Like most business owners, you probably keep a detailed log of new patients. You might even track where your leads are coming from. But how many times has a patient canceled an appointment or failed to accept treatment after a first visit?
Low case acceptance is one of the most common problems dentists face today. You might think these patients don’t see the correlation between their oral health and physical health, but the exact opposite is true. According to a recent survey from Delta Dental Plans, 85 percent of Americans believe oral health is extremely important to their overall health; 42 percent said they don’t see a dentist as often as they’d like.
Your patients are smart. It’s the insurance companies that are blind to the link between proper dental care and overall health. Fortunately, you have the ability to make dental care accessible to your patients. Starting a dental membership program is a quick and easy way to increase case acceptance and help your patients get the care they need. Here are a few easy ways you can help more patients accept treatment:
1. Ask the right questions. When you’re a dentist, every day is a busy day – but you should do your best to hide this from your patients. For most, being in your chair is already a nerve-wracking experience. To properly treat your patient, you must know what needs to be fixed – both orally and financially. Build a quick rapport to relax your patients and then ask the important questions: What brought them into your office? When did they last see a dentist? Were there any problems at their last appointment? Were those problems ever addressed?
These questions are designed to reveal financial hurdles that may prevent your patients from accepting further treatment. Common pain points include:
- No insurance
- Frustration with the insurance provider
- Imminent loss of coverage
- Insurance doesn’t cover their desired procedures
2. Offer the best solution. If you’re able to empathize with your patients while offering them a solution, you’ll gain their loyalty and trust. Lack of insurance is the number one reason people don’t go to the dentist. The number two reason? Cost. Dental savings plans are a great solution for both you and your patients because they allow your patient to accept the treatment they need and save you the time and energy otherwise expended on lengthy paperwork and insurance company struggles.
3. Find what works and evolve accordingly. Although every patient has a unique set of concerns, you’ll start to notice some trends over time. Keep track of what strikes a chord and build a list of best practices for your office. As you learn what works for you, you’ll find it easier and easier to approach patients who would benefit from your plan.
4. Optimize treatment presentation across the board. When it comes to case acceptance, presentation is everything. Getting your entire staff on the same page about how to present treatment to patients is vital to your practice’s success. Clarity and transparency should be the top goals of any presentation. Mention your dental membership program early on and patients will be more likely to listen to what comes next. After you’re done explaining the procedure’s details and benefits, you can show them the treatment’s actual cost compared to how much they’d save with a membership plan. Concrete numbers go a long way to convince patients their oral health is a viable and reasonable investment.
On the surface, dental membership programs increase case acceptance by making treatment more affordable, but the benefits don’t stop there. Subscription-based models also attract new and loyal patients who feel more invested in their long-term health.