How to Increase Production for Existing Dental Patients
Successful dentist offices track their dentist production, a key performance indicator (KPI) that provides insight into how the dental practice is performing. Busy practices are not necessarily productive, so examining your production can help you match your services to the patients treated.
Dental practices do more than examine and treat patients — they maintain their practice by observing and increasing their production for all dental patients. With higher production, dentists can earn more revenue and complete more treatments.
Learn how to promote a dental membership plan and other methods for increasing production in your dental office.
Enhance Patient Scheduling
Make sure all your patients schedule their next appointment with the front desk staff before leaving the office. Don't wait for the patient to take the initiative with scheduling — make sure you're approaching them properly.
When the patient comes to the front desk after their appointment, take this approach to ensure their next appointment will get scheduled:
- Ask them when they would like to return.
- Highlight the benefits of maintaining their appointment.
- Offer a choice between two appointment times based on their availability.
Whether the patient needs a specific treatment or a routine cleaning, they should know when they'll return to your office.
Create an Appointment Confirmation Process
Once you have set an appointment with a patient, make sure they keep it by using an effective appointment confirmation process. Text-to-confirm methods are the best way to reach your patients with appointment reminders and confirmations.
A good practice is to send four text messages to your patients about their appointment. Send a text:
- Immediately when the appointment is made to remind the patient of the day and time so they can put it in their calendar.
- Two weeks before the appointment to remind them of their commitment.
- Two days before the appointment to ask for confirmation that their appointment time still works for them.
- Two hours before the appointment as a final reminder.
Confirming appointments through text is generally more effective than leaving a voicemail on a home phone. Text messages are more visible because the notification will pop up on the patient's phone, and they'll see it right away and follow up on it. Home voicemail is not checked nearly as often, and when it is, the patient may not carefully listen to the message. A voicemail also requires the patient to be home to listen to the message, whereas they'll see a text message anywhere they are.
No-shows and last-minute cancellations are a major source of lost production for dental practices. Creating an appointment confirmation process will help reduce these losses.
Keep a Full Dental Hygiene Schedule
Make recare — reactivating patients who are due for an appointment — more effective with a full dental hygiene schedule. Having a full schedule requires communicating well with your patients. Respond to their emails, text messages, and phone calls as soon as possible.
Communicating with your patients about their appointments will help them keep their time. When everyone follows through with their biannual preventive care, your practice will easily maintain a full dental hygiene schedule. Since recare is the source of most of a practice's growth, maximizing it will improve your practice's production.
Dental hygiene, like routine cleanings, is a core part of dental practices. This preventive care generally happens twice a year, but some patients do not take the second appointment. If your practice has hundreds or thousands of patients, these missing appointments will cause lower doctor production, lost revenue from fees, and fewer completed procedures. A full dental hygiene schedule prevents these problems.
Do Complete Dentistry Diagnostics for All New Patients
Production for new patients will immediately increase when you diagnose their complete dentistry. All new patients over the age of 30 should see the dentist at their first appointment for a thorough five-phase exam:
- Periodontal: Check for signs of periodontal disease, bone loss, and bruxism.
- Tooth-by-tooth: Examine all teeth for signs of cavities, gum disease, and jaw clenching.
- Cosmetic: Look at the appearance and condition of the teeth, including symmetry and color.
- Implant: Examine any implants the patient has for signs of peri-implantitis and gum disease.
- Occlusal: Inspect the oral-facial structures, temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and the bite.
Many dental practices have their patient get a cleaning from a hygienist for most of their appointment and a five-minute exam from the dentist at the end of the appointment. Doing this five-phase exam instead can improve production.
Promote Elective Dentistry
Your patients may be unaware of what you offer besides routine cleanings. Promote your elective dentistry services as much as you do your main offerings. Advertise your elective dentistry through email campaigns, social media content, and other marketing techniques that will target the right audience.
Making your patients aware of what else your dentist practice offers shows them that your dental office can take care of all their needs. This promotion will also help you keep a full schedule and have high production.
Balance Your Fees to a Given Percentile
Balancing fees means comparing your prices with others in the area to determine your rank on a percentile basis. Fees below the area ranking percentiles should be balanced (adjusted) accordingly. Balance your fees every two years at a minimum to make sure your dental practice is making the most profit possible.
If your dental practice is submitting fees below what insurance companies will reimburse, you may be losing out on a lot of revenue. Balancing your fees to a given percentile before submitting them to insurance will help you capture the full amount of coverage allowed by your patients' insurance companies.
Review Your Radiography Protocols
Most dental offices have a standard of care for radiography — how frequently the patients get different types of X-rays. If your dental practice does not have a standard, establish one. If you have one established, review it. The industry standards for each type of X-ray are:
- Bitewings: Once a year
- Panoramic: Every three years
- Full mouth series: Every five years
Radiography protocols need to be the same for all patients and consistently enforced by all staff members. X-rays are a major revenue source for dental practices, so missing X-rays can add up to sizeable profit losses. Standardizing your radiography practices helps prevent these losses.
Reach Out to Inactive Patients
If your practice has inactive patients — those who haven't had an appointment in months or years — revive their commitment by reaching out to them. Send a message to these patients encouraging them to book another appointment with your practice. Your message should stress the benefits of dental care through thoughtful incentives. These patients will notice that you are paying attention to them and be more likely to make an appointment.
Prioritize Patient Education
When a patient needs a treatment that will take multiple office visits to complete, ensure they'll schedule their next appointment by educating them. Share information and resources about their condition and why they need the treatment you suggest. Educational material can include articles, videos, and financial information.
Your dental practice is responsible for educating your patients about their treatment options. Taking the time to help your patients understand their condition and treatment opportunities will help them make the right decision about their health and demonstrate that you also care about their oral health.
Offer a Dental Membership Plan for Uninsured Patients
Getting proper dental care can be challenging for uninsured patients. Promoting in-office dental membership plans bridges the gap so all your patients can get dental care, no matter their insurance status.
A dental membership plan is subscription-style dental coverage your dental practice can offer directly to patients — no insurance company needed. This coverage gives patients access to routine and nonroutine dental care, such as:
- Teeth cleanings
- Oral exams
The Advantages of a Dental Membership Program for Your Practice
The benefits of dental membership plans include:
Customizable plans: You can design the dental membership plans to tailor them to specific patient needs. Your plan will be custom to your dental practice.
More appointments made: Your patients will be more willing to accept new treatments and make appointments knowing they won't have to deal with an insurance company.
- New patients: People who are uninsured but need dental care will be encouraged to choose your dental practice once they see they can get the care they need through your membership plan.
- More control: Promoting a dental membership plan means you can control its implementation, management, and growth. You won't get these benefits by working with an insurer. Your patients can pay you directly without going through an insurance company.
How to Market a Dental Membership Plan
Membership programs are one of the most effective ways to increase production in your dental practice, so marketing in-house dental membership to uninsured patients is crucial. Here is how to advertise dental office membership plans for your dental office:
- In-office displays: Displays in your office will target your existing patients. Create a simple display highlighting the features and benefits of your membership program. Patients at the counter or in the reception area will notice your display and read the information.
- Handouts: Handouts can be a card, paper, or pamphlet with membership program information that patients can take home with them, and the handouts can integrate into your in-office display. Handouts work best for those who are more comfortable receiving information the "old school" way and don't have social media.
- Text messages: Since your dental practice likely has a text message system for appointment reminders, use this communication method to inform patients about dental memberships.
- Emails: Email campaigns are a great way to get your message to your target audience — that is, your patients most likely to enroll in your membership plan.
- Website pop-up ads: Pop-up ads effectively generate leads with a concise call-to-action message that helps them stand out on the webpage.
- Paid ads: Paid online ads such as pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns place your ads in front of the right people to improve their chances of enrolling. Make sure your ad includes a link to a webpage on your website with more information about the membership plan.
- Facebook: The number of Facebook users increases every year — this popular social media platform is projected to have 324.76 million users by 2026. You can expect that many patients in the area you serve have Facebook and would respond to informative content on your page about your dental membership program.
- Twitter: Twitter is a social media platform used mostly by millennials. This demographic has a high rate of uninsured people, and many millennials want subscription-based dental care. This audience will respond well to short, to-the-point tweets advertising your dental membership program.
- Instagram: Instagram is for sharing captivating pictures and videos with your followers. Create compelling and engaging posts about your dental membership plan for your feed. You can tag these posts with the location of your dental practice to target patients in your area. You can also share your Instagram posts on your Facebook and Twitter pages so all your followers on all platforms can see your posts.
- Word of mouth: Spreading information through the grapevine is a free and effective way for your patients to learn about your dental membership plan. People trust the word of their friends and family, and a positive recommendation can be enough to get them to enroll in your membership program. You can incentivize your plan members with rewards through a membership program if they tell others about your membership plan. Encouraging word-of-mouth communication will help your dental practice tap into this complimentary yet powerful advertising method.
Increase Production With Dental Membership Plans From Kleer
Kleer is a dental membership plan provider working to help dentists provide dental care to all their patients, especially those without insurance. Patients with dental coverage are three times more likely to go to the dentist than those without, yet plans from dental insurance companies can be complicated and expensive. Our dental membership plans help dentists, group practices, and patients enjoy dental care, liberated.
When you market an in-house dental membership by Kleer, your dental practice will:
- Increase production: Patients with Kleer coverage generate 2.1 times more production than patients without our coverage.
- Attract new patients: Around 89% of uninsured patients are interested in dental office membership plans, and the membership program from Kleer is just what they need.
- Create recurring revenue: Dental membership plans can generate tens of thousands — even hundreds of thousands — of recurring annual revenue for your practice.
Learn More About Marketing a Dental Membership Plan Today
Kleer is a strategic partner of dental practices. We will help your dental office design and launch a membership program using our dental membership plan software. Our platform enables you to track your membership program's success — check plan performance and renewals, invite patients to the plan, process payments, edit patient accounts, and more.
Offering a quality membership program and knowing the right ways to promote a dental membership plan will effectively increase production for your existing dental patients. Partner with Kleer today to offer affordable dental membership plans to your patients. Contact us online for more information or request a free demo of our software.