4 Reasons Patients Donít Schedule Treatment
Over the years, I’ve worked with countless dentists who struggle with case acceptance. It seems like no matter what they do, they just can’t get their patients to schedule the treatment they recommend. They’re frustrated and worried about their financial future, and that leads to a stressful environment for everyone in the practice.
Did I just describe the situation in your office? If so, don’t worry. I can help you improve case acceptance so you finally reach the 85% benchmark, growing practice production and your bottom line. But before we can get started, we need to determine why patients are saying no to treatment. From there, you can start to make changes that will take your practice from struggling to thriving.
Patients don’t schedule treatment for many reasons. Here are four of the most common:
1. They’re afraid. Unfortunately, dental fears are common and often keep patients from getting the treatment they need. That’s why education is so important.
The more patients are educated about the treatment you’re recommending, the more comfortable they’ll be going forward with the procedure. Make sure they understand exactly what the treatment involves and how you plan to keep them comfortable. Ask about their concerns and tailor your education to address those concerns. Talk with patients about the possible consequences of not going forward with treatment, and show them x-rays and images that clearly illustrate their condition.
It’s also a good idea to let patients look through before and after photos of similar successful cases you’ve completed. This will not only help ease their fears, it will also go a long way toward building connections and earning their trust – making them much more likely to accept the treatment you recommend.
2. They can’t afford it. Most patients don’t put money away specifically for dental care and have no idea how they’re going to pay for treatment. If they’re not in pain, patients often convince themselves they don’t need treatment, which leads to more complicated problems and additional costs down the road.
Offering third-party financing from a company like CareCredit helps ease the financial burden. Financing enables patients to pay for treatment in small chunks each month, rather than writing one large check at the time of service. Paying for dentistry becomes more manageable, and that means more patients will opt to schedule treatment.
3. They didn’t get their questions answered. Most dentists don’t have a lot of time to spend on case presentations. Sure, they go over treatment and let patients know why it’s necessary, but that often isn’t enough. Patients usually have questions, but decide not to ask them because they don’t want to take up too much of the doctor’s time. So while patients say they understand and will make an appointment before they leave, they usually don’t.
That’s why I suggest hiring a Treatment Coordinator to handle case presentations for all producers in the practice. The coordinator should go over every detail with patients in a comfortable, quiet environment, giving them the opportunity to ask questions without feeling rushed. These conversations also help patients feel more connected to the practice, which of course makes them more comfortable scheduling treatment.
4. They forget about it. Your patients are very busy people and likely have a lot on their minds. While you know how important their dental health is, many patients will forget to call back and schedule treatment once they leave.
To overcome this, I suggest you train your Treatment Coordinator to follow up with every patient two days after the initial case presentation. That way the conversation is still top of mind. Use these calls as an opportunity to educate patients even more and address any lingering concerns. Patients will appreciate the extra effort and gain an even better understanding of why they should accept treatment.
Getting patients to schedule the treatment you recommend can be difficult, but it’s vital to your practice’s success. If case acceptance is low, it’s costing you thousands of dollars in lost revenue, as well as hurting team morale. Understanding why patients aren’t scheduling will help you boost practice production numbers and ultimately your bottom line.
Need more guidance? Consider taking my one-day treatment presentation training to learn exactly what you need to do to improve case acceptance in your practice.
Next week: Make patients want to say yes to treatment
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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