Successfully convincing your patients to accept a necessary treatment for their oral health is an important goal to have. You want the best for your patient… and your practice. Whether it’s a case of dental anxiety or a lack of dental insurance, the possible reasons for your patient denying treatment are endless. An important reason to consider, and always keep in the back of your mind, is you.
We’ve discussed how important you are to your practice. As a business owner and dental professional, you are the face and brains of your practice. Your staff rely on you for business management and guidance, and your patients rely on you for medical management and guidance. While that is a lot of responsibility, it’s also a lot of power to have and should be used to benefit both practice and patient.
43% of patients consider having dental insurance a very important factor in accepting a treatment. However, 43% would also proceed without having insurance. Despite the stigma of going to the dentist and the seemingly growing fear of being treated for oral issues, patients are aware that it’s important.
Treatment acceptance is important, but first you must ensure patients are educated enough to understand why – insurance or no insurance, fear or no fear – the treatment isn’t just a ploy for you to cash in a cheque, but essential in their oral and overall health. Here are some important things to keep in mind next time you’re discussing a treatment with a patient:
• Education: Help the patient understand why they need the treatment, what is entailed and what benefits will come of it. Keeping this experience positive and thoroughly laid out is a great way to ensure the patient is confident in your skills and the results.
• Offer resources: Nearly 2/3 of patients would be influenced to accept a treatment because of educational materials in the reception area. Encouraging the patient to do their own research, from reliable sources, offers them an opportunity to process the information about their treatment in their own way.
• Good chairside manners: Having good chairside manners is the most important factor to your practice’s success and your patient’s confidence. When it comes time to perform the treatment, ensure you pay attention to the patient. Are they chatty? Engage in conversation. Are they quiet? Ask if they’d like a magazine while waiting. Take the time to focus on the patient, as an individual, and see how they relax during the procedure.
• Follow-up: While patients may be nervous heading into their appointment, they are going to be just as nervous heading home where medical supervision is suddenly gone. Dentists recognize “good follow-up” as the second most important factor in running a successful practice, yet nearly 1/3 of patients don’t receive a follow-up following a treatment. Take the time to make a call or give the patient your number so they can rest easy that even after they leave your practice, you’re there to help.
It doesn’t matter how big or small the treatment you’re proposing is, what matters is the patient. Take the time to get to know them, find ways to encourage them to become educated about the treatment, and follow-up to ensure the patient knows they matter to you. They’ll not only accept the treatment, but accept you as an important, and positive part of their health care management.