5 Tips to Increase Case Acceptance in Your Dental Practice
December 14, 2021
At a glance
- The main takeaway: The key to growing your dental practice is with case acceptance and in order to do that you need to communicate with your patients.
- Change-up your approach: Conversations about treatment plans with patients don’t have to be awkward if you take the time to develop effective and actionable communications.
- Get advice from experts: Aprio can help you develop customized strategies to accelerate growth and profitability in your practice.
The full story:
Case acceptance is a good indicator to determine how well you and your team communicate with patients. It’s also a key factor in growing your practice, yet dental patients are challenging. They know they need your services, however, they drag their feet when it comes time to make an appointment or better yet schedule a treatment.
If you’re experiencing a low case acceptance, you aren’t alone. So, how can you convince patients to move forward with a treatment without being pushy? Here are five tips to take your case acceptance to the next level:
1. Get better at communicating treatment plans to your patients
Talking about treatment plans with a patient is a delicate conversation and it’s important to be intentional in how you present treatments they may need. Sit down with your team to develop a carefully thought-out script using everyday language that outlines the treatment details, benefits to the patient, length of the treatment, cost and payment options and provide information materials for them to take home. Training your team to use a script when discussing treatment plans allows them to build confidence in their role and build trust with the patient. Plus, it will help you identify potential roadblocks (financial, time or even fear) that may prevent the patient from following through with the treatment. After your conversation, check back in with the patient to gauge how they’re feeling regarding the treatment, and if they haven’t already, to schedule the appointment.
2. Pre-schedule appointments while the patient is in your office
Scheduling problems can be a headache and a quick way to loose patients, which is why it’s to book any follow-up or cleaning appointments while you still have the patient in the office. When a patient leaves without scheduling their next appointment, it’s likely they won’t follow-up. So, how can you secure that next appointment? Coach your team to lead the patient to the front desk for check out and instrut the patient and front desk staff to schedule their next appointment. If the patient still leaves without scheduling, someone on your team should call the them within 24 hours to check-in and get that next appointment in the books. To avoid no-shows or last minute cancellations, make sure someone on your team is calling the patient to remind them and confirm upcoming appointments.
3. Provide cost and payment options
Confidently and compassionately discussing the cost of treatment with a patient can make a big impact. Not everyone has dental insurance, which is often the reason patients will postpone a treatment. The cost of a treatment is a common concern and it’s good to remember to be understanding and upfront during these conversations. Consider offering in-office dental plans or even third-party financing options for patients who do not have insurance. Patients will appreciate you going the extra mile by showing them you care and helping to find a payment option that fits them best.
4. Build long-term relationships
People make decisions based on how they feel. Every interaction with every member of your team will influence how a patient feels about your practice, thus how they feel about any future treatments. Never take for granted the positive effects building a good rapport with your patients will go. Patients who know your team better are more comfortable and more likely to trust you when complex treatment is needed and in turn refer their family and friends to your practice. Building a connection can be as simple as asking about their day, remembering family and big events. It will take time to create that relationship, but it’s a great tool to organically retain and attract patients.
5. Create a positive web and in-office experience
Patients form their first opinion of you in two ways – visiting your website and the moment they step in your office. Make your website user-friendly and easy for patients to collect relevant information or even ask a question via a chat feature. By doing this, it will give them the information they need and they will be quicker in making an appointment. Don’t forget to give new patients a call to remind them of their appointment, ask if they have any questions and that you are looking forward to meeting them. When a patient steps into your office they want to experience a friendly and clean environment. Make sure your waiting area and front desk staff are welcoming and start generating trust and goodwill from the moment they enter your office.
The Bottom Line
If you can’t properly relay a treatment plan, your patients will start to hesitate on scheduling their appointments. That’s why it’s important to take the time to develop the most effective way to communicate treatment plans and schedule appointments with your patients. Once you have a process in place, you’ll begin to see your case acceptance rate increase. Aprio’s Dental team can provide you with the support and guidance to accelerate growth in your practice.
About the Author
Partner, National Dental Practice Tom Stowe, CPA, is a Partner with Aprio’s National Dental Practice, where he works exclusively with dental practice owners and associates looking to either build a practice from the ground up or to purchase an existing practice. Tom’s specialties include strategic tax planning, practice benchmarking and dental practice profitability consulting to accelerate business goals and manage risk.