Dentist Counseling

5 simple steps to assess your patient’s case acceptance value

Jan. 27, 2014
These five steps will help you manage your time properly and, in turn, increase your daily collections.

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.

Is it PPO = profit and DHMO = loss, or vice versa?

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.

Related articles:
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

Kyle L. Summerford has learned the business aspects of dentistry throughout the last 12 years from some of the most successful dentists in the tri-state area. He offers free online education to dentists and their teams on his practice management website His innovative management and marketing strategies have been proven effective in minimizing overhead costs and increasing production and collections, leading to a healthy, successful dental practice. You may contact him by email at [email protected], or via his website,