Increasing case acceptance can be a challenge for many dental practices. However, there are ways to optimize the process beyond simply presenting treatment plans to patients. To accomplish higher case acceptance rates at your practice, try instituting the following best practices.
5 Ways to Increase Dental Case Acceptance
1. Empower your hygienists
Empower your hygienists to not only be proactive, but the patient’s first point of contact for clinical needs. Hygienists can not dictate dental treatments, but they should be able to anticipate your treatment recommendations at least 95% of the time. Train your hygienists to start the treatment conversation with the patient.
2. Institute calibration exercises
In order to get on the same page with your staff regarding treatment planning, take part in an exercise every few months we call "calibration."
Every time you are notified for an exam, have the staff member give you a number, starting with indirect restorations. Ask them the following: If the patient was a family member, how many inlays, onlays, partial crowns, crowns, or veneers would you recommend?
While you complete your exam, come up with your number of recommendations. If the numbers don't line up (or even if they do), have a discussion about why. Even if you don't agree, the staff member will have a clearer picture of how you come up with a treatment plan, which helps them predict your recommendations moving forward.
3. Allow for questions from patients
We need to give patients the opportunity to ask questions, as they may not have felt confident asking your staff something or they may have thought of a question while you were busy reviewing their CT scan.
Asking if they have questions as a follow-up also indicates that you have educated staff who know and have already discussed the risks, benefits, and alternatives to recommended treatments.
4. Offer same-day treatments
Patients are busy! They’ve probably struggled to just make it to the office and telling them they need to come back is a much larger barrier to treatment than most of us realize. Offering to complete the procedure while they are still at the office not only makes it clear that you value their time, the process also speaks to the efficiency of your practice. This helps to build lasting relationships with patients.
5. Enhance intra-office communication
Simple and effective communication is vital for case acceptance. The hygienist needs to be able to tell you and the rest of the team everything discussed in treatment so the entire team knows what to expect.
With the proper intra-office communication platform in place, your team is set up to successfully check insurance coverage and, at the same time, schedule and prepare an available operatory for the recommended treatment. This can all take place while you address any concerns or questions the patient may have.