5 Reasons Patients Didnít Accept Treatment in 2014
You never thought it would be this difficult. It should be simple, really – you recommend necessary treatment and the patient accepts it. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case at your practice. In fact, for reasons you can’t understand, it’s more common for your patients not to go forward with treatment than to actually say yes, and it’s killing your bottom line.
As 2014 comes to a close, now is a good time to take a look at your case acceptance numbers and figure out how to improve them, especially if those numbers fall well below the 85% benchmark. Case acceptance is a vital part of your practice’s success, and once you understand why patients are saying no to treatment, you can make the necessary changes that will help change their answer to yes.
In my more than 30 years of experience as a dental consultant, I’ve seen many practices struggle with case acceptance, and it happens for many reasons. To help get you back on the right path in the New Year, I’ve put together a list of five common reasons many patients decided not to go forward with treatment in 2014. Think about each one and what positive changes you can make in your practice…changes that will make patients excited to move forward with treatment.
1. You didn’t build strong relationships with your patients. No matter how skilled you are as a dentist, patients simply won’t go forward with treatment if they don’t trust you. In fact, if they don’t feel any connection to your practice at all, chances are they won’t be one of your patients for long.
Even though you’d likely prefer to just focus on the dentistry, you have to take the time to build rapport with your patients. Let them know you care about them and their oral health. Ask about their families and their jobs. Offer to answer any questions they might have. Make them feel comfortable with you and they’ll be much more likely to trust, and go forward with, your treatment recommendations.
2. You didn’t provide the necessary education. Sure, you know why your patients should go forward with treatment, but they don’t. You have to create value for them. You telling them they need a crown or periodontal therapy isn’t enough. Make patients understand their condition and the possible consequences of doing nothing, and remember to talk at their level. Using big dental words they don’t understand will leave them feeling confused, uncomfortable and looking for the first opportunity to bolt.
Instead of talking over their heads, provide education. Intraoral cameras serve as a great educational tool, and make it possible to show patients exactly what’s going on in their mouths. Patient education videos and informational brochures also go a long way in helping patients understand what the recommended procedure entails and why taking care of their oral health is so important. But don’t just leave them in the room with a video or hand them a brochure and walk away. Go over the information and ask if they have any questions. If you provide this education and show patients value in the treatment you’re recommending, you’ll find more patients will start saying yes.
3. You didn’t ask about their concerns. Chances are, patients have a lot of questions about the procedure you’re recommending, even if they don’t ask. They may just be too nervous to ask what they think are silly questions, or they feel bad for taking up your time. Look at their body language. If they look uncomfortable, try to put them at ease. Ask if they have any questions or concerns. This will give you a chance to address any misconceptions they have about the procedure, and help them understand why going forward with treatment is so important.
4. You handled case presentations yourself. While you may enjoy presenting treatment, you’re likely not the best person to do it. Five to 10 minutes with you in the operatory simply isn’t enough to make a nervous patient comfortable with treatment. Instead, hire a Treatment Coordinator. This team member should handle all treatment presentations in a comfortable, private office space, not a noisy operatory.
5. You didn’t offer financing. Money is a huge barrier to case acceptance. No matter how important the treatment is, many patients feel like they simply can’t afford it. If you don’t offer financing options, I can guarantee many patients will say no to treatment, even if they’d like to say yes. If you don’t already, consider offering a financing option such as CareCredit to your patients. This takes the focus off the ticket price, and eases worries about what saying yes will do to their pocketbook.
Case acceptance is the cornerstone of your practice. If patients aren’t accepting treatment, you’re losing money and patients aren’t receiving the care they need. But if you take the time to make positive changes in your practice, you’ll create loyal patients who trust you with their dental care. Your case acceptance numbers will rise and you’ll be well on your way to a profitable, successful dental practice in 2015.
If you need more help to get your practice on the right path, consider taking my One-Day Treatment Presentation Training.
Next week, How to improve case acceptance in 2015.
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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