Have you ever thought about what your practice loses in all the forgotten or unaccepted treatments? Imagine what it would mean to convert even 50% of these treatment plans.
The average Australian dental practice has about $600,000 sitting in incomplete treatments, representing a large amount of revenue potential and an opportunity to implement strategies to convert the unaccepted to accepted. This issue is one that many dentists and practice managers face, representing hundreds of patients whose oral health outcomes could be better addressed and improved by your practice.
Every patient who enters your practice is presented with a treatment plan which could either be a few simple procedures or a complex surgery. A significant amount of these treatment plans are not completed for various reasons, leaving the patients’ oral health to deteriorate and your revenue potential in decline.
So, what does it take to get a “yes” from your patients? There is no quick fix, magic wand, or potion that will give you treatment-acceptance success. Rather, it is a formula made up of some of these tips and tricks that your practice can implement to better communicate the value of treatment to patients.
Dental patient education can be one of the most impactful steps to guiding an individual to better oral health outcomes and converting treatment plans. Keep in mind your patient has been under anesthetics or is in pain and is already uncomfortable. Due to being sedated, they might also not be fully aware of what is going on, so understanding their options and cost is rather difficult.
It is vital that you make sure your patients understand the treatment they need and the effect of not processing their recommended treatment plan. When you improve your patient education strategies, everyone benefits, as your practice gains commitments to continue treatment, your business gains revenue with a higher rate of plan conversions, and your patients’ oral health can drastically improve through their completion of the long-term plans laid out for them.
Engage with your patients
If you fail to build a relationship or engage with your patients, it is unlikely that they will fully understand the value of their treatment plan. Multiple impactful moments occur during a patient’s visit, meaning you have multiple opportunities to discuss treatment options. Finding these occasions is the responsibility of every team member, from the dentist to the front desk. It is also fundamental to make your patients feel comfortable, safe, valued and offer them the most personalised, professional service. From the first contact to continuing care visits, the team should build confidence in the practice and discuss patient treatment recommendations.
Dentistry remains one of the more costly health services people need to bear. It is important to address this barrier directly and without judgment. Ensure you educate your patients on the payment options available to them, softening the cost burden.
Speak their language
Often, dentists will talk to their patients about their treatment in overly technical terms, making it very difficult for them to understand and often leading to patients not accepting the treatment plan. It is important that you speak their language and explain the treatment in simple terms.
Having the right atmosphere in the practice can also influence a patient accepting treatment. Like it or not, patients have a fair bit of time to wait prior to most appointments and will take that time to observe and judge the competence of their care by what they see and hear. From the quality of furnishings to the quality of care provided, the level of noise, or the way the treatment is presented, the right environment must be planned and well-executed. The right work environment will encourage you, your staff, and your patients. Supportive team members will make the journey to treatment acceptance smooth.
Considering the above, there are a number of touchpoints throughout the patient journey that you can better communicate the importance and value of a patient’s treatment. Should you implement some of the tips above within your own practices, rest assured you will have your patients feeling confident and valued, leading to an acceptance in treatment and seeing an increase in revenue.
About the Author
Lauren joins Centaur Software as a Product Manager looking after National Dental Plan and SMS. Collaborative and strategic mindset, a sense of humor, and a passion to deliver the best results for her clients, Lauren is a self-driven, results-oriented Marketing professional with over 10 years’ experience. Holding a Master of Marketing from Sydney University, she has a comprehensive understanding of driving performance through consumer engagement, social media, strategy, and branding.
Lauren is a passionate foodie and loves to travel, in her spare time she loves spending time with her family and friends.