Forward-thinking leaders in group dentistry are implementing membership plans to reclaim control of the dental marketplace from insurance companies. Increasingly, we’re seeing how dental membership plans make it easier for patients to do business with practices and get the care they need. They improve patient loyalty, case acceptance and operating margins by cutting out third-party interference.
Membership Plan Challenges for Dental Practice Groups
For group practices, there can be challenges implementing a dental membership plan. It’s important to remember when designing a membership plan for a group practice that a one-size-fits-all strategy does not work across diverse practice locations. Pricing and treatment protocols need to be customized by location, catering to local economics, patient demographics and practice dynamics. Additionally, group practice leadership teams need to consider how a plan can be tracked and managed at both the practice and group levels without tying up office staff or adding overhead—this requires a robust technology solution.
Plum Dental Group is an example of a group practice that implemented a successful membership plan across its 17 offices. The following case study describes the group’s experience moving away from a homegrown model to partnering with Kleer, the leader in membership plans designed for group practice success. Plum achieved buy-in and participation across all their locations and generated a quarter-million dollars of recurring subscription revenue in the first 10 months of deployment.
Plum Dental Group: One Group Practice’s Success Story
Dr. P. Edward Capalbo first opened Plum Dental Group in 1946 and grew his practice to include 30 dentists in 17 offices across Rhode Island and eastern Connecticut. Dr. Capaldo and the Plum team pride themselves on improving access to oral care for the communities they serve and catering their services to the needs of each location.
When Plum first attempted to create a homegrown membership plan, they encountered a few roadblocks. Their original membership plan was the exact same offering across all offices, which went against their goal of catering services to each office and, as a result, turned off the dentists.
It fell flat with front desk staff too. The lack of automation left the teams frustrated with time consuming manual tasks like pulling out a calculator to help convince patients that savings were worth the trouble to sign up. Without the support of dentists and office teams, the membership plan languished.
“Our homegrown membership plan wasn’t promoted by the staff and went completely unused by patients,” said Diane Washburn, regional operations manager at Plum Dental Group. “It was in the back of the tool kit, and no one used it.”
Plum learned that managing a membership plan across multiple locations with a one-size-fits-all approach and without a centralized platform didn’t work. Leadership at the group practice recognized a need to bring in a partner that could facilitate the design and management of an effective membership plan. Partnering with Kleer helped Plum address their membership plan woes. Kleer is customizable for each location, easy for office staff to administer, simple for patients to understand and purchase, and provides the ability to easily track results at the local and group level.
By transitioning away from a cumbersome, paper-based system, Plum was able to implement separate membership plans for each office. Each practice was able to maintain their individual brand, flavor and treatment preferences while also pricing the plan appropriately for their location. The ability to set unique plans for each location created dentist buy-in and patient adoption.
The office teams found the Kleer membership plan much easier to administer than their homegrown plan. Patient self-service tools like simple online sign-up, automated electronic payments and autorenewal increased patient participation and reduced staff time spent on plan management and other clerical duties. By automating annual renewals, the patient renewal rate improved dramatically, and the team no longer spent time calling patients, selling them on renewals and entering payment information. Instead of managing manual, burdensome tasks, the dentists and office staff now spend more time on patient care.
The Plum leadership team found that the Kleer Portal seamlessly tracks performance at both the group and individual office level. The portal shows a summary of the number of members that have joined and subscriptions purchased across the entire group, along with a breakdown for each office. Front desk staff at each office can use it to see individual member details, such as care plans purchased, payments and upcoming renewals. They can also invite patients to join via email or text and add new members from the front desk.
For Plum, the key to a scalable, successful dental membership plan was a combination of automation, localization and simple tracking. It became a no-brainer for office staff and dentists to get on board with the new plan. Patients loved the ease of signing up and the subscription features that they’re already familiar with from companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
The Proof is in the Parking Lot
Plum showed stellar results from implementing their updated membership plan. With the help and guidance of the Kleer Success Team, they had 25 new members in the first month alone. Kleer’s Growth specialists coached the Plum Dental Group team on how to use digital and office marketing materials to improve their membership numbers each month, and in the first 10 months, they added 783 members and $250,560 in recurring subscription revenue. With the Kleer membership plan in place, Plum launched into a new phase of sustainable growth and can provide easy access to high-quality, hassle-free dental care to their community. And Kleer is always there helping the Plum team grow membership and keep patients happy.
“One of the best parts about working with Kleer is their phenomenal customer service,” said Washburn. “Any questions we have are answered in real-time, which is a key differentiator that has made our membership plan a success.”
It’s not impossible to run a successful homegrown dental membership plan. But, especially for group practices, it’s inefficient and very difficult to manage. Think of it this way: When opening your dental practice, did you pave your own parking lot or did you hire an expert to do it? Kleer is the membership plan expert and has worked with thousands of dental practices to implement successful membership plans. Kleer will help you fill your parking lot with patients so you can focus on their care.