By: Virginia Moore, Moore Practice Success
We’ve probably all been in the position of being a patient and been kept waiting past our appointed time. Frustrating, isn’t it? We’ve all had that experience of having to pay for something necessary when we’d really like to spend our money on something “fun”. In both those situations, whether you are the provider of the service, or the recipient, you can work to make it as pleasant an experience as possible.
Staying on Schedule
- As a dental team, agree on appropriate amount of time to allocate to different procedures. This gives you the best approach to staying on time.
- Start your day on time. After the morning meeting, make sure patients are seated in the dental chair at their appointed time, not 5-10 minutes later.
- If you routinely have 3 or more emergency patients each day, consider blocking time in the schedule. If less than, in the morning huddle have the clinical team determine best time for emergencies to be seen.
- Honor your appointed time. Barring an emergency situation, keep your appointments. Your good oral health depends on it!
- If you need to make an appointment change, give at least 48 hours notice. This allows the practice to accommodate another patient who has treatment needs.
- Arriving early can give you the time to relax, check emails, and in many practices, have a refreshment. Relaxed is a great way to start your appointment!
- Always discuss the financial aspect of treatment before providing treatment. No one likes a surprise, especially a financial surprise!
- Consider partnering with a third-party finance company that can offer your patients a longer period of time to pay (and sometimes, for a very low/or no-interest rate).
- Whenever possible, discuss financial matters in the most private setting. None of us like having to share our financial concerns with more people than necessary.
- Be upfront. Let the financial person know what you can commit to when discussing finances. None of us want to commit to something we can’t fulfill. Ask about payment plans, savings for payment in full before treatment, or how treatment may be phased.
- Nothing’s for free! In over 25 years of consulting I’ve never seen a dentist’s fees that aren’t in keeping with their overhead. Most dental practices have significant overhead when you consider they are essentially a self-contained hospital; expenses of personnel, supplies, equipment, facility, lab, etc.
- If you are fortunate enough to have dental insurance, remember that it is not designed to cover all your dental needs. In fact, most annual dental benefit amounts are provided to maintain an already healthy situation. In other words, if you have dental needs that have been delayed, you will most likely have expense beyond your dental benefits. When you think about it, it will be some of the best money you ever invest. Your teeth and mouth work 24/7!
Working together is the key to the best outcome for all involved.
Here’s to the outcome of great dental health for all!
Ms. Moore has been bringing greater productivity and profitability to general dental and periodontal practices thru her consulting practice for the past 20 years. As a speaker, she has presented at the top dental meetings in the U.S. and has spoken at meetings in Canada, the Middle East and Asia. Ms. Moore is a contributor to ADA’s newest publication Expert Business Strategies, is a regular contributor to ADA’s Dental Practice Success, as well as authoring 2 books and co-authoring 8 books on practice management. Her passion is getting results that further the success of dental practices. Ms. Moore is a graduate of the ADA KEMP for dentists. She holds membership in the National Speaker’s Association and is a member and Past-President of Academy of Dental Management Consultants.