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18 min readThe Jameson Files 105 – Dental Practice Evolution with Dr. John Jameson

Carrie Webber

Carrie Webber [00:00:10] Welcome to another episode of The Jameson Files. I’m Carrie Webber, I’ll be your host today. And I’m so excited to have as our guest today one of Jameson founders Dr. John Jameson who is also the inspiration of the title of our podcast “The Jameson Files”. A nod to a column that you used to provide regularly.

Dr. John Jameson [00:00:36] Every month.

Carrie Webber [00:00:37] For a very well-known general publication. And so we thought it was an appropriate name for this podcast as we come into the the newest way of gathering information and helping to teach and helping dentists and teams learn productive and profitable ways to improve their practices.

Dr. John Jameson [00:00:57] I love the way the name continues on.

Carrie Webber [00:00:59] We’re so glad you’re here. Thank you for being with me. A little probably not a little known fact but another fact is that you’re not only the founder of this company but you’re my dad and that’s my favorite thing about you. But for the sake of this podcast we’re gonna keep it very professional. And I want to pick your brain a little bit for those listening and watching. And today I’d really like to talk not necessarily about your origin story as a dentist but your evolution story so to speak from my perspective. Here’s how I know this story goes. And I’d love to hear your perspective of it. You graduated dental school moved back to your hometown to practice dentistry. Purchased an existing dental practice there in a small town in southern Oklahoma. Practiced probably the way that that practice had always run previously and the only way you knew how the time, for about ten years and found yourself burning out financially stressed and realized something’s got to change. So can you tell me a little bit about, that was about year 10. Is that right?

Dr. John Jameson [00:02:09] That’s right.

Carrie Webber [00:02:10] Can you share with us a little bit about.. What was the final straw? What caused you to make a decision of, “I’ve got to turn the tables here. I have to change what’s happening here” And how you went from where you were, to where you ended up, which was one of the premier comprehensive and restorative dentists, in my opinion, in the country. I know I may be biased but I do believe that to be true because you were an influencer and a knowledge sharer across the country and beyond for many years. So how did you go from the struggle to the success and fulfillment that you found in your practicing life after that?

Dr. John Jameson [00:02:54] Well going back to the origin, I had a great partner when I started. And then we split that partnership and that was when I took the practice that I had then for my career and I was able then to focus on what my goals were. But now you say at Year 10. Wow. It was stressful. Financially, Cathy and I were not seeing the results that we wanted to. I was very frustrated by my patients trying to dictate exactly the kind of dentistry that I would do for them. And I knew I needed to do better than that. They were they were accepting…They were wanting to receive the kind of dentistry that I thought was probably second level and I was trying to encourage them to move forward with better dentistry. And if I look at the things that really helped make that transition, was my clinical development was the first thing. I mean, Pete Dawson was my mentor and he taught me how to handle difficult cases. And I then learned how to clinically take care of those particular needs. And probably the biggest thing that helped me to be able to get to do that kind of dentistry was that I was about the 17th or 18th doctor in the United States that was involved with health care financing. And so while people were waiting for their ship to come in, now I had an opportunity to receive the care that they needed and wanted that we could do for them and be able to financially be comfortable with it.

Carrie Webber [00:04:46] Well and you know talking about your time at Dawson and how integral that was for your development and growth not only as a practitioner but as the owner of that business. I was just talking with a doctor recently and that was considering maybe they needed to go on for more clinical education and the group of us were there said, “you know the moment that”.. and they were talking about same thing that they know they could be doing more comprehensive dentistry, but they’re not really sure how at this point. We said you know “the moment that you start taking those kind of courses and your eyes are opened to what’s going on in that patient’s mouth in a way… You can’t, you can’t ever go back because you’re seeing it from a completely different set of eyes.” Is that what was happening for you?

Dr. John Jameson [00:05:32] That’s right. Well that is it. That mouth is totally differently viewed once you know what to do with it. Then we really aren’t sure. Or you have reservations internally about from yourself about having that kind of providing that kind of dentistry. And so that was what it did for me. It totally opened my eyes to a whole new way when I was if I were doing a course on a weekend and Monday when I went back into my office everybody was different… Everybody was different! And so then, when I had health care financing to be able to back that treatment up, then it was really different. And so I had to sit down many times and replan cases and represent them with books with the key link. We know now to be able to do this. And that was my inroad to be able to let my patient family see how I was developing, and they got to be a witness to that.

Carrie Webber [00:06:33] Can you repeat that? So what you’re saying is, you went back let’s say is that your 10th year you’ve already been taking care of a lot of these patients. You had a patient family. So they’ve been accustomed to a certain type of care. And now you know there’s all these new opportunities. Can you tell me again what your verbal skills were to enter into new conversations with existing patients about more comprehensive care?

Dr. John Jameson [00:06:58] I would be able to sit there, just raise their chair up and I could sit beside the chair and I could say, “I have recently had a great course that trained me to be able to offer you treatment opportunities here in our practice that I couldn’t do before. We now know… Boom!” Whatever that would be for that particular person and be able then to revamp their treatment plans. To give you an idea when it really hit home. Was when I began to use intra oral cameras and extra oral digital photography. So I would schedule these people back for a complimentary photography session where I would capture those images. The necessary images that I wanted and I had a whole sequence that I caught and I was able then to store them and repeat and review with the patient while we were keeping as a record to talk about new opportunities for them. You’ve got to realize I was doing this before there was digital story dry. So I was storing these on analog discs and I had a disk with every patient’s name on it. And I could go back and then I had room on that this to store the afters so before and afters on all the patients on analog discs.

Carrie Webber [00:08:18] You know some people were like What’s a disc? I’m just kidding.

Intra Oral Camera Floppy Disc

Dr. John Jameson [00:08:22] No no seriously. No.

Carrie Webber [00:08:24] I’m just kidding. So thinking about obviously you were having these game changer life changing experiences in your continuing education and driving and learning and and you did recast the vision of what you wanted for your ideal practice and what kind of treatment you wanted to be providing. How did your team play a role in that shift?

Dr. John Jameson [00:08:52] When I realized that I wanted to make these changes, I rewrote my goals. And I presented them to my team. And I will tell you it was an emotional situation. They will looked…  As I looked up from having read them… I had him on a piece of paper… I look up! I had crying women! Crying women. And they realized then that we were moving in another direction. And then they were so willing to accept that challenge. Now some didn’t.

Carrie Webber [00:09:31] I was going to say it was everybody I know it was their crying because they were excited, or were some crying because they were not excited.

Dr. John Jameson [00:09:38] No I think that they were the tears of excitement. Those that weren’t excited didn’t I didn’t stay long. You know they didn’t want to learn how to turn on a computer. And so you know there was just a total total evolutionary process right then. And that didn’t take but a few months to be able to have all that happen and then we begin storing images and presenting cases and inviting people back for new diagnostic workups and new consultations where they could visually see that… And all of that came from Cathy’s work in education and learning about what percentage of people are able to accept the visual tools as well as auditory tools and how you combine the two of them. And with good verbal skills, and you make your presentation.

Carrie Webber [00:10:28] You know earlier you said and when you were in the early years of practice you were… Your practice was being dictated, for a lack of a better term, by the patient’s desire for for less than optimal care… Desire is probably a strong word… But from their perspective and understanding that’s what they were accustomed to, that what they thought was best for them, they didn’t know any different. So here you come with all of this new training this new perspective bringing them back in using visual aids and photography and having these very unique conversations that more than likely they’ve never experienced before. Can you recall what some of those initial responses and reactions from the patients were for this dramatic difference?

Dr. John Jameson [00:11:27] Well the thing you have to recognize, and I want all the clinicians out there to understand this, You are not the dentist for everyone! You’re not the dentist for everyone. And so I have some people who did not willingly buy into this. They were not wanting that kind of dentistry. So when you think about when people say to me, “gosh I need to have 30 new patients a month…” And I’m thinking about, with my system, what the heck would I do with 30 new patients a month? I didn’t have any place to put them. You know, Particularly on a on a schedule.. And so, it’s just a totally different… It’s a shift in what your expectations are for your practice. And so with 10 to 15 new patients a month, I could produce to my goals what I wanted to do, and with appropriate scheduling or block scheduling the way Jameson trains, you can then be able to have your daily production goals met by lunch! You know. And that was what that was… As I evolved in my practice that’s what I look for.

Carrie Webber [00:12:37] I would guess that you probably lost some patients.

Dr. John Jameson [00:12:40] I did, but many of them came back.

Carrie Webber [00:12:45] You probably lost them, but you were getting… But the new patients, just like you’re saying, that new patients that were coming in were patients that were looking for this type of care. You certainly started to create a reputation for yourself in the community and surrounding area… I remember you telling me once that people would say about you to others you know, “if you want cheap, don’t go to Dr. John but if you want really good care then that’s where you go.”.

Dr. John Jameson [00:13:13] And you make that decision.

Carrie Webber [00:13:16] You draw that line in the sand. I think this, you know, while for you this obviously happened, you know, 30.

Dr. John Jameson [00:13:26] 30 years ago get ready to have my 45th reunion from dental school.

Carrie Webber [00:13:30] Yeah.. So. But the interesting thing to me is this conversation is still so relevant for so many people that are probably listening or watching, because… and I had these conversations with doctors on the regular… That they are either trying to figure out a new way for themselves they find themselves locked into a certain type of care, or that patient mindset, the insurance driven mindset now is the struggle. And how do we shift? And I think you hit the nail on the head in terms that you’re not going to be the answer for everyone but you better get clear on who you are and work on that… And and then get comfortable with being uncomfortable for a little bit. But be confident… and once you get clear on the kind of dentistry you do you want to provide and the kind of patients that would be the best fit for you. Things can and will change.

Dr. John Jameson [00:14:31] And that you’re in control. You doctors are in control of your own destiny! And what you want out of your profession. If you aren’t getting out of your profession what you want, now! Then you have to change. You can’t keep going. What is the definition of insanity? “Doing things the same way and expecting a different result.”

Carrie Webber [00:14:54] Yes.

Dr. John Jameson [00:14:55] Well that isn’t going to work, you know, in your practicing life. So you’ve got to internally change. And you’ll know it! You know you’re either you’re either feeling disgruntled or you know… I know I could lay in bed at night, my heart was beating so hard that the bed would shake.. You know and that’s called high blood pressure. And that wasn’t a healthy situation. And so when I.. And a lot of it was created by frustration. And so I think that as people look at making the changes they have to make in their own lives, and in their professional lives to be able to accomplish the goals that they want to have… And have a team surrounding them that buys into those goals. You know, my entire practicing career… I only had five clinical assistants. And when I retired I had three of them still on my team. So, you know people had to move, people had to change because of family obligations, but other than that, it was the same same crew.

Carrie Webber [00:15:58] Because they believed in what what you were doing together.

Dr. John Jameson [00:16:00] Exactly.

Carrie Webber [00:16:01] You had created this healthy workspace not only for your patients but for your team.

Dr. John Jameson [00:16:08] And for those of you that work with Dru, I’m the only doctor she ever worked with, you know, she came right out of dental hygiene school.

Carrie Webber [00:16:16] Dru Halverson is our most senior Jameson advisor.

Dr. John Jameson [00:16:22] That doesn’t mean she’s old. No.

Carrie Webber [00:16:25] I. No, no… Dru, I’m sorry, I don’t mean it that way. But we always like to say Jameson at this point has been incorporated for twenty nine years and Drew’s been an advisor for Jameson for 30 so there is that..So for everyone that’s listening, you know, that might see themselves practicing in a way, or seeing their practice functioning in a way, that’s not ideal to them.. And they do recognize that. But they don’t know how to make the change… You know, what we teach at Jameson, so much of it is founded in what you implemented and applied in your practice, you and Cathy, and so there… Obviously there’s value in all of it, but for you as the dentist, as a leader, as the owner.. Is there one, or are there one or two specific systems, or areas, or processes, or something that you never compromised on… That you you started implementing and you intentionally made that a priority for the rest of your career… That was such was a difference maker that you think, “if you’re not gonna do anything else, do this.” Can you think of one or two that…

Dr. John Jameson [00:17:40] Let’s just think about a couple of them to begin with… And as we do these more, I can go into more depth in other areas but to begin with. Let’s say. Probably one of the most important things is being able to develop a video dental system in your practice. Where you’re able to capture photographs and show people existing conditions.. Then be able to have befores and afters of those cases.. Then to be able to motivate and educate other patients from the successes you’ve had with previous patients in your practice… That I think is one of the first things, and you’ve got to work at it you’ve got to train… In other words, you have time over a lunch period where you bring lunch and then you guys have lunch together then you brush up and then you practice on one another… before you embarrass yourself in front of your patient family… But make sure you know how to capture those images.

Carrie Webber [00:18:37] Better to embarrass yourself amongst your teammates and friends first.

Dr. John Jameson [00:18:40] That’s right. That’s right. You know, get the system down. Then I think probably the second system to really look at is OK. So now you’re able to talk about treatment opportunities. How do people feel comfortable then about being able to afford that? That you’re not.. You’re not giving this away! So then getting involved deeply with your health care financing program, and being able to train on that and know exactly what to say and have the entire team buy into that. That’s a huge issue.

Carrie Webber [00:19:14] Yeah I think. Oh you know. Most of you more than likely have Intra Oral cameras and digital cameras. So the question is, Are you maximizing those tools? And I think what Dr. John is also saying is, “it’s not only just taking photography of that patient, but creating an archive of befores and afters so that in your case presentations, and patient education of diagnosed treatment, you can show them cases similar to theirs. And what you were able to accomplish with the kind of care that you’re recommending for them.” It’s just such a powerful learning tool and motivational tool to show them what’s possible, the visual aids.

Dr. John Jameson [00:19:52] And our every patient signed off on a form that said that we could use their photographs for educational and publication purposes. Be sure that you have their permission, get permission. Written. Written permission. And then learn during your consultations, how to do permission statements. So these are… I mean, all of it blends together with time, and you all have… All of you as clients [of Jameson] have the materials to take that.. You get into “Great Communication Equals Great Production”, Chapter 10, you can learn about how to present.. All the verbiage and the scripting is there.. And don’t be.. Don’t be alienated by the term scripting, scripting is powerful! Because the patient has never heard it before even if you use it the same way every time.

Carrie Webber [00:20:42] Well I think it’s important to create something that, you know, ideally… How… What would you want… What would you want to say? So that you can practice that so that in time, it becomes so second nature to you that it’s not like your scripted. It’s really part of.. It’s part of your vocabulary. So practice makes perfect and if you don’t have a tool to practice with, it’s very difficult to perfect your… Master those verbal skills that are so important.

Dr. John Jameson [00:21:10] And they become part of you. In other words,I can give you.. I can give you verbiage right now that I used in my practice and I haven’t seen patients in 12 years… Now that I’ve retired because of a car wreck that made me quit… But, all of that became such a part of me, that you would all be the same way. You just keep working on it.

Carrie Webber [00:21:33] Exactly. But we could keep going and going, and so I… We are going to do some more. So stay tuned for more episodes with Dr. John. This was so great and I feel like we were just getting rolling. We’re just getting started. Lots more to talk about in upcoming episodes. But thanks for joining us and thank you for being with.

3 Comments

  1. […] And anytime you walk into a treatment room to talk to a patient, remember what the co-founder of Jameson, Dr. John Jameson says: “Offer the best dentistry possible. Make the financing comfortable and affo… […]

  2. DENNIS BRAUNSTON on July 4, 2019 at 1:13 am

    I love John Jameson. He was my first contact in dentistry back in 1993 or so when I was selling AcuCam intraoral cameras. What a quality, wonderful human being that was and is so helpful to me. Dennis Braunston, founder, Shadewave.

    • Marisa Porter on July 22, 2019 at 7:30 pm

      That’s amazing! Thank you so much for this comment.

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