New patients or current patients?
It’s not really a matter of either-or.
Although current patient data for the average dental practice could indicate $1 to $1.5 million of annual revenue left on the table for…unscheduled treatment!
Existing patients with pending treatment on the books is an untapped revenue stream for many practices and DSOs. It’s clear that new patients boost profitability but retaining current patients and maximizing their treatment potential can produce substantial revenue growth.
Why is unscheduled treatment a “thing?”
It’s easy for pending treatment to slip through the cracks. The reasons vary but will likely involve a few common missteps.
1. Lack of tracking
What’s tracked gets improved. A more granular look at your data could reveal why patients have postponed or avoided follow-through on treatment.
Perhaps it’s the result of the 2020/2021 quarantine, COVID-19 concerns, or lack of follow-up by your team. Though some causes are beyond your control there are some you can do something about if you track them.
2. Poor communication
Often you’ll say one thing and patients hear another. This communication breakdown can lead to delayed or ignored treatment.
Occasionally, it’s assumed that the clinical team and/or you (the dentist) consulted with the patient about treatment urgency or timing. If handoffs are unclear the treatment value could be too.
3. Trust issues
Follow-through relies on trust. That makes it essential that all patient interactions around recommended treatment are benefit-focused and have a sense of urgency.
4. No pain-no problem
Some patients delay treatment until pain or problems persist. Their patchwork perspective prevents them from seeing the value in systemic care.
Where to “mine” your patient database for potential unscheduled treatment revenue
Weekly data “dives” are effective for “mining” information relative to unscheduled treatment. There are key areas to target your data searches.
- Patients that are scheduled for an appointment who also have outstanding treatment planned
- Follow-ups you sent related to pending treatment plans
- Treatment metrics showing fee values for procedures provided the previous week
- Proposed procedure values for the previous week’s treatment plans
- The remaining unscheduled treatment values for appointments still pending after up to 18 months
A routine review of these data zones could reveal loads of revenue potential. It’s good motivation for channeling energy into getting unscheduled patients on your books.
How to create revenue from unscheduled treatment opportunity
1. Focus a portion of your morning huddle on unscheduled treatment potential already in the day’s schedule
It’s common to cover a lot of details in your morning team huddles. And you want to maximize your time highlighting the essential information – including unscheduled treatment.
Prepare your huddle agendas in advance and make treatment opportunities a priority item. Especially focus on hygiene appointments where a patient could have outstanding treatment planned.
2. Create a “next” mindset
A simple prompt can keep your team(s) eyes on the horizon. For example, add a “what’s next” or “next appointment” field in your patient treatment notes.
Make this a routine workflow. It can help keep your patient’s treatment journey front of mind for those with scheduling and follow-up responsibilities.
3. Provide flexible payment solutions
According to the ADA (American Dental Association), close to 60% of patients delay or avoid recommended treatment due to cost. Procedure fees can also cause them to leave some treatment incomplete.
- Inform your patients that unscheduled or unfinished treatment could lead to health risks and higher costs.
- Review your payment options and determine if they allow patients flexibility.
- Research and create a membership plan that provides incentives for preventative care.
4. Maximize your technology and available data
Technology and software platforms have the potential to maintain a connection with patients who walk away without scheduling. Again, your appointment notes and team attention are keys to follow-up.
- Use your dental dashboard to access and monitor patient data – especially unscheduled treatment.
- Draft workflows and talking points to help your team(s) communicate about recommended treatment, timing, and long-term benefits.
- Know each patient’s barriers to treatment (e.g. cost, scheduling challenges, other health issues, etc).
- Automate follow-up processes so unscheduled treatment opportunities stay front-of-mind for your patients.
Check out the following resources to gain insight into how you can improve and automate your follow-up systems:
Choose the tools that help you tap into unscheduled treatment opportunities as a DSO, group practice, or solo private practice
The Jarvis Analytics platform (including the “Treatment Miner”) helps assure that you’re tracking the important metrics and staying on track during your morning huddles and overall practice or DSO goals.
- Integrates seamlessly with your chosen practice management software/platform
- Presents the metrics you want and need in an easy-to-view dental dashboard that reduces data complexity for growing dental practices, dental groups, and DSOs
Experience Jarvis in action. Request a demo today!
Contact us for more information about data tracking that leads to profitability.
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