6 ways to improve case acceptance in your practice

By Sally McKenzie, DrBicuspid.com contributing writer

March 23, 2015 -- You and your team members spend time talking with patients about the importance of going forward with treatment. They seem to understand and say they're ready to schedule, yet most of them never do.

Sally McKenzie
Sally McKenzie, CEO of McKenzie Management.

Not only is this frustrating, it's costing you thousands of dollars in lost revenue every year. Your case acceptance rate is nowhere near the 85% benchmark, and you know you need to make some changes if your practice is ever going to reach its full potential.

Ready to get started? Here are six ways you can improve case acceptance in your practice, increase production numbers, and grow your bottom line.

No. 1: Earn their trust

If patients don't trust you, they're not going to move forward with any treatment you recommend. They'll find another dentist to perform the work, or they may even decide the treatment you're suggesting isn't necessary.

Take time to build a rapport with your patients before presenting them with costly treatment plans. Get to know them and ask about their dental health goals. Offer to answer any questions they have, and do your best to make them feel comfortable while they're in your practice. Show patients you care about them and their oral health, and they'll be much more likely to trust you with their care.

No. 2: Focus on education

Educating patients is key to increasing case acceptance in your practice. When they understand the value of maintaining their oral health and of the services you provide, it will be difficult for them to say no to needed care. During their appointments, take the time to really educate them about their oral condition and the possible consequences of not going forward with treatment.

“Educating patients is key to increasing case acceptance in your practice.”

Use x-rays, hand mirrors, and intraoral cameras to show patients what's happening in their mouths. Go over brochures with them and show them educational videos. Talk with them about the oral-systemic link, and ease any concerns they might have about the recommended procedure. When patients understand the value of the care you provide and how not going forward with treatment could affect their health, they'll be much more likely to accept treatment.

No. 3: Find out what motivates them

When patients say no to treatment, don't accept that as their final answer. Ask them why. When you know why patients don't want to go forward with treatment, you can address their specific concerns and find solutions to any perceived barriers to care. Knowing what motivates patients is powerful information, and it will help you find ways to make it easy for them to say yes.

No. 4: Hire a treatment coordinator

While you may enjoy delivering case presentations, spending five to 10 minutes talking with patients about their treatment options certainly isn't enough to convince them to move forward. They can tell you're in a hurry and don't want to bother you with silly questions about the procedure. And even if they tell you they're on board and ready to schedule before you move on to the next patient, chances are they really are not.

If you want to improve your case acceptance numbers, consider hiring a treatment coordinator to present cases for every producer in the practice. This team member, skilled in sales, should sit down with patients in a private, comfortable environment and explain every aspect of treatment. This will help put patients at ease and make them more likely to ask questions -- giving your treatment coordinator the opportunity to address their concerns and stress the importance of accepting treatment.

No. 5: Follow up

As nice as it would be, most patients don't schedule treatment before they leave your practice. You know the drill. They often want time to think about it and talk over the options with their spouse.

Have your treatment coordinator schedule follow-up calls with every patient before he or she leaves. If that isn't possible, the coordinator should call within two days after the visit, armed with a script and any important notes taken during the initial presentation. This enables the coordinator to personalize the call and to address any lingering fears or hesitations the patient has about treatment. This makes it more likely the coordinator will close the sale.

No. 6: Offer financing

For many patients, money is the main concern keeping them from moving forward. They just can't afford to write one big check, so they opt to forego treatment. That's why it's so important to offer third-party financing. This takes the focus off of the cost and enables patients to make low, affordable monthly payments.

Case acceptance is the cornerstone of your practice and is crucial to your success. If you implement these changes, not only will your patients receive the care they need, you'll also see an increase in your production numbers and bottom line.

Sally McKenzie is CEO of McKenzie Management, which offers educational and management products, including one-day treatment acceptance training. Contact her directly at 877-777-6151 or sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.


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