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5 ways to grow case acceptance and revenues in your dental practice

Aug. 8, 2018
Treatment acceptance is key to the success of most dental practices. How to get patients to accept taht treatment can be tricky. Here are five steps that have been successful in many other dental practices.
Sally McKenzie, CEO of McKenzie Management
When case acceptance is down, it can be pretty stressful for you and your team members. Productivity and team morale can suffer, and you’re left wondering why patients don’t see the importance of accepting your recommended treatment.

There are many reasons patients say no to treatment. Some might fear the procedure while others don’t understand the value of dentistry. Whatever the reasons, there are steps you can take to make patients want to say yes to treatment.

Here are five ways to grow case acceptance and ultimately increase practice revenues.

Hire a treatment coordinator

As much as you, the dentist, might like doing case presentations, spending five to 10 minutes talking with patients chairside usually isn’t enough to convince them they should go forward with treatment. That’s where a treatment coordinator comes in. This team member can spend as much time as necessary going over procedures with patients in a comfortable environment, answering their questions, and addressing their concerns. Task your treatment coordinator, who should be trained in sales, with presenting treatment for every producer in the practice and you’ll soon see case acceptance rise.

Follow up with every patient

Most patients don’t make a decision about treatment before they leave the practice. They want to think about their options and discuss it with their spouse. That’s fine, but don’t expect them to take the initiative to call the office to make an appointment because they likely won’t. It’s important to have your treatment coordinator follow up with every patient two days after the initial presentation. During this call, the coordinator should be prepared to address any lingering concerns and get the patient on the schedule.

Make education a priority

The more educated patients are, the more likely they are to accept treatment. You and your team members should talk with patients about their conditions and the importance of maintaining their oral health. Intraoral images, extraoral images, radiographs, videos, and brochures all help provide this education.

Remember, taking the time to educate patients shows them you care, which makes them feel more connected to the practice. Patients will have more trust in you and your team members, which will make them more comfortable saying yes to treatment.

Take the focus off of the money

While money is often an important factor for patients when considering treatment, it shouldn’t be the focus of the case presentation. If the first thing patients hear is the price tag, that’s all they’ll think about during the rest of the discussion. It also makes it seem like the practice is focused on selling dentistry rather than providing the best possible care. That can be pretty off-putting and does not exactly make patients want to go forward with treatment.

I suggest you train the treatment coordinator to focus on the benefits of treatment during the presentation. Patients should understand what’s going on in their mouths and the possible consequences of delaying care. When it finally is time to talk about cost, be sure to tell patients about any financing options, such as CareCredit, that the practice offers. Remind them that if they put treatment off the problem will just get worse and will likely cost them more down the road.

Find out what motivates them

If you know what motivates patients, you’ll be much more likely to recommend treatment they’ll actually accept. To find out what their oral health goals are, I suggest you conduct new-patient interviews and then repeat those interviews every 18 to 24 months. Through this process you might learn that a patient is interested in clear aligners, for example, which is something you might not have known otherwise.

Keep in mind that when patients say no to treatment, it’s important to find out why. Is it because they think they can’t afford it? Tell them about financing options. Do they not understand why treatment is important? Spend more time educating them. Address their concerns and they might just change their minds.

Lackluster case acceptance hurts practice productivity and revenues, as well as causes extra stress in you and your team. Taking these steps will help you grow case acceptance, leading to a happier team and a more robust bottom line.

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Sally McKenzie is CEO of McKenzie Management, a full-service, nationwide dental practice management company. Contact her at (877)777-6151 or at [email protected].