Shelley Clegg talks to Eve Waters, Practice Manager at Kingston Park Advanced Dentistry, a four-surgery predominantly private practice in Newcastle, about the impact patient finance has had on the business and their patients.
Shelley: Why did you want to introduce patient finance into the practice?
Eve: We implemented patient finance three years ago when the practice was taken over by new owners and we decided to start offering some new services, such as implants and orthodontics.
As they are more expensive treatments, we didn’t want the cost to be a barrier to patients taking up those treatments or booking appointments.
Shelley: Did yourself and the team have any concerns around using patient finance?
Eve: No one in the practice had used finance before, so we were a little unsure about how it would work, whether there was a minimum price that the finance could be used for, how easy the application process would be, etc.
Finance had been used in a practice I’d worked in previously, but I hadn’t been involved in it. But I know that in that instance everything needed to be done face-to-face and you needed to see lots of ID, etc, and we weren’t sure how that might work at Kingston Park as, at the time, we didn’t have a private area to discuss this kind of thing.
Shelley: How do the team feel now, are they confident talking to patients about it?
Eve: Definitely. When the clinicians are going through treatment plans in the surgery, questions about cost and payment do come up, so they are quite confident in saying that we offer finance as an option.
The clinician will then usually refer to myself or the reception team and we are happy to go through the finer details and the application process.
Shelley: How do you and your team find the application process?
Eve: The new application process that Medenta implemented last year is so easy and straightforward. Everything is presented so clearly; it makes it very easy to find your way around the application process.
Due to COVID-19, we don’t really want patients and team members sitting close together in private areas to complete an application form any more. So, the ability to be able to send a link to the patients so they can fill in the form at home by themselves is really helpful.
The whole application process is really easy.
Shelley: What benefits has patient finance brought to the practice?
Eve: We’ve had more uptake on the bigger treatments and we’re getting busier with the implant side of things.
We’ve also seen that, because of lockdown and uncertainty around the economy and jobs, lots of people are feeling more wary about making large payments in one go. But at the same time, they don’t really want to delay the treatment.
We’re seeing more patients asking about patient finance and having the option to spread the cost out means they can still go ahead with treatment.
Shelley: Has finance impacted the types of treatments patients are having?
Eve: Yes, the ability to offer finance, alongside our marketing efforts, gives patients more options and we’ve seen uptake of orthodontic and implant treatments increase.
We’re not actively marketing our patient finance as such, but we’re definitely having more conversations than we’ve had before with patients in the surgery or over the phone with new patients.
Shelley: What is the biggest advantage for patients?
Eve: Initially, patients might think they can’t have a certain treatment because it’s too expensive or that they can’t afford it. But by offering patient finance, they don’t have to wait 12 months, or longer, to have the treatment they want or need.
We’re living in a time when people are very image-conscious and they often want to have their treatment straight away. Being able to spread the cost allows them to go ahead with the treatment quickly without worrying about the financial impact of needing to pay one big lump sum.
Shelley: What do you most like about Medenta patient finance?
Eve: It’s an easy system to use, quick and efficient; I would definitely recommend it, particularly for practices who haven’t had patient finance before.
There are also lots of options you can choose from depending on what best suits your practice and your patient needs.
The support from the Medenta office team is fantastic. I know if I get in touch with any query, I’ll get a quick response. They’re also able to talk to patients who are filling in the form at home and assist them if they have any questions or don’t fill in all the parts they need to.
Shelley: How important do you think it is for other practices to offer patient finance?
Eve: I think it’s really important if you offer more costly treatments such as orthodontics, implants or big cosmetic cases. If you’re trying to attract more patients and offer more options to patients, you definitely need to look at Medenta patient finance.
Shelley: What advice do you have for practices that might be looking to implement patient finance?
Eve: Get in touch with Medenta and discuss all the options about how it can benefit you. Chatting to one of the Medenta team would be the best starting point for you.
Shelley: Thank you so much Eve, for sharing your experience.
If you’d like to discuss introducing Medenta patient finance to your practice, please contact us to discuss how we can support you.