Of course, dentists will always face obstacles when it comes to getting patients to accept treatment plans. Sometimes it’s their fear or anxiety about having a procedure. Other times, the economy can work against dental practices. Here are some strategies that will work when it comes to getting your patients to accept recommended treatment plans. Although more expensive, these treatment plans are also very necessary for the ultimate health and happiness of patients.
Offer flexible financing
A survey by Harris Interactive and HealthDay found that 50% of Americans who don’t have dental insurance often skip visits for financial reasons.(2) This means you’ll often offer treatment plans to people who do not have dental insurance. A person’s inability to pay for treatment need not be a barrier. Many practices offer CareCredit, which allows patients to finance their treatments and make monthly payments toward the balance. But many patients aren’t eligible for CareCredit, and many don’t even bother to apply when they know their credit will be checked. There are other alternatives for patients who cannot afford the initial treatment costs, such as iCare Financial, a financing program that does not require a credit check and has instant approval. Patients receive interest-free financing and are placed on a monthly payment plan that works within their budget. Most providers using iCare generate an additional $80,000 to $350,000 per year.
Examples of dental practices that accept iCare Financial
• Cazes Family Dentistry has accepted iCare Financial for two years. During this period, they submitted approximately $112,000 in salaries.
• While insurance pressures are causing many doctors to change their treatment plans, Dr. Sherry Tsai of Milbrae Dental Care now feels that with iCare she is free to manage her work in the best way possible. “I now have much more confidence presenting the ideal dentistry to patients knowing that there is an easy and affordable patient plan out there,” she said.
• Access Dental and Dentures only offered patients CareCredit, but because not all patients qualified, they were unable to treat all potential patients. Managing Director Kari Hicks explained: “Since iCare’s introduction, 80% of people who were not eligible for CareCredit have found iCare Financial to be right for them.”
Another thing that often keeps patients from booking their treatment plans is their anxiety about having dental work done. Dental practices can make adjustments by offering sedation techniques that calm even the most nervous patients. Oral sedation, inhalation sedation, and IV sedation are all viable options that increase patients’ chances of accepting their treatment plans.
Another option that many dentists incorporate for patients with minimal levels of caries is air abrasion. This technique removes the anxiety often associated with the noise of the dental drill.
Offer the latest technology
There is no denying that patients will be more likely to agree to great treatment plans if they feel more comfortable with the procedures themselves. One way to do this is to offer state-of-the-art technology, such as CEREC and CAD/CAM. When patients can get crowns and veneers on the same day, it eliminates their worries of taking time for multiple appointments.
Intraoral cameras and digital tomography also stimulate acceptance of the treatment plan. These technologies allow patients to easily see the impact of their dental hygiene and understand what needs to be corrected.
Some strategies that make patients more comfortable don’t even involve extra expense or extra training. It costs nothing to stick to the schedule and gain a reputation for never keeping patients waiting. Cultivating a caring attitude and taking the time to carefully explain all procedures will also serve to increase acceptance rates.
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Patrick Rangely is Director of Client Relations at iCare Financial, a dental patient finance company. Patrick works with iCare Dental providers whose primary focus is patient cases ranging from $5,000 to $20,000. Contact him at 800-862-7908 or [email protected] Find more information about icarefinancialcorp.com.
1. “3 Stats to Beat for Successful Practice.” Revenue Well. http://www.revenuewell.com/3-stats-beat-successful-practice. Published July 15, 2015. Accessed March 2, 2016.
2. Holmes, Mark PhD. Can we be healthy when our economy is unhealthy? North Carolina Medical Journal. July/August 2009. Volume 70, Number 4.