Let’s begin by clarifying our terms: Case acceptance simply means the patient had at least some treatment completed. Optimal Case Acceptance is when the patient accepts the entirety of what the doctor recommended - instead of treating the recommended treatment plan like a fruit salad.
Optimal case acceptance should be your goal with every patient. Why? Because optimal case acceptance most often provides better patient results, plain and simple. And, the happiest, most satisfied, most loyal patients (who like to refer their friends and family) tend to be the patients who have achieved the best results.
Case Acceptance Success
While simple case acceptance can be perceived as a success, it’s really a missed opportunity for everyone involved. The win-win of Optimal Case Acceptance is that when patients accept the entirety of the recommended scope of care, it’s not only the best choice for their overall health and wellbeing, it also has an enormous positive impact on the financial health of your practice.
So. When you talk about case acceptance, it should be Optimal!
To determine if your practice is focused on Optimal Case Acceptance, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I achieving optimal cases in my practice?
- Do I know the optimal case rate? (is it tracked?)
- Do I share this information with my staff?
- In regular staff meetings, are we discussing why certain patients didn’t move forward with the optimal care?
Why Patients Reject Treatment Plans
There are two primary reasons that patients do not accept the Optimal Treatment Plan: fear and money. After you have done an outstanding job with the clinical discussion and the patient understands the value of the Optimal Treatment Plan to their overall health, the challenge can be making the care they need affordable.
Typically, it is not the amount of the fee that makes the difference between mere case acceptance and Optimal Case Acceptance, it’s how they can afford it. The reality is: Your Optimal Treatment Plan is competing for your patient’s budget against family vacations, a new car, home improvement projects, and everywhere else your patient could spend their money.
Picture this: You presented a perfect clinical case, only to find out later that the patient decided to move forward with just one element of the $5,000 treatment plan because they only had $1,000 left on their credit card. Frustrating? You bet. With limited payment options, patients may delay treatment or even worse cancel their appointments.
Provide Answers Before they Ask
That’s why it’s important to make patients aware of the available payment options early in the process. In the same way that you, as a clinician, proactively present all of the relevant clinical findings, and the risks and benefits of your Optimal Treatment Plan before they have to ask you, your Treatment Coordinator should present all of the payment methods available to the patient before they ask.
Your Treatment Coordinator should focus on terms like “monthly budget,” “monthly payments,” “today,” and “financing solutions.” Let the patient review all of their options and decide what works best for them. For example: “We accept cash and credit cards of course, and many of our patients like to take advantage of monthly payment options through the GreenSky Patient Solutions® Program.* Which one would work best for you today?”
The important thing is to make sure this process is consistent and your entire staff is on board. For example: Do you have the right person driving the financial discussion to ensure optimal results are being achieved?
Make Optimal Case Acceptance the New Normal
If the idea of Optimal Case Acceptance is resonating with you and you want to get to work right away, one of the best places to start is in your existing patient files. Find out how much unscheduled treatment is in your charts. After all, you already have a relationship with these patients, so why not reach out to see how they are doing? Then, encourage them to re-establish their treatment plan and begin that work right away.
We’ll have more tips and suggestions on how to encourage patients to agree to your recommended treatment plan in future posts. In the meantime remember: Patients who have received optimal care and enjoyed an excellent experience are smiling and living a happier lifestyle because of you!
If you would like to learn how financing improves outcomes & boosts your bottom line, please download our eBook The Future of Profitable Dental Care.
* GreenSky Patient Solutions® Program is a program name for certain consumer credit plans extended by participating lenders to borrowers for the purchase of goods and/or services from participating merchants/providers. Participating lenders are federally insured, federal and state chartered financial institutions providing credit without regard to age, race, color, religion, national origin, gender or familial status. GreenSky, LLC and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, including GreenSky Patient Solutions, LLC, service the loans on behalf of participating lenders.