Medenta’s Ruth Findlay shares her insights on how to communicate finance options clearly with patients for successful treatment uptake…
Recognise your worth
It’s surprisingly common to be nervous about presenting the cost of treatment plans – the good thing is that you don’t need to be. If your pricing is calculated correctly to cover the running costs of your business and to provide you with your desired income and profit, then you should be confident that you are worth it!
Ensure patients fully understand the itemised treatments you’ll be providing for them and the associated costs, including any lab bills and up-front costs you may incur.
Most patients won’t fully understand the nature of the work required and the length of time you’ll spend fulfilling their treatment needs. However, when explained well, most patients won’t object to the cost if they feel they’re getting value for money, especially if they can spread the cost using patient finance.
Keep up to date
Ensure you and your staff are fully up to date with training in all things associated with offering patient finance.
Understanding and feeling comfortable about your obligations comes from being confident in your knowledge and practising. Aim to reach a point where you do not fear any questions from a patient about the finance (such as what to do if the finance company declines their application, etc.). Know how to offer finance in a compliant manner and what it means to treat customers fairly. Being well versed in the details will ensure that you gain confidence in communicating finance.
Remember the benefits
If you have patient finance facilities at the practice, patients will welcome the opportunity to pay for their private treatment plans in easy-to-manage, bite-sized repayments. This is both beneficial for them in the sense that their treatment becomes more affordable and for you in terms of cash flow and improved treatment uptake.
Remembering these benefits makes talking about treatment costs and patient finance even easier for you and your team and removes some of the obstacles that can cause people to shy away from discussing money.
If you offer patient finance, make sure you know what is available; are you offering both interest-free dental financing options and interest-bearing credit facilities at the practice.
The type of application process you follow will determine the level of conversation you need to have with a patient.
With some providers, you are required to have a conversation with the patient to agree the finance product and term they will apply for without leading or influencing them. This can be an obstacle for some team members due to the pressure of needing to say the right thing.
Other providers’ systems, such as the Medenta application system, don’t require you to have this conversation. Instead, you can email the options to the patient to review at home and take away some of that fear for your team. None the less, it is of course important that you have a thorough understanding of the patient finance facilities that you offer in order to answer patients’ questions.
Giving patients choice and relevant information will enable them to choose a solution that suits them best and result in higher levels of treatment uptake for the practice.