As much as dentists want patients to receive routine care and treatment, they also hope patients follow treatment and preventive guidance in between their visits. That is the only way they can keep up with their overall health for the long haul.
The reality is that many dental professionals are experiencing the pushback of low dental case acceptance among their patients.
Despite a dental practice’s investment in education and outreach about dental health that set patients up with everything they need to succeed, reaching a high acceptance rate can be extremely challenging and draining.
An indicator of how much patients value their care and treatment is reflected in case acceptance data. This metric is one that you probably watch very closely, and for good reason. Not only is it an indicator of the state of your dental practice’s health — and of your patients’ — but it is also a roadmap on how to improve the patient experience.
Why do patients reject treatment?
Copious information found lack of information or health care illiteracy are big reasons why a lot of people will walk away from their treatment plan. Despite the availability of credible information, medical jargon and details about treatments can be perplexing. Patients might not feel comfortable. And in some cases, they’re steered away from learning what the treatment entails. In some cases, it may be as simple as not understanding why they need the treatment.
Unfortunately, misinformation about dental care is another wedge that keeps patients from seeking the advice and treatment they need.
The lack of relevant information foments patient anxiety. Patients can get lost in the web of medical information and hyperbole, clouding their judgment about what they should do next. Their anxiety grows as they begin to think about the associated discomfort of specific dental treatments as well.
Widen pathways for dental visits
Your office can turn around and improve acceptance rates through several tactics. With so many options and access to information about dental offices, it’s incumbent upon your staff to personalize the patient experience to stand out. From the moment they inquire via phone or email, patients will want to feel like they’re valued and respected.
Personalized dental plans allow your office to learn about individual patients and their health goals. When patients feel like they are part of the team and are valued as a voice on their road to good health, they will be more likely to be on board and follow through on treatment and advice.
From surveys of new and returning patients and personalized customer service, the dental office can capture information about patient goals and progress. You will see what works well and what doesn’t. Most of all, patients will feel like they have a voice and will be presented with a comprehensive roadmap that achieves the best possible dental outcome in the shortest amount of time.
Tell customers the benefits
Increasing dental case acceptance means that your patients understand the benefits of routine dental care and treatment. Sadly, patients do not always see the big picture of their overall health journey. To them, they’re on the right track if they keep up with brushing twice daily. Of course, this is just the minimum amount of activity.
With a trove of information about the benefits of treatment, oral hygiene, regular visits and other practices that are conducive to good dental health, educated patients will unlock new possibilities toward excellent health.
Through email, website content, social media and other outreach, you can present patients with all the information they need to make informed and reasonable decisions about their dental health. Telling them the realities if they do not follow the recommended course is also information they should know about. Loaded with this information, patients are also more likely to stick to their plan and keep up with treatment.
Make it easier to schedule appointments
Now more than ever, people have busy schedules. It can be difficult for patients to find a time slot that works to come in and see the dentist. Regular office hours like 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. might still not work well for a lot of people. Increasing access to your office on off hours and weekends will go a long way for people who can’t seem to find time during their week for a checkup.
Adding weekend hours and streamlining appointment requests online or by phone gives patients peace of mind that it’s easy to get an appointment, no matter their schedule.
Follow up more than once
A thank you email is welcome, but your patient will want additional follow-up from your office, especially after discussing a new course of treatment or procedure.
Give patients time to think and absorb the prognosis, solution and financial costs. When you follow up, you give the patient an opportunity to ask any questions that will guide their decision-making. Your attention and interest in their health will also build up goodwill, which is critical anytime you’re working toward increasing your office’s dental case acceptance.
We would be happy to discuss case acceptance further with you. Contact us today!