Have you ever had a frustrating payment experience with your healthcare provider? Did you consider finding a new doctor or giving them another chance?
The payment experience can be a deciding factor in whether a patient returns or not. Consider these stats.
A poor payment experience influences your bottom line in the long run. It’s also an obstacle for patients who want or need care.
One way to fine tune this area of the practice experience is by offering dental financing. Financing can be an awkward, sometimes complicated topic and process for both your practice team and patients. Cost conversations can be emotional. And the process to set up financing can be time-consuming. So, it’s not surprising why it’s not always openly discussed at practices. By not offering or regularly talking about it, you’re limiting the ways patients can reasonably pay for care. This isn’t ideal when patients are used to having flexible options in other areas of their life.
In this post, you’ll learn three practical ways to normalize financing at your practice so your patients can take advantage of it, if they choose, and to help improve your bottom line over time.
When you start a new job, onboarding is typically part of the process. Training gives you a foundation to help you be successful in your role. A similar mindset should be taken when training your team about financing. Since it can be a complex topic, your team should carve out time to train your team on how to talk about financing so they know the ins and outs of it and can speak to patients about it.
One way to do this is through role play. Come up with different scenarios and draft scripts for your team to practice with so it starts to feel natural, just like talking about other dental health topics your team is already well-versed in. The more your team practices, the more comfortable and knowledgeable they’ll become. This will lead to more effective and informative patient conversations, so patients feel like they have enough information to make sound decisions.
Financing isn’t only a front office discussion. You can also talk about it during chairside consultations. When you’re talking about a treatment and its cost, you can bring up financing as one of the choices. Chances are the patient will want to know the cost and how they can pay for it, so it’s another opportunity to organically bring it up and/or remind them about their options.
Some of your patients may not realize financing is an option in this area of their life. You see it in other situations like purchasing a car or buying a home so worth sharing with your patients they can finance their dental care.
You can raise awareness by being transparent about your payment options from the get-go. Paying for healthcare is rooted in emotions so offering financing as an option and presenting all the information can make it easier for them to make the right decisions and have peace of mind. You can include a financing option on your website when prospective patients are looking at your site. You can also include it in your intake forms so they’re more prepared for their appointment and can ask questions.
Sharing all the payment options early on normalizes financing as a viable option when they’re thinking about dental care. More options make it feel like prioritizing their care is possible, creating a more positive practice experience and forming stronger patient and provider relationships.
Preparation goes a long way in reducing the awkwardness around cost of care conversations. You can prepare by making it a talking point in your morning huddles. Each day, your team can pull a list of patients who are preapproved and/or already have a dental financing option like CareCredit and you can talk through this list, so everyone knows how to bring it up in their patient conversations. By working it into your huddles, it will become a regular action item for everyone to follow up with patients. After a while, financing won’t feel like an afterthought or something you forget to bring up.
One financing option available to patients is CareCredit which integrates with RevenueWell’s Marketing Platform. With this integration, it’s easy for the front office to incorporate it into their workflows and patient conversations. You can find out which patients are preapprove, which ones have a card or an account, send applications for patients to complete, and more – all within RevenueWell. For practices, it’s a more efficient process and removes the awkwardness that comes with asking patients to share personal information during the application process. For patients, it’s another option they can take advantage of to pay for care, if they want. Watch this 20-minute webinar that includes a brief demo on how the integration works and more tips on how to navigate financing conversations at your practice.
Offering financing has a long-term impact on your collections and bottom line. When patients have options to pay for their care, you’re increasing their chances to say ‘yes’ to a proposed treatment instead of putting it off. Patients get the care they need, and your practice has healthy finances which in turn pays your bills, your staff, and allows you to invest in your practice.
Another payment area your practice can improve is the collections process. Collections can be a messy process for many practices and a source of frustration for patients if they can’t easily pay for their treatments. There are tactical ways to simplify your collections process, so patients have a straightforward way to pay, and your practice gets paid, helping to reduce financial stress for both. Check out this blog post to learn how you can improve your collections process so you can get paid on time and spend less time chasing down payments.