Low dental case acceptance is a problem that is faced by almost all practices and clinics. Getting patients to follow the healthcare treatment plan is always a challenge and a task that requires a lot of patience and communication. A high case acceptance rate is crucial for a successful practice.
Case acceptances are a strong indicator of how successful a practice is and the value of your treatments and treatment plans. It is an important metric that you should know. It will help you in improving your processes of onboarding patients and bring awareness to things that need to be changed.
Reasons a Patient Can Reject Treatment
1. Lack of information:
Healthcare literacy levels can be varied in your patients. Not everyone understands medical terms or knows treatment plans. They might not always understand the need for treatment and what the treatment includes. The proverb “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” holds true for the healthcare of a patient. Misinformation is a factor that severely affects the healthcare of individuals. The lack of information or inaccurate information can cause a patient to make poor decisions.
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There is a lot of anxiety surrounding healthcare treatment, partially because of the lack of information. With the addition of technology into the mix, it’s difficult to explain the process to a patient who has had no medical education before. Understandably, patients might be frightened of things that they do not understand. The pain associated with dental care is another factor that can increase anxiety tenfold.
A few other reasons are:
- Limited financing options
- Generalized plans that do not cater to the patient
- Scheduling problems
How to Improve Acceptance Rates
Get to know your patients and their dental goals. This process has several advantages that will increase the chances of case adoption. Your patient will feel valued and heard. Including your patients in the planning process will increase the chances of them following through with the plan. Patient inclusion in healthcare planning will increase customer satisfaction since you treat the patient as a valued part of the team.
You can conduct surveys when onboarding a new patient, and at regular intervals (once every year or two) for old patients, to factor in your patient’s changing dental goals. Through these surveys, you can identify the overall goals of a patient or note any specific issues they might have. This way, you can detail a plan that is tailored for your patients, as opposed to having a general plan for all patients. Personalized plans will help your patient achieve the best dental outcome the soonest.
2. Financing options:
Not all your patients will afford the treatments. If the reason that your case acceptance rate is low is due to cost, then you need to look into providing a few financing options for your patients. You can include monthly installments plans, dental insurances, and EMIs as financing options for patients that are hard-pressed for money.
3. Benefits of the treatment:
Not everyone sees dental health as an important part of their lives. For most people, their dental hygiene plan ends with brushing twice a day. As a practitioner, educate your patients on the benefits that the treatment will have for their oral hygiene. Whether it be regular cleaning or a root canal, it will incline your patient to follow the treatment plan if they know the benefits of the plan.
You might also want to detail the consequences if the treatment plan is ignored so that the patient has a complete understanding of the situation and the treatment plan. This is a great way to reiterate that you are focused on the wellbeing of the patient, not only on the money that you will cash in. It is also a good trust-building exercise since the patient knows that you are looking out for them.
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4. Scheduling problems:
It is difficult to take time out of a workday, which leads to scheduling problems for the patient and the clinic. Most offices run from 9 am to 6 pm, and employees only have time before or after their workdays or on the weekends. This is a big demographic you might miss out on if you are running your clinic at the same hours. If possible, look into having office hours during the weekends or providing a few sessions in the evening after corporate office hours end.
5. Address anxiety:
Many people experience anxiety when going in for medical treatments, mostly due to anticipated pain or lack of information. Addressing anxiety by answering questions is a great way to tackle this issue. Another method is to include visuals when explaining medical processes so that they understand every aspect of the treatment and can get comfortable with the idea. Communication can be a big factor in alleviating anxiety and getting patients comfortable in the treatment chair. Employing distractions such as music or TV can also help.
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6. Follow up:
As soon as you propose a plan, patients will want a bit of time to think it over and discuss it with their spouses/parents/siblings. They will need to decide if they need the treatment, if they can afford it, or if your clinic is the place to do it. The moment the patient walks out the door, it becomes crucial to get in touch with them and follow up. You can call them up after a few days to check-in. This would also be a great opportunity to answer a few questions that they might have.
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