In a previous entry, I talked about percentage of staff pay and how to get that lowered by making your staff more efficient.
The other way to get your percentage of staff pay into an acceptable range is to increase collections by increasing the percent of cases that are accepted. If your case acceptance percent runs 80% - and what I mean is that 80% of your patients commit to pay for and complete full treatment plans within a reasonable amount of time - then you're in the Michael Jordan league of case presentation.
An acceptable amount is 70%. Anything less means your dental practice is hemorrhaging money.
This is an area where I find many doctors misdiagnose their dental office’s problem. Production is down, they can't get people in, so they go to the front desk and the receptionist is saying they've talked to this guy, this guy and this guy, but they can't get them in. So the doctor blames the economy or the time of year or his location or that they walked under a ladder while their dental office was being built.
There are legitimate reasons (mainly financial) why a patient cannot move forward with treatment but more often than we'd all like to admit the real reason the patient does not moving forward is not because they can't afford the treatment but because you didn’t edcuate the patient properly and so the patient does not see the real value in the treatment when you presented it. So the patient goes to the front desk and says, “gee that's a lot of money” and the treatment coordinator, for whatever reason, immediately agrees and devalues the treatment and tells the patient to do just what’s covered under their insurance for the year.
Patients will typcially commit to, pay for and complete full treatment plans within a reasonable amount of time when the patient places value on the treatment after proper education. Again, there are legitimate reasons (typically financial) when a patient does not move forward even when they do place vlaue on the treatment but there are many, many times a patient who could afford to move forward does not. Blaming finances can too easily become a self-fulling prophecy.
Here are just few pointers to get patients better committed to their treatment plan.
Pointer #1: Talk to them in layman’s terms. Don’t assume your patient knows anything about dental health. Many times I listen to a dentist presenting treatment and the dentist uses terms that assume the patient just got back from an advanced course on altering occlusion function and esthetics.
Pointer #2: Use an inter-oral camera, an iPad app, draw pictures, show them models or their x-rays. You’ll lose their interest if you don’t. But in doing so, do not violate pointer #1.
Pointer #3: Use analogies. Compare tooth decay to rust on a car. Compare periodontal disease to a post trying to hold itself up in a hole where the soil has eroded. There are a thousand different ways to describe dental conditions in terms your patients will immediately relate to.