Increasing case acceptance is one of the most effective ways of boosting your dental practice’s income and profitability — not to mention helping your patients maintain healthy, attractive teeth. How can you increase case acceptance among your dental patients? Try these four tips.
- Be open about costs. Often, patients are reluctant to get additional treatment because it's too expensive. They may be embarrassed to admit this in front of you, so they will make an appointment and then cancel it later with a made-up excuse. Addressing the cost issue upfront helps reduce the risk you’ll run into this problem (and the accompanying cancellations). At the time you recommend a treatment to a patient, have your front desk staff create an estimate of the cost, both the total cost of the procedure and the patient's responsibility after any insurance coverage. You will be able to see how the patient reacts, which can help you overcome any objections by explaining the importance of the procedure to their dental health.
- Offer financing. Paying for costly procedures can be onerous for any patient, especially for families. (What if all four children need cavities filled at the same time?) Offering financing is a smart way to increase case acceptance by making it easier for patients to spread out payments over time. In a survey conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, nearly three-fourths of dentists say offering third-party financing increased case acceptance for their practices. There are many companies that offer financing designed for medical and dental professionals; CareCredit, SimplePay and SimpleSelect are three popular providers to investigate.
- Create an internal benefits option. Some dentists create benefits programs or service packages that patients without insurance can buy. For example, you might offer a family package that includes annual X-rays and exams for four people, or an individual package that offers three cleanings a year. These plans offer patients bundles of services at a set price that generally includes a 10 percent or 15 percent discount compared to what they would normally pay without insurance. Internal benefits plans make patients more likely to return regularly, increase case acceptance and boost your cash flow (since you get paid for the package ahead of time). Since payments are bundled, your staff saves time going back-and-forth with insurance companies and patients to get paid for each treatment.
- Be proactive with reminders. Sometimes, patients agree to a procedure, then get cold feet later on. Help encourage patients to complete their planned course of treatment by sending reminders of the upcoming appointment. Use Lighthouse 360 to automatically turn on reminder messaging for patients who need to come back for recommended treatments. Not hearing back from a patient? Lighthouse 360 lets you create follow-up lists of patients who haven't confirmed their appointments, despite getting reminders. Your front desk employees can easily text or call patients right from the list, saving them time and increasing the likelihood of patients going through with procedures as planned.
By taking these four simple steps, you can boost case acceptance and have happier patients, too.