4 Easy Steps to More Treatment Acceptance

In the majority of today's dental practices, fabulous opportunities lie within the walls of those practices. Most dental practices can double the amount of dentistry presently being provided by nurturing that which they already have: their existing patient family.

The most crucial marketing strategy—the one at which practice growth and stability begin and end—is to nurture patients with education and case acceptance presentations they can understand, and that explain their exact, individual needs.

In our last edition, we showed that you can build relationships that start in your reception area before patients see you. Now, continue the education focus when patients reach your operatories, with professional, easy-to-use presentation tools that use the patient’s own images to establish the need and instill the desire for treatment.

Quick recap: there are four easy steps to the case acceptance process.

  1. Build Relationships
  2. Personalize the Presentation
  3. Ask for the Commitment
  4. Make Financial Arrangements and Schedule Treatment

In this edition of the Dentrix eNewsletter, we’ll cover ways to draw on the educational foundation you establish in the reception area (with tools like GuruTV 2010) – and continue that focus in your operatories. Watch for future editions to see how critical steps like “asking for the commitment” can happen naturally with personalized follow-up!

Let’s get started.

Treatment Acceptance: The Goals

Developing an effective flow for your treatment presentations ensures success with the following treatment goals:

  1. The patient outlines the goals they want to accomplish.
  2. Patients are educated about the need for and the benefits of the dental treatments that you are recommending—and trust you to provide the best care.
  3. Patients become motivated to accept those particular recommendations and choose treatment with your office

The case acceptance protocol is not just one person's responsibility, and it doesn’t help your practice if your team thinks that it is the responsibility of the doctor only. Everyone is critical. Cultivating this attitude in your practice means the second step of personalized case presentations will come naturally to your staff.

Step One: Build the Relationship. (See Best Practices for Appointment Reminders for a refresh!)

Step Two: Personalize the Presentation.

You can empower your team to start education the moment patients sit in the chair, with dental education tools that show patients what you want them to feel: you and your team know their exact needs. If a patient needs a filling, you can use tools like Dentrix Presenter with Guru Libraries to show the patient’s own intra-oral images (from Dentrix) on the same screen as a high-quality Guru animation of the tooth decay progression—a great way to create a sense of urgency. Even better, with these tools, your team can increase treatment acceptance on their own by showing videos and animations of good hygiene practices for everything from brushing and braces to specialty work like crowns. Once patients understand that your staff—and you—make a custom treatment presentation as part of every exam, they’ll see that you know their needs better than anyone else. You’ve created a relationship of respect and trust that keeps patients coming back.

For Example, Mrs. Smith presents at her 6-month cleaning with mild gingivitis around a recent bridge: “Mrs. Smith, your cleaning is almost done. Dr. Jones is just about ready to finish up your exam. Let’s look at your x-rays on the screen one more time to see how to floss around that bridge. See how the video shows decay increasing over time? I’ll go ahead and email you this video so that you can watch it any time. Feel free to show Mr. Smith what we talked about! Now, Dr. Jones is ready to finish up your exam. He’ll show you some great ways you can take care of the teeth around your bridge."

It happens often: Mrs. Smith may not be ready to move forward with the full bar implant she needs. It becomes a follow-up challenge to remind her of her needed treatment, her next appointment, and to discuss her options with her family. All this could be complicated or seem pushy on a traditional phone call – but why not simply email her the animation of a shows full bar implant with her next appointment reminder? With email and web-ready education tools, your team has everything they need to follow up the way patients like—however patients choose!

When you start education with your employees, professional case presentations become a team effort throughout the visit, perfectly preparing the patient to understand and accept more treatment. With flexible, simple tools that incorporate the patients’ own images to bring (or send!) the message home, you create valuable team members and a focus on dental education that patients will take home to share with family members.

With email-ready, high-quality videos and animations, solutions like Guru ensure that you’re never out of touch with your patients. Personalized case presentations require the focus and effort of the entire team: everyone is critical. But when your practice achieves professionalism and comfort with “total team treatment”, your patients will feel the difference, and visit your practice to choose more treatment for their own health.

Click here to learn more about great ways to connect to patients in your operatories and personalize case presentations! For more from the dental practice management and marketing coaches at Jameson, visit www.jamesonmanagement.com.

Watch for future issues of Dentrix eNews to see how critical steps like “asking for the commitment” can happen naturally with personalized online case presentations and simple follow-up!

Author: Cathy Jameson, CEO Jameson Mgmt. Inc.
Published: 05/18/2010
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