When I started practicing dentistry over a decade ago, I couldn’t have imagined how much the industry could change in such a relatively short amount of time. For those of our readers who have been in the business longer, I am sure you can relate, and for newer dentists it is exciting to think of where the industry is headed.
I came across an article from the American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM) discussing the changing face of the dental industry today. It’s an interesting perspective and certainly worth a read.
Dental school teaches us how to be a dentist, but falls short of adequately preparing us for the business side of dentistry. Dental practice management entails much more than just providing good patient care; it requires a full spectrum of components that all need to be working efficiently for the overall success of the practice.
It’s important to stay on top of new innovations in the industry, and to keep an open mind when considering how to best meet the needs of patients. Providing solutions like Quality Dental Plan, which helps patients afford the treatment they need in a way that incentivizes them to keep coming back is a good example of how the industry is adapting. When I first developed QDP over 10 years ago, I was the only one in the dental savings plan business. Fast forward to 2015 and now there is a dental savings plan industry — at least in part because we proved the value to both dentists and patients.
Dentistry has certainly come a long way in the past ten years. By continually educating ourselves on the new tools and advancements available to us, we as dentists will be able to carry on providing the valuable services to our communities that our patients so greatly deserve.
For information on how QDP can help your practice unlock patient spending, give us a call or fill out the form at the right and let us know how we can help.
Let’s say you have a patient come in who is in need of extensive restorative care. You discuss with them the reasons for the treatment and lay out a clear plan of action. Then comes the inevitable question from the patient: How much is this going to cost?
Overcoming the cost factor to increase treatment acceptance is a skill that we dentists have to master, for both the health of our patients and the longevity of our practices, but that doesn’t make it easy.
If you are like many dentists who struggle with turning a patient’s no into a yes, check out this blog from the experts at DentalMarketing101.com. In it, the author speaks to the importance of customer service and communication, and how when a patient feels like they are truly being taken care of, cost becomes less of an importance.
Patients are willing to pay for what they want, and what they want is quality dental care. By tweaking your current internal processes, treatment acceptance rates will increase and those uncomfortable financial conversations with patients will no longer hinder your care.
Open lines of communication with your dental practice staff are important for a number of reasons (practice growth, goal achievement, long-term stability to name a few). However, communicating with staff doesn’t always come easy, especially when they come to you to discuss compensation.
A recent article in Dental Products Report addresses the top employee compensation mistakes dentists often make. Are you possibly committing some of the following bad habits referenced in the article?
- Offering wage increases based on reasons other than merit
- Failing to define what “success” means in terms of each employee’s performance
- Giving everyone on the team the same wage and/or bonus
- Increasing wages without evidence of practice growth
- Lacking opportunities for open communication
The DPR article is definitely worth a read, especially for those who dread employee compensation conversations. Instead of avoiding these conversations, take a proactive approach and get the team on board for a fresh and successful start to the New Year.
How an in-house dental savings plan provides dentists with a way to attract more patients and to keep them coming back for care
Consider this real-life scenario detailed on the popular Dental Warrior blog. A patient comes into the practice of author Dr. Mike Barr in need of significant work. She had been to the practice years before, but not kept regular appointments. She was nervous so she brought her husband along. After learning she would need extensive restoration work, the conversation turned to costs.
Dr. Barr recently implemented Quality Dental Plan (QDP) in his practice. When he sat down with the patient and her husband, Dr. Barr explained that his new in-house dental savings plan could help them afford the care she needed. It turns out not only had the couple already signed up for QDP with the financial coordinator, but even more interesting, the husband sells dental insurance!
Even an insurance salesman sees the benefits of a dental savings plan like QDP over traditional dental benefits! There’s no insurance company to contend with, and the savings and benefits are greater.
What is Quality Dental Plan?
- It’s the industry leader in providing in-house dental savings plans to hundreds of dentists across the country.
- QDP helps dentists attract more new patients and grow their fee-for-service patient base.
- For a cost often less than insurance, patients pay upfront for a year’s worth of preventive care with additional access to discounts on comprehensive and cosmetic procedures.
- QDP remove issues of cost and affordability from the financial discussion.
In the blog, Dr. Barr is convinced that this previously unpredictable patient will now complete her course of care since she committed to the QDP program. In fact, case acceptance rates can rise over 25% with an in-house dental savings plan, as patients are more likely to proceed with treatment.
Do you want to attract more fee-for-service patients? Are you looking for a way to overcome patients’ affordability concerns and increase treatment acceptance? Fill out the form on the right to discover how an in-house dental savings plan can be the answer you – and your patients – have been looking for.
A first-hand look at the impacts an in-house dental savings plan made in one practice
Dr. M runs a general practice in rural Oklahoma. While the practice is profitable, Dr. M was looking for something more. He was searching for a way to attract more fee-for-service patients while improving case acceptance rates among his current patient base.
Dr. M discovered Quality Dental Plan. He thought perhaps this in-house dental savings plan could be the solution he was looking for, so he signed up with QDP in October 2012.
He set his membership fee at $300, giving patients the chance to pay upfront for a year’s worth of preventive care. His patients were now able to afford the dental care they needed, and not have to worry about issues with deductibles, maximums or copays.
By October 2013, Dr. M had enrolled 300 members in QDP at his practice. While the savings plan was truly a value-add for his patients, he saw his practice thriving at the same time.
- Dr. M created a predictable annual revenue stream of $90,000 in the first year.
- Recall intervals tightened and case acceptance rates increased because patients had prepaid for treatment.
- There were no longer concerns about collections or dealing with insurance company hassles since patients no longer needed to rely on insurance. Dr. M was even able to give his staff bonuses based on collections!
- Finally there was a compelling way of reaching more new patients and growing the fee-for-service patient base.
By October 2014, two years into his QDP membership, Dr. M reports enrolling another 300 patients in his plan. With 600 patients now taking part, Dr. M has over 50% of his patient base prepaid for treatment – every year!
What is next on Dr. M’s QDP to-do list? Take advantage of QDP’s professionally designed marketing templates to help spread the word throughout the community and surrounding towns to reach even more patients in order to provide them with the care they need at a price they can afford.
- Dentists don’t have to be located in a sprawling urban area or spend a ton of money to achieve practice success.
- Insurance is not always the answer.
- Increasing production, treatment acceptance, collections and new patient flow can be accomplished with the right solution.
Want to learn how to make dental practice success a reality in your dental practice? Fill out the form on the right to discover how to create your own similar success story for your dental practice.
Happy New Year to our QDP Blog readers! Here’s to a healthy and prosperous 2015!
In case you missed it over the holidays, Dental Products Report published a helpful article talking about 5 things dentists need to know regarding their dental fees. It’s a terrific reminder as we begin a new year, making plans and setting goals.
It’s crucial to take a hard look at your fee schedule once a year to make sure it’s up to date and appropriate for your area. Without incremental fee increases, you may not be able to stay competitive or continue to update your practice with the latest technology. Operating a successful practice depends on setting appropriate dental fees in a way that boosts your bottom line, rather than destroying it.
Have you re-evaluated your dental fees? What changes have you made regarding your fee schedule for 2015?
As we reach the end of yet another year, it’s a good time to pause and reflect on the past twelve months. What successes have we celebrated? What shortcomings can we learn from?
Just as we set resolutions for ourselves in our personal lives, we need to also set goals for ourselves professionally. Is this the year you will bring on a new associate, or break ground on new office space? Goals don’t have to be lofty, and in fact, setting smaller, incremental goals that will help achieve a significant objective can be much more effective. As the saying goes, “A goal without a plan is simply a dream”.
In the end, what matters is that we keep moving forward and progressing ourselves as healthcare providers, focusing on dental practice growth so that we can continue to offer quality care to the people in our local communities.
From the team here at Quality Dental Plan, we thank you for your business and continued support this year and look forward to further success in 2015. Cheers!
The end of the year is an opportune time to examine the business side of your dental practice, and evaluating your fees needs to be a priority.
Everywhere we turn, costs are on the rise. The goods and services that allow us to provide dentistry are getting more expensive with each passing year. Lab fees are going up. The cost of equipment and supplies is going up. Rent and utility bills continue to increase.
Employee benefits are getting more and more expensive. You may not be staying up-to-date with your fees, but I can guarantee you the vendors you rely on to help you run your practice are staying up to date with theirs.
Raising fees is a delicate process. There’s always the fear that if you raise your fees, your patients are going to go elsewhere. And it’s a valid fear. It’s a balancing act, and it’s easiest if you stay on top of your fee schedule.
If your fees are far lower than they should be and you raise them dramatically, you can bet that your patients are going to notice and complain. But if you raise your fees slowly over time and in keeping with local trends, it’s unlikely that anyone will even notice and, if they do, they’ll just chalk it up to inflation rather than blaming you for the fee increase.
In order to maintain a healthy business in 2015, it’s imperative that you adjust your fees to compensate for your rising operating costs. We are in this profession to help people and to provide a valuable service to our communities. However, if we don’t take care of the business side of our practices, we won’t be able to provide our services to our patients and communities at the level that they deserve.
Small businesses are finding it hard to continue providing quality healthcare benefits to their employers under the new healthcare laws. The New York Times recently published an article highlighting the obstacle business owners face today: providing adequate benefits to their valued employees that are still affordable to the company.
Dental benefits aren’t even included in the necessary services under the ACA, and dentists are more than well aware that many times dental coverage is among the first to go when finances are strained.
This presents a unique opportunity for dentists. What if you could provide local small business owners with a way to provide genuine, quality dental benefits to their employees at a cost often less than the insurance companies?
Offering an in-house dental savings plan, such as QDP, helps dentists provide small business owners with a way to provide dental coverage to their employees.
- The employers will feel satisfied knowing they haven’t had to sacrifice employee dental benefits.
- Employees themselves will have their preventive treatment covered for the entire year, and be incentivized to come in for services since the costs are included in an annual membership plan.
- And dentists will know that they have finally found a way to reach more of the patients in their community, feeling good that they are able to provide the care their patients need at a cost they can also afford.
Click here to learn more about how QDP can help your practice with local business outreach.
With reimbursement rates falling across the board, dealing with insurance companies has become more trouble than they are worth. Going in network isn’t the only way to fill the schedule.
In fact there are better options for increasing new patient flow and stimulating practice growth without having to increase reliance on managed care. Here are 5 reasons to reduce the insurance companies’ influence on your practice:
1 – Collections Issues
Talk about a nightmare. Most practice management consultants recommend a 95-98% collections rate. Hard enough to achieve on its own, but becoming a provide for insurance plans just makes attaining this goal nearly impossible.
2 – Loss of Control of Your Fee Structure
Having to reduce your UCRs to the insurance companies’ liking defeats the purpose of being in private practice if you can’t even set your prices.
3 – Decrease in Patient Perception of “Quality”
One of things patients hate most about going to their medical doctor is the wait. Patients with appointments often find themselves waiting up to an hour while the MD has to see 10 patients per hour just to afford his or her overhead.
Why would a dentist ever want to emulate a medical practice? If you want to project an image of quality comprehensive care, a volume-based drill and fill operation may not be the way to go.
4 – Why Offer a Permanent Discount?
What is an insurance company? Basically it’s a marketing scheme. In return for them filling your appointment book, you agree to discount your services to the people they send to you. Forever.
5 – There Are Other Options!
With an in-house dental membership plan like QDP, dentists can offer their patients an alternative to dental insurance. Patients pay the dentist an annual membership fee and in return they receive a year’s worth of preventive care. The dentist gets paid up front and the patient has one low annual fee that is often a fraction of an annual dental insurance premium. There’s no third party involvement, and dentists get to collect their own fees and stay in charge of their fee schedules.
Insurance is not the only option for dentists. Alternatives exist that actually benefit the patients and the doctors in a more effective way. Reduce your reliance on managed care and set your practice on a path to success.