Do you have trouble getting patients to accept the treatments diagnosed on their visits? Many times, a patient is apprehensive about scheduling the treatment before leaving the office. This causes more work in the office because now you must track people down to get them scheduled.
DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY.
We live in a world where information is being fed to us constantly; often, we do not know what to believe. People are confused by so much information that contradicts itself. Your patients are feeling this as well. You must be their ultimate source of knowledge when it comes to their oral health. Gain their trust, and then educate them about what is happening in their mouths, what needs to happen to fix problems, and what could happen if they don’t treat their issues.
DON’T LET THEM LEAVE WITHOUT APPOINTMENTS.
It is okay for patients to say they are going to think about the recommended treatments, but my advice is to get them scheduled if at all possible.
Once you let a patient walk out the door without an appointment, it is going to be ten times harder to get that treatment scheduled. If the patient is unsure what to do, schedule the appointment 2-3 weeks out. This will provide time to determine whether to proceed with the treatment. If the patient decides not to do it, there is always time to make that scheduling change. Let patients know it is good to schedule those appointments when they are in the office so they can get the dates and times that work best for them. Unless patients are in pain, they are probably not going to call you, and then you are going to have to track them down.
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ORGANIZED AND UNDERSTANDABLE TREATMENT PLANS FOR PATIENTS TO TAKE HOME.
We often see treatment plans with a bunch of scribbles or ones that have too much information for patients to understand. Most practice management software will allow you to customize what you include with the treatment plan. The cleaner the printout, the better. If a patient does not have insurance, don’t clutter the treatment plan with insurance options. The patient needs to take home something that is readable, understandable, and includes the cost.
If you see a patient is fearful, take the time to educate about the treatment and what it will entail.
- If the concern is time, see what you can do to get as much done as possible in an appointment so the patient does not have to return on numerous occasions.
- If money is the deciding factor, the admin team will need to work with the patient to determine what options would work best. It could be prepaying for treatment, credit card, Care Credit, or other options you have in your financial policy. Take the time to explain options to your patient to remove the payment barrier.
Getting your patients to schedule their treatments before they leave your office must be a top priority. Otherwise, you will be spinning your wheels, trying to get them back in the office to get treatments completed.
Janice Janssen is a professional speaker, published author, and co-founder of Global Team Solutions, a practice management consulting firm. She is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), a member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants (ADMC), and is certified with Bent Ericksen & Associates as an employment law consultant.