Achieving and maintaining a high dental case acceptance rate is an ongoing challenge for many dental practices. The risk of rejection after investing in a patient to build the best possible dental treatment plan is real and can cost dentists time, effort, and money. Fortunately, there are several ways to increase your case acceptance rates. On the technical side, dentistry is made convenient and informative through teledentistry, paired with intraoral cameras, and more. On the less tangible side, involving patients in decision-making, and building trust throughout your practice and team are important. Let’s review why understanding, tracking, and ultimately improving your practice’s dental case acceptance rate is essential.
Why Tracking Your Dental Case Acceptance Rate is Important
Perhaps you develop the perfect dental treatment plans for your patients. How many of them accept it and continue their dental care? According to the Levin Group’s Annual Practice Survey, the most common target for dental case acceptance is 90%. Unfortunately, the actual number for case acceptance in the modern dental practice is approximately 34%, according to Melissa Marquez of Jarvis Analytics.
If a dental practice does not track its case acceptance rates, it will not have a clear understanding of the potential revenue lost when treatment is not scheduled. If your practice, for example, falls somewhere in that approximate average, that gives it 66% room for improvement, which could triple revenue. Tracking case acceptance helps dental practices identify the reasons that patients reject dental treatment plans and bring areas of improvement to light.
Addressing Investment Barriers
As with any large investment, patients have a lot to consider when presented with a dental treatment plan. Creating rapport with patients, taking the time to deliver a treatment plan, and understanding their needs can positively impact case acceptance. However, it is important to recognize that the monetary investment in continued treatment is a significant reason many patients reject proposed dental treatment plans. In fact, 50.2% of adults between 18 and 64 do not have dental coverage, according to a CDC survey. Additionally, because Medicare does not cover dental care, there are an estimated 37 million people over age 65 that are without dental insurance.
Even when patients have dental insurance, they can still hesitate to accept the plan for their dental care due to concerns over cost. While simple procedures such as cleanings are generally covered by most insurance plans, more extensive treatments can still be cost-prohibitive, with some patients having to pay out of pocket as much as 50% of the cost.
What You Can Do
When possible, help patients with investment concerns identify ways to afford proper dental care. Some may still harbor feelings of fear when it comes to extensive dental treatment, but for those able to move forward monetarily, it is very important to educate them on expectations, how the procedure will be performed, and what they will experience during recovery to help set those remaining fears aside. Tools such as intraoral cameras can help with education, while teledentistry may make follow-up visits more convenient.
The important thing is to make your patients comfortable, both physically and as it relates to the investment they will be making in their dental health. They are then likely to become more open-minded to the carefully considered treatment and care recommended.
Strategies to Increase Dental Case Acceptance Rate
While there are seemingly considerable hurdles to greatly improving your dental case acceptance rate, they are far from insurmountable. Building trust through education is one way to demonstrate to patients that your recommendations are in their best interest. Since improved case acceptance is the gateway to improved revenue for your practice, here are other strategies to help improve your practice’s dental case acceptance rates.
Connect with Patients Throughout the Process
The first step is understanding your patients’ goals and needs in relation to their dental health. You can involve your entire team in the process of understanding the patients’ needs and building trust across the dental care journey. Do not limit your conversation to just dentistry; talk to them about their lives and try to build a true connection.
You will find success when your patients see that you care about their wants and needs as individuals, making them more likely to accept a new dental treatment plan, which is good for both them and your practice as a whole.
Build on Established Trust Through Inclusive Conversations
Going to the dentist can still be a scary experience for anyone, no matter how old they are. The more clinical and uncomfortable the environment, the more a patient may hesitate to come in or return. Through the connection you have made with your patient, you can begin to humanize the experience by demonstrating your knowledge, explaining the long-term effects any dental condition may have, and recommending the best ways to afford any needed treatments.
It is important that your patients understand that you empathize with their situation, whether a potentially painful treatment or financial hardship. Educating them on next steps, whether that’s a return visit, a teledentistry check-up from home, or the availability of a dental savings plan, can alleviate anxiety over treatment.
Improve Your Presentation Through Digital Treatment Planning
Digital treatment planning is a critical component in helping patients understand your recommendations and solidifying their acceptance. MouthWatch works to provide your practice with the right tools, such as our ExamTab software, teledentistry solutions via TeleDent, and affordable intraoral cameras.
ExamTab works with both Windows 10 and Android devices to let you present your patient’s case in a clear, convenient, and portable way. Our intraoral cameras can help your patients see what you see, in real time and in vivid color. TeleDent, our teledentistry solution, can make follow-up appointments simple and easy. Combining these tools with your dental expertise can help you present your digital treatment plan in the best possible way.
Improving Case Acceptance Rate Improves Revenue
Case acceptance is a multi-factor opportunity for dentists and their practices. Reaching 90% case acceptance means more appointments booked and more revenue earned, so remember to balance both the technical and less tangible for the best experience for your patients. Listen and help your patients learn to build trust. Provide the data and visuals to make a concrete case for treatment in a way that is easy to understand.
Connection is the key, both personal and digital. Combining your personal touch with powerful tools will set you and your dental practice up for greater success. Ready to equip your practice for success? MouthWatch can help. Discover how teledentistry can positively impact your patients and your practice – connect with a teledentistry specialist today.
Digital dentistry is important for patients, the growth of practices, and success of dental programs and enterprises. Explore the benefits of teledentistry.DOWNLOAD THE MOUTHWATCH 2021 DENTAL TRENDS REPORT