Australasian Dental Practice

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01 Mar 2006 | Australasian Dental Practice

news > Spectrum > Page 38

The power of one key to greater case acceptance

CareCredit has developed a new initiative titled the "power of one" to highlight to dental practices the significant difference just one additional case acceptance a week can make to their bottom-line.


"Patients are presenting with both functional and aesthetic treatment requirements and subsequently receive detailed treatment plans," said GE Money CareCredit Sales Leader Sarah Gordon. "What happens next, however, makes a significant difference to the financial health of the practice.

"Apart from the fact that many patients who require immediate treatment are not accepting treatment plans which may well be detrimental to their oral health in the near and long term, the time and effort spent by the practice in compiling the prognosis is also lost.

"While a goal of 100% treatment plan acceptance is ideal, research shows that in the majority of practices, case acceptance is only 50-60%. From a financial perspective, however, if a practice is able to complete just one additional treatment plan per week, while statistically not significant, financially it can increase annual revenue by up to 25%.1"

The number one reason patients do not visit the dentist remains that they don't believe they have a problem, however independent research conducted by New Focus (www.newfocus.com.au) in Australia in December 2004 identified that 60% of dental patients highlight 'cost' as the number one reason they decline recommended treatment.

"Overall, cost is a key reason for patients hesitating to accept recommended treatment. As a dentist, you have to determine if this is because you have failed to communicate value in the treatment offered (i.e. they perceive it as too expensive) or because they do not have the cash on hand. If the patient understands that treatment is needed (or wanted) and that the cost of treatment is inline with their value system, then the actual act of physically paying for the treatment must be the barrier.

"In this latter case, patient finance provides an obvious solution to assist your practice to increase it's case acceptance," Ms Gordon said. "Your practice will most likely already offer credit cards and may offer in-house payment plans, so patient finance becomes another option that the patient can choose to help spread the cost over time while having the treatment completed in the most optimum time frame for the best clinical outcome."

Ms Gordon said that many practices do not understand the importance of monitoring case acceptance and introducing initiatives to facilitate increased treatment acceptance and ensure the case is retained by the practice and not lost elsewhere.

"If you're using a practice management software program to administer your practice or are involved with one of the management consultancies, then you can easily access information on how much treatment you are presenting versus how much is being completed. You know exactly how much work is walking out the door either never to be completed or to be completed elsewhere.

"Just think what would be the incremental practice revenue you would achieve by having just one additional high value treatment plan accepted each week? If you complete one additional treatment plan per week at an average value of $2000, that would add over $100,000 to your turnover each year.

"We are providing finance to thousands of patient each month and while we have provided finance for treatments as large as $40,000, the average dental treatment cost is around $3000. With many of the practices using CareCredit now putting through 3-4 treatment plans a week, the positive impact to case acceptance and practice revenue is outstanding."

Ms Gordon said that CareCredit's "power of one" initiative was designed to provide practices with lower than desired rates of case acceptance with an easy option to see if offering patient finance will make a difference.

"There is no joining fee to become a CareCredit merchant," Ms Gordon said, "and there is no obligation to offer the service or any long term commitment. All we suggest is that when you present your treatment plan, present CareCredit at the same time as a financial option and see if you too can realise how significant the 'power of one' can be."


1. In the United States where CareCredit has been available for over 17 years and is used by over 40,000 dental practices and independent study conducted by the Academy of Dental CPAs identified that practices using CareCredit increased their gross annual revenue by over 25%.

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