When patients are considering treatment, it can be an investment of time and money that they hesitate to make. This is especially the case with high-value procedures that come with large out-of-pocket investments.
If you’ve struggled with case acceptance for high-value procedures, these five strategies can help.
1. Make the Patient Experience Personal Before It Becomes Procedural
It’s very important to do a “meet and greet” with a complex care patient when they come into your practice. After they sign in, the front desk team should let you know they’re there.
You—not the treatment coordinator, not the dental assistant—should then walk into the waiting room, introduce yourself to the patient, and welcome them to the practice. Then bring the patient into an area where you can talk privately about moving forward with treatment.
By doing a meet and greet, you’ve created a personal connection with the patient. If you start a relationship with a patient by doing diagnostics, X-Rays, and educating them about the treatment process, you’ll create a very cold relationship with them. You want to be warm and friendly and you want to connect with them personally. Complex care patients are investing a lot of money into their treatment. They need to trust you in order to move forward with you and the best way to get them to trust you is to develop a personal connection with them.
2. Understand Patients Before You Educate Them
Following the meet and greet, when you’re in the confidential talking area, get to understand the patient using “the four chiefs.” This concept was taught by Dr. Paul Homoly at our 2019 Delivering WOW Summit.
The first chief is the chief condition. That’s the condition that brought the patient into the dental practice. Discovering their chief condition is done by asking them a simple question: What can I do to help you?
The second chief to discover is the chief disability. The disability is how the condition interferes with the patient’s life. Does it embarrass them? Does it make it difficult to chew?
The third chief is the chief behavioral benefit. Patients get their teeth fixed because of the behavioral benefits the treatment brings to their lifestyle. You might be interested in the clinical benefits, but patients are interested in the behavioral benefits. If their disability is that they’re embarrassed about a gap in their teeth, then the behavioral benefit is that treatment will give them more confidence.
The fourth chief is the chief fit issue. Fit issues are the life circumstances patients go through that they have to fit your dentistry into. Money, for example, is a fit issue. They need to fit treatment into their budget. Time is another fit issue. They need to be able to fit treatment into their schedule.
Identifying these four chiefs will not only help you to understand your patient but it will also help them understand you and your motives.
It will become clear to them that you aren’t just trying to sell them something. Don’t educate them about their treatment until you understand them on a more personal level if you want them to move forward.
3. After the Exam, Discuss Conditions Patients Are Concerned About Before You Discuss Conditions They're Unconcerned About
Once you’ve performed your exam and charted everything out, do three things. First, bring awareness to the patient about their conditions. Second, tell the patient what the consequences of the condition are if they don’t get treatment. Third, determine whether they’re concerned about those consequences.
These three things help you discern what matters to them. That allows you to present treatment for the conditions they’re concerned about before you present treatment for conditions they aren’t concerned about. If you do that, they’ll be better listeners and more likely to move forward.
4. Understand Their Budget
When you go shopping for a home, the realtor will ask you for your price range before they ask anything else. Only then will they present potential homes to you.
You have to be the same way when presenting treatment to patients. Understand what’s suitable for your patients’ budget so you know what treatment they can afford and whether you need to educate them about financing options or other ways to fit treatment into their budget.
5. Don't Make Case Acceptance a Condition of a Good Continuing Relationship
No matter how important a treatment plan is, some patients just won’t or can’t move forward. That’s okay. Love them like you’d love any patient. Treat them well and continue to give them the best patient experience possible. If not, you risk losing them completely. If you do, they may find themselves in a better position to move forward and accept treatment later on.
Are you ready to perform more high-value procedures?
If you have trouble getting patients to accept treatment, use these five strategies to improve. And if you want more help, sign up for the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program where you can find more training and coaching on all aspects of running and growing a high-profit dental practice.