use of teledentistry it does provide me the opportunity to connect with more people and show them how we can create confidence with every smile.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram or check out my website.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!