By Kyle L. Summerford
January 27, 2014
"How much time should I be spending on this particular individual?”
This is a question you should ask yourself at each new patient consultation in order to effectively decrease your time spent on invaluable patients, which will result in more time spent on patients that may yield a higher case acceptance rate. These five steps will help you manage your time properly and, in turn, increase your daily collections.
We all know that every dentist practices differently. These are three common reasons for why dentists do what they do:
To get an understanding of who the patient is, take a look at the patient’s medical history form. Financially speaking, here is where you should pay attention to everything that makes this person who he or she is.
What does this patient do for a living? How much dentistry can they afford? Look specifically under the category listed "employer and occupation.” Self-employed, associate, CEO, president, and doctor are all good indications of affordability of more costly treatment plans. Don't be shy when presenting a more expensive treatment option to these patients.
Where does the patient reside? If you are familiar with the surrounding geographic areas of your practice location, then you'll know more or less what the patient’s choice of lifestyle living is and whether they own a house or rent an apartment. This can be a good indicator for credit worthiness.
When was the last time this patient saw a dentist? Did the patient just see another dentist two days ago? This category should also be listed on the medical history form. If he or she did see another dentist recently, ask the patient what that dentist’s recommended treatment plan was. Be sure to ask this question to understand whether too much was presented all at once, which could have bombarded the patient. This question can help you to be cautious and take more of a conservative approach with this particular individual.
Why is this patient here today? Why did he or she choose to come to your office? Are you running a special offer or promotion? If this patient has a regular dentist, they may just want the special your offering and be on their way, never to return again. Be sure to ask the patient to understand why they left that office and chose to seek out your expertise. Was it because of financial reasons, payment plan options, or affordability? Are you the only dentist within a 50-mile radius that accepts his or her lowballing insurance plan?
This gathering of knowledge can help you get a full understanding of what type of patient you are catering to. These simple categories should be listed on your new patient registration forms. If your forms are missing any of these, be sure to replace them immediately.
Case acceptance in an insurance-driven world
Dental case presentation: Present the problems, not the treatment!
Great customer service + high patient satisfaction = increased production for your dental office