Everyone needs dental care, and there are plenty of dentists out there to choose from. How do you set your practice apart from the rest? These tips will help you make the decisions that will drive more traffic through your dental practice.
- Ensure that patients have a great experience from start to finish.
Make sure you have the right people on the front lines — your front office staff sets the tone for your practice, and can make all the difference for patient retention.
When a patient visits your practice for their first appointment, making them feel comfortable and cared for goes a long way. That can include everything from a warm welcome to making paperwork and financing a breeze.
Set your staff up for success by investing in tools and services that make for a positive patient experience. HFD, for example, allows your staff to file patient financing applications online, with faster approvals and a higher approval rate.
That means that you can quickly treat more patients — a win for everyone involved.
- Evolve your dental practice with technology.
According to IBISworld market research on U.S. dentistry, technological advancements (e.g. high-speed drills, better analgesics and anesthetics, new bonding and implant compounds) have fostered industry growth in the past five years.
Leveraging new technology helps dentists work more quickly and efficiently, allowing them to treat more patients each day. New tech can also bring new services to your practice that patients may want, like laser teeth whitening.
Technological advancements aren’t just about treatment options, either. They can also be leveraged in the front office to make the check-in process run smoothly.
Part of your check-in process might include financing applications, so it’s important to consider the technology factor when your practice decides which financing partners to work with. Being able to use tablets, mobile devices, and online applications is a huge plus, because unlike paper-based solutions, these digital options streamline the process for both office staff and patients.
With HFD, the financing process is faster and more convenient. Office staff simply collect patient information and submit an application via the HFD Provider Portal. Then, patients can sign their payment agreements with an e-signature on a computer, tablet, or smartphone, so there’s no need to fax paperwork. It’s an application process for the 21st century, with faster approvals so you can treat patients as soon as possible.
- Offer different financing options to your patients.
Many potential patients don’t have dental insurance. Out-of-pocket procedures account for over 38% of dental revenue, making them the second-largest revenue source in the industry.
Even patients who do have insurance or other benefits often end up paying for a considerable portion of their dental expenditures out-of-pocket due to deductibles, copays, and noncovered products/procedures. They may be turned away or opt out of getting the dental care they need because of large upfront costs. This is where alternative dental financing options come into play.
These days, consumers are accustomed to having options for financing expensive items, but not all financing options are created equal. By providing different options, you allow consumers to pick a plan they are comfortable with.
For example, financially savvy patients might not go for a traditional loan with high interest rates, so providing alternative payment methods helps them feel like they are making the choice that’s best for their personal finances.
Lay out the various payment options for the patient when discussing their recommended treatment. Instead of simply giving patients a total cost for a procedure, let them know that they can pay “via cash, credit, or financing options, with rates starting as low as…” That way, they’re aware of their options and will be less likely to refuse treatment due to cost.
- Investigate approval rates and treat more patients.
Since patients will likely have to pay out of pocket for certain procedures (whether it’s due to lack of coverage for that particular procedure, a high-deductible plan, or a lack of insurance altogether), make sure that you investigate the approval rates of any financial institutions you consider working with.
Don’t be afraid to ask lenders for reports on their approval rates — you want to make sure you work with lenders that will approve as many patients as possible. This means more revenue collected for your practice, and more patients receiving the treatment they need.
Many financing options for dental costs are credit-based, so it’s difficult for patients with low credit scores to get approved. Offering a flexible financing option through HFD can help you treat those patients that are denied by traditional lenders, instead of watching them walk out the door.
Learn more about payment options for dental work in our new ebook.