A patient who clearly needs dental care calls and makes an appointment. Then, when presented with an optimal treatment plan, the patient does not proceed to treatment with your practice.
This situation plays out every day in dental practices across the country. And that almost certainly includes yours. The reason: Dentistry is a competitive business. Note the use of the term “business”. In meetings with hundreds of dental providers, we have consistently observed that they do not place the same level of importance on clinical and financial considerations. This may not be surprising, but it certainly can be costly.
The facts are: Your practice is a business and dental patients are consumers. They are shopping every aspect of a dental practice and cost is an extremely important factor in their decision. Keep in mind, potential patients come to your practice expecting that, clinically, they will be treated with the highest level of ethics and care. What they may not expect is a smooth, efficient financial process with transparent options aligned with their optimal treatment plan and explained to them pro-actively in detail. Often, finances are the focal point of anxiety for the patient. In this situation, financial coordinators have complete control over the consumer (patient) experience.
Effectively Manage the Business Side of your Dental Practice
All too often, dental providers shy away from managing their business models, and as a rule, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. For example, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is your monthly consumer attrition rate?
- Are all staff educated/trained on the financing options offered by the practice?
- Are your staff offering financing pro-actively or re-actively?
- On treatment plans exceeding $8,000.00, how many patients convert to treatment?
- Are all staff comfortable presenting a treatment plan exceeding $8,000.00 in cost?
- Does staff follow up with non-converted patients?
These are the kinds of questions you need to answer to effectively manage the business side of your practice. When you don’t, you can lose a lot more than just a new patient. For example, marketing programs focused on branding and driving patient leads are costly. When a patient visits a practice and doesn’t convert to treatment, the practice not only loses business, but also a potentially powerful referral, which is the best form of marketing. If you make the financial burden of a treatment plan manageable - by pro-actively offering financing - you will inevitably increase treatment conversion.
According to the 2017 Dental Economics-Levin Group Annual Practice Survey*, only 44% of dental practices track their level of case acceptance. Incredibly, this is a 2% drop from the 2016 survey. The survey also noted that only 23% of the practices increased their use of third-party financing. This is a 5% drop from 2016. When it comes to growing their business, practices appear to be going the wrong way.
Our advice? Commit your practice to establishing its own economy:
- Centralize your patient care model around doing what is best for your patient (consumer) and catering to the natural consumer mindset we all possess
- Commit to pro-actively presenting financial options to every patient (consumer)
- Make it financially comfortable for patients (consumers) to maintain optimal oral health
GreenSky Patient Solutions™ is committed to helping your practice ensure that when they call you, they stay!
*Dental Economics-Levin Group, 2017 Annual Practice Survey, http://www.dentaleconomics.com/articles/print/volume-107/issue-9/macroeconomics/a-plateaued-profession-findings-from-the-2017-dental-economics-levin-group-annual-practice-survey.html (accessed September 21, 2017).
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