Patients Not Accepting Treatment? Hereís Why
For reasons you don’t understand, most of your patients aren’t going forward with treatment you recommend, even when you think they’re ready to schedule. Not only are you starting to take this lack of case acceptance personal, it’s costing you money and keeping your practice from meeting its full potential.
And I’m not talking about a little bit of money. If your case acceptance rate is below the 85% benchmark, you’re losing thousands of dollars every year. It’s also shaking your confidence and lowering team morale – none of which will help you reach practice success and profitability.
I know this situation is frustrating, but I’m here to help you turn it around. Over the years, I’ve worked with many dentists who struggled with case acceptance, and I know what it takes to get patients to that all-important yes.
First, you have to figure out why patients aren’t accepting treatment. Here are some of the most common reasons patients opt to forego treatment and what you can do to change their minds.
You handle your own case presentations. When presented with treatment, most patients have questions. They’re likely worried about cost, if the procedure will hurt and how much time they’ll need to take off work. But if you only spend 10 minutes with them going over the procedure and why it’s necessary, they won’t ask those questions. Trust me, they can tell when you’re in a hurry to get to the next patient, and feel guilty taking up too much of your time.
The truth is, you just don’t have time to offer proper case presentations – you know, the kind that make patients comfortable accepting treatment. That’s why I suggest hiring a Treatment Coordinator. This team member should handle case presentations for all practice producers, and spend as much time as necessary going over every aspect of treatment with patients. The Treatment Coordinator should talk with patients in a quiet, comfortable environment, and then follow up two days after the initial presentation.
Patients don’t feel a connection to your practice. Even if patients understand the need for treatment, they won’t entrust you with their care if they don’t feel some kind of connection to you and your practice. You have to spend time building a rapport with patients and earning their trust. Talk with them about their jobs, their families and their oral health goals. Educate them about your practice and the services you offer. This will make them more comfortable during their visits and more likely to accept treatment.
You don’t provide enough education. If patients don’t see value in the treatment you’re recommending, they’re not going to move forward. You have to spend time educating them about the importance of maintaining their oral health, and the consequences of not treating the problem you’ve diagnosed. Use your intraoral camera to show them what’s going on in their mouths and have them watch educational videos about the procedure you’re recommending. Give them educational brochures and answer their questions, and be sure to stress the value of dentistry.
Remember, educated patients are more likely to accept treatment. Look at every patient interaction as an opportunity to educate, and you’ll begin to see your case acceptance rate rise.
You don’t offer financing. Often, patients say no to treatment simply because they can’t afford it. They just don’t see how they can pay for the procedure on top of the other expenses they already have, so they decide the treatment will have to wait.
If you want more patients to accept treatment, consider offering third party financing such as CareCredit. This eases the financial burden and makes the thought of paying for treatment much more manageable. Instead of writing one large check, patients can pay a small amount every month. This flexibility will make them more likely to say yes to expensive procedures.
You don’t listen. Patients come up with many reasons to say no to treatment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change their mind. Don’t take no as their final answer. When patients say they’re not ready to move forward, ask them why and really listen to what they tell you. Tailor your education to address their specific concerns. If you determine what the perceived barrier is and address it, you’ll find patients are more likely to say yes.
Case acceptance is vital to your practice’s success. If everyone says no to treatment, you’re not going to bring in any money. You have to find a way to get patients to say yes, so you can grow your production numbers and your bottom line.
If you need more guidance, I’m happy to help. 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, How to improve case acceptance and grow your bottom line.
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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