Make Patients Want to Say Yes to Treatment
If production is down in your practice, revenues and team morale are likely suffering as well. It can be frustrating when patients keep saying no to treatment, especially if you have no idea why.
Patients opt to forego treatment for any number of reasons. Maybe they don’t think they can afford it or they’re worried about potential post-op pain. What they usually don’t understand is ignoring the problem will only make it worse, which could lead to more complicated, more expensive procedures down the road.
So what can you do to fix this? First, start building connections. Establishing trust and a rapport with patients is a great way to improve case acceptance. Take the time to get to know them. Ask about their jobs and their oral health goals. Talk with them about their concerns and educate them about their condition and the importance of maintaining oral health. Educated patients not only tend to be more loyal, they’re also more likely to accept treatment.
I’m also a firm believer in show, don’t tell. Just hearing why they need treatment might not be enough for some patients. Most of us make decisions based on touch, smell and sight. Think about what it would be like if you went shopping at a furniture store, but couldn’t touch anything. It would be difficult to make any decisions, so you might decide to walk out of the store empty-handed rather than spending money on expensive items you don’t know much about.
The same is true with dentistry. When educating patients, it’s a good idea to include presentation models and other tools to help patients understand their dental needs and why they should “buy” the treatment you recommend.
Here’s an example. When your hygienist talks to Mr. Perry about the crown he needs to replace an old silver filling, there’s a pretty good chance Mr. Perry doesn’t fully understand what your hygienist is talking about. He likely doesn’t know what a crown looks like, what it’s made of or just how much it’s going to cost him. This, of course, makes him hesitant to go forward with treatment, especially when he finally hears the price tag.
To keep patients like Mr. Perry from walking out of the practice without scheduling treatment, show them the value of the treatment they need. How? Make sure they understand how the crown will help them chew better, how it will improve their smile and how it will enhance their quality of life. Then, show them what it looks like.
You can do this with something as simple as another patient’s model that features a crown prepared by your lab. When patients see an actual crown, they place more value on it and what it can do for them. They can hold it in their hand and see how the tooth will be prepared. You also can use this as an opportunity to let patients know the strong, durable crown will be custom-made just for them, helping to ensure a comfortable fit that will last for years to come.
This not only gives patients the information they need to make an informed decision, it also gets them excited to say yes to treatment.
Showing patients what’s going on in their mouths is another way to improve case acceptance. As you discuss their condition, show patients pictures taken with an intraoral camera or bring up their x-rays. This will help them see what you see, and that will increase case acceptance.
It’s also important for you and your hygienist to be on the same page during patient appointments. If your hygienist spends time educating patients about their condition and recommended treatment, but then you come in and tell them everything looks great, the chances of them scheduling an appointment are pretty slim. These mixed messages confuse patients and almost guarantee they will say no to treatment.
To avoid this, have a quick conversation with your hygienist before talking with your patients. Ask what was found and what the hygienist recommends. This will ensure you’re communicating consistent messages to your patients.
Another tip? If you don’t already, consider offering third party financing. Many patients don’t go forward with treatment simply because they can’t afford it, and there’s no amount of patient education and communication you can provide that will change that. You can, however, help alleviate some of the financial burden. Accepting treatment becomes much more comfortable if patients know they can pay off a little at a time, rather than writing one large check.
If practice production has fallen into a slump, it might be time to consider making some changes. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to boosting your production numbers and your bottom line.Forward this article to a friend
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