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Just the right amount of information

How much detail do you need?

I have a tomtom fitness watch which I wear during my running. It tells me what distance I have ran along with my heart rate and the pace I am running at that given moment. That is all it tells me when I glance at it during my run.

It could tell me what time it is, it could even tell me today’s date. However, during my run this is useless information so it only tells me what I need to know. This is perfect for me to process the data I really need to optimise my run.

Patient’s treatment information

For our patients undergoing dental treatment, we must decide how much detail to go into when describing the treatment. We will always ensure that the patient is fully aware of the protocol and any benefits and risks associated with the treatment. However, should we also explain the finer detail regarding the surgical operation and techniques? Is this important?

For some patients this is crucial information that they need to know in order to make a decision and commit to the treatment. However, we find most patients do not need to know about those finer details because it is not useful information for them. It is not needed to make a decision and if anything, most of our patients would actually prefer not to know the scientific jargon associated with their treatments.

Information overload! That is what we must aim to avoid. Information must always have a purpose and be in context.

The bespoke dental reports we write for our patients is written with this principle.

Mohsin Patel

 

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