Case Acceptance Strategies: Encouraging Understanding and Individualization

June 25, 2018 Mark Murphy DDS

Consistent case acceptance is a skill it can take years to develop. Part of the reason it can seem so challenging is that a patient’s true motivations may not be clear from the outset. We have to hone that sixth sense that can tell us what information or guidance would truly speak to a patient.

Two aspects of case acceptance in particular often go ignored because they either seem too obvious or are just not as fun to dive into: offering individualized options and making sure patients understand insurance.

Individualized Options for Case Acceptance

You may think the concept of individualized options is a no brainer, but that isn’t necessarily the case from a patient’s perspective. If you’re willing to provide this extra level of specificity, you can put many ‘maybe’ patients right into the ‘yes’ category.

We accept that car and other big purchases are often paid in installments, so why not do the same with a large investment like dentistry? Offering financing or other piecemeal payment options to patients is a game changer. It also makes comprehensive dental care accessible to a broader demographic. That in and of itself is valuable.

When dealing with patients, break the payment options down into easily understandable terms. Tell them the total fee, but decrease the stress by making it clear that there are different ways they can arrange to pay, including pre-pay, pay as you go, and Care Credit. Using a term like Care Credit is helpful because everyone is familiar with the idea of credit. When they ask for more information, you can lay out the details of payment plans.

Understanding Insurance for Case Acceptance

The real role of insurance is a mystery to most patients. Some may deliberately avoid understanding it because of how convoluted and frustrating it can be. They may have an entitlement mindset complete with the belief that the only healthcare they can indulge in is the kind covered by insurance.

Before you ever even look in a patient’s mouth, my advice is to have the insurance talk in low-stress language. Explain the actual definition of insurance and describe how dental insurance functions more as a maintenance plan. Use analogies to clarify the fact that just like with car insurance, its more of a backup fund than a way to pay for necessary yearly interventions such as a new tire or oil changes.

 

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About Author

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Mark Murphy DDS

Mark is the Lead Faculty for Clinical Education at ProSomnus Sleep Technologies, Principal of Funktional Consulting, serves on the Guest Faculty at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry and is a Regular Presenter on Business Development, Practice Management and Leadership at The Pankey Institute. He has served on the Boards of Directors of The Pankey Institute, National Association of Dental Laboratories, the Identalloy Council, the Foundation for Dental Laboratory Technology, St. Vincent DePaul's Dental Center and the Dental Advisor. He lectures internationally on Leadership, Practice Management, Communication, Case Acceptance, Planning, Occlusion, Sleep and TMD. He has a knack for presenting pertinent information in an entertaining manner. mtmurphydds@gmail.com

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