Offsetting the Cost Issue for Patients
When patients first hear that they'll need to see a specialist they might resist because they can only think of the potential financial impact such treatment will have on them. The cost issue presents a major barrier to care because patients will mentally rule out the care that they need.
As a dental health care provider, you want your patients to have the care they deserve and you want to help ease their anxiety over treatment. Doubtless, you also want to lighten their financial burden as much as you possibly can. There are a few key ways that you can assist your patients in dealing with the cost of their care. Some are practical and others can perhaps be considered more psychological in nature.
Create Value in Treatment Presentation
It's important that you don't present treatment as though it is routine and inconsequential. You might be used to recommending a root canal or gum flap surgery every day. To your patient, this may be the first time they have to face such an involved procedure.
Make an effort to help your patient understand why this treatment is necessary. Stress the long-term benefits you hope they experience. Explain how their investment in care now will result in major returns, in terms of improvement in their health.
Make a connection between your patient's oral health and other areas of life that are important to them. This helps them to grasp just how far-reaching the benefits of treatment can be. It also tells your patient that you care about them personally. When a patient senses your genuine concern, they won't look at just the cost. They will be more likely to follow the recommendations of a health care provider they trust.
Throw In Extra Benefits
As much as you are able, try to reward and encourage your patients through small gifts or amenities. Have supplies on hand to help make their stay more comfortable. Refreshments, entertainment in the waiting and clinical areas, headphones for music, blankets, and pillows are all ways a patient can feel pampered and relaxed at your office.
The standard free samples of toothbrushes and floss and toothpaste are a good idea. You might even go further by rewarding loyal patients with regular events such as a drawing to win a helpful device such as a power toothbrush.
Provide Help with Paperwork and Financial Planning
Round out your dental team with competent and compassionate front desk staff who can assist patients with the overwhelming loads of paperwork. Filing the insurance is a very important way you can help ease the financial burden.
Establish payment plans to make things more convenient for your patients. It's worth the effort to consult with your local bank about third-party financing or creating an in-house financing plan. You might even manage a discount for cases in which a patient can pay upfront or make a deposit by check. Having such provisions in place will allow you to see your patients through from initial consultation to a healthy smile with as little financial anxiety as possible.