How to Improve Case Acceptance for High-Value Procedures

How to Improve Case Acceptance for High-Value Procedures

 

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

 

How to Improve Case Acceptance for High-Value Procedures

 

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

 

How to Improve Case Acceptance for High-Value Procedures

 

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

 

How to Improve Case Acceptance for High-Value Procedures

 

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.

3 Ways to Build Deeper Relationships with Patients and Team Members

3 Ways to Build Deeper Relationships with Patients and Team Members

In dental school, we learn a lot about clinical work and practice care. These are important topics, of course. They are necessary skills for performing the life-changing treatments we perform on patients every day. The treatment we can perform on a moment’s notice changes lives. It can get people smiling again after years of hiding their smiles. It can help them advance in their careers. And it can even help them make better romantic connections. 

But we can’t do any of that without top-quality team members to support us and patients who trust us to have their best interests at heart. Building deep relationships with team members and patients is one of the most important parts of running a successful practice and not a topic we learn in dental school. 

Our team members need to perform top-quality dental care and care deeply about the practice and patients. They also need to trust us to give them the tools, training, and support to set them up for success. And our patients need to know we are genuine, compassionate human beings who are not just trying to sell dental services to them. 

In the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program, mindset coach Dr. Shakila Angadi shared the following three strategies for building the deep relationships with patients and team members we need to develop as dentists to succeed.

Actively Listen

 

3 Ways to Build Deeper Relationships with Patients and Team Members

 

When a team member approaches you upset about something or with an idea for improving the practice, do you stop what you’re doing? Do you look them in the eye and make them feel heard? Do you give them the attention they desire?

Dr. Angadi says practice leaders must give team members eye contact and be mindful of their body language. Make sure it’s clear that you are listening to them and giving them your undivided attention. If you are in the middle of something you can’t break away from, that’s okay. In those cases, pause what you are doing for a moment, look them in the eyes, and let them know you want to give them the proper attention but cannot at that moment. Schedule a time during which you can give them your full attention.

The same is true with patient concerns. Even if you are used to splitting your attention between multiple projects, don’t do it when a patient or team member is talking with you. Put down your phone or turn away from the computer screen. Otherwise, the person will think you don’t value them. Even if you agree with what they propose, the person will walk away feeling unimportant. 

Mirror Emotions

 

3 Ways to Build Deeper Relationships with Patients and Team Members

 

Whether you are talking to a patient or a team member, Dr. Angadi says it’s important to mirror their emotions. If they are coming to you with a problem, talk with them in a way that shows them you understand and sympathize with them. Connect with them as humans. Express emotions similar to the ones they express with you. 

If a practice or patient is upset, whatever they are upset about is causing a problem in your practice. Be upset, too. Of course, you don’t need to have the same level of emotional reaction as them. But, be sure to express empathy and concern when your patients or team members are concerns. If they are happy about something, celebrate with them. 

If a patient says that they’re afraid about getting a root canal, let them know you understand their concern. Step in their shoes, see why they might be afraid, and let them know it’s completely normal to feel that fear and that you understand. 

We need to make sure that we acknowledge what patients and team members say and mirror the emotion they are coming to us with. Once we repeat the emotion, the person coming to you with that emotion will feel immediately connected with and supported by you. That builds trust.

Offer Solutions

 

3 Ways to Build Deeper Relationships with Patients and Team Members

 

Being heard is important. But we also need to offer solutions to patients and team members that help solve real problems. For example, a dental assistant might come to you and say they feel stressed because they never get a moment to breathe between patients and are constantly rushing around the practice. 

Whatever the issue, once you’ve listened and understood the concern, offer a real solution. And make sure that the solution focuses on the problem and not the person. It’s easy to say, “you just need to roll up your sleeves, it’ll all be over by 5pm and then you get to go home and rest” but that won’t build a deep relationship with them. That’ll put them down and make you seem unsympathetic. 

Offer a solution that focuses on the problem instead. In a short-term busy period, the solution might be to adjust their schedule to help them get extra downtime after the rush. If it’s a long-term issue, perhaps creative patient scheduling will help them get a break. Or, maybe your practice has become busy enough that you need to hire an additional team member. That can happen when you start implementing the dental practice growth strategies our WOW Platinum Coaching experts provide.

Are you ready to build deeper relationships with patients and team members?

Actively listening, mirroring emotions, and offering solutions are three ways to build deeper relationships with patients and team members. For more help, join the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program today, where you’ll get training directly from Dr. Angadi and our other experts on all aspects of starting, operating, and growing a dental practice.