Follow these Tips to Improve Case Acceptance
You know how important it is for patients to accept the treatment you recommend – but that doesn’t mean they do. That’s why they say no so often; they don’t understand the consequences of not going forward with treatment, so they choose to wait or simply shrug off your recommendation. The result? They don’t get the treatment they need and your bottom line suffers.
Frustrating, I know, but this doesn’t have to be how the story plays out in your practice. Follow these tips to get your case acceptance rate closer to that 85% benchmark, fueling growth and helping your practice finally meet its full potential.
Find out what motivates them. Patients say no to treatment for many reasons. It’s your job to determine why they’re saying no and help them get past any perceived barriers to care.
If money is keeping patients from moving forward, for example, talk to them about the financing options your practice offers, such as CareCredit. Are they worried about how much time the procedure will take or any post-op pain they might experience? Educate them about the procedure to put their minds at ease. Really listen to their concerns and then address them.
I suggest you conduct new patient interviews to learn about their oral health goals. You can then tailor recommendations and treatment plans to align with those goals, making patients more likely to accept treatment. Remember that goals and concerns change over time, so it’s a good idea to repeat these interviews with current patients every 18 to 24 months.
Hire a Treatment Coordinator. As much as you might enjoy it, you just don’t have time to present treatment to every patient. That’s why I suggest hiring a Treatment Coordinator. This team member can take as much time as necessary to talk with patients about the recommended procedure, while you focus on producing.
Focus on the benefits of treatment rather than the cost. Yes, patients want to know how much treatment will cost, but your Treatment Coordinator shouldn’t start the presentation off with a price tag. Why? If it’s a large number, that’s all patients will think about throughout the entire presentation. Beyond that, if money is the initial focus, they might think all you care about is selling them something, which can be pretty off-putting. Either way, the chances of them accepting treatment are pretty low.
That’s why I suggest talking about the benefits of treatment instead. Make sure patients understand exactly what’s going on in their mouths and why the doctor is recommending treatment in the first place. The Treatment Coordinator should sit with patients in a private, comfortable room and go over every aspect of treatment and answer every question they have. Bring up cost after going over all the other important details and remind patients of financing options your practice offers. If money seems to be a factor, be sure to stress how delaying treatment can actually cost them more money down the road if the problem becomes worse.
Talk at their level. Remember, your patients didn’t go to dental school and probably don’t understand some of the more clinical terms that are part of your vocabulary. Trust me, talking over their heads won’t impress them; it will just make them less likely to accept treatment. You and your team members should keep the conversation at their level to help patients understand their condition and the treatment you’re recommending. Show them images whenever possible, have them watch educational videos and give them educational brochures to take home. This will all go a long way in getting more patients on the schedule.
Show them the value of dentistry. Educating patients isn’t just about helping them understand their specific problem. It also involves making sure they understand the value of dentistry and the services you provide. To help them see what goes into every appointment, send them home with a printout of everything you did and the products they received for free. Talk with them about the oral-systemic link. Show patients the value in maintaining their oral health, and case acceptance will rise.
Getting patients to accept treatment can be challenging. Many patients don’t understand the value of dentistry or the problems that may come up if they choose to ignore your treatment recommendations. Focusing on education will give patients the information they need to make the best decisions, ultimately improving case acceptance and growing your practice.
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
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