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Essential tips for selling dental treatment plans
When you become adept at selling dental treatment plans, all parties involved benefit. Your dental practice gains a reliable source of income as you take a methodical approach to resolving each patient’s issues in full, and those individuals gain the peace of mind and improved quality of life that come from better oral health.
It pays to consider the offerings and strategies that specifically raise the acceptance rates. Making improvements to your techniques in this area, as well as adding to your practice’s customer-facing payment options and technology, can be turning points for patient satisfaction, case acceptance and long-term profitability.
What are the economics of raising acceptance rates?
The challenges of running a dental practice often come down to the conflict between overhead and revenue. The Dental Care Alliance found that the average profit for dental practices is just 25%, showing the importance of finding reliable, long-term sources of income to offset high operating costs. Working with patients to lock in complete treatments for their oral health issues can be a breakthrough for profitability, provided you can sell these plans reliably.
Dental Economics Chief Editor Chris Salierno indicated that not enough practices trace their case acceptance rates, and that tracking is an essential first step in establishing long-term treatment plans as a source of income.
As for acceptance rate benchmarks, Salierno noted that many dental practitioners consider 90% to be ideal. That is nowhere near most dentists’ experience, with an older Dental Economics piece by dentist Michael Kesner indicating that most acceptance rates are between 20% and 30%, with the potential to rise much higher. This difference shows room for improvement, but as long as you are making progress, your practice is on the right path.
What are some effective tactics for increasing treatment plan acceptance rates?
No matter how hard a dental practitioner tries to appeal to patients, the decision about whether to receive treatment ultimately resides in the hands of the person receiving care. When you and the members of your staff have a consistent and compelling approach to presenting potential treatment plans, you can help these decisions along far more effectively than if you take a more improvised, on-the-spot approach.
When people are uncomfortable with a proposed treatment, or with the whole experience of visiting a dental practice, they may find it difficult to agree to a lengthy and likely expensive series of treatments, even if the oral health benefits are notable. The following are a few considerations that go into creating such a repeatable process and getting your patients to feel the trust that leads to acceptance:
Sign up for the National Dental Plan (NDP)
Sometimes, the sheer economic complexity of a treatment plan can turn people away. When there is a lack of clarity around payments, patients may simply refuse to consider treatment, even if it would truly help their oral health. The National Dental Plan’s No Interest Ever model, the only one of its kind in Australia, provides refreshing clarity and affordability, acting as a great incentive to boost acceptance.
NDP isn’t just simpler for your patients; it’s easy for your practice to process as well. It pays you up front, with Humm taking on payment collection. Offerings such as Buy Now, Pay Later are so flexible and patient-friendly they can not just boost revenue from existing clientele, but even attract new patients. With 94% of NDP applications successful and treatments up to $12,000 covered, this is a versatile and powerful offering to add, and one that can boost treatment acceptance rates with its mere presence.
Create compelling patient education materials
Information delivered directly from your practice to patients can set expectations and feelings around treatment options and help people commit to receiving care. Dentistry IQ contributor Steve Klinghoffer suggested writing a patient newsletter containing information that demystifies and explains the benefits of common procedures in terms your patients will understand.
Of course, patient education can take many forms, and in today’s era of self-driven consumers, it helps to have a library of documents people can access at will. A website with easily searched and consulted documentation can keep paying off, as current and potential patients will have somewhere to learn about treatment options on their own time, before visiting your practice.
Guide patients through the diagnosis
When people feel that something is being thrust upon them without their approval, it’s natural for them to back away. That’s why the Dawson Academy’s Andrew Cobb, writing for Dental Economics, recommends creating a repeatable series of examinations and evaluations to lead each patient through.
As outlined by Cobb, the process of an exam begins with a preclinical evaluation, then charting and examinations to find any signs of disease. Doctors should also identify any airway issues, as patients are unlikely to be comfortable with treatment if they anticipate breathing problems. The actual treatment planning follows, with functional-esthetic analysis and 3D planning. By the end, patient and dentist alike should be confident that the plan is right for the case.
How can you quickly upgrade your practice for better treatment acceptance?
Your choice of practice management solutions may be a major factor in how you relate to your patients. For example, by using a system with NDP integration and high-quality patient education features, you can immediately start offering options that directly encourage comfort and trust regarding treatment plan payment and acceptance.
Get in touch with Centaur Software to learn about your ideal path to practice management excellence.
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