Smart Finance alleviates fiscal concerns and places patients at the forefront of their decisions

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Justin Coke from 7 to 7 Dental and Orthodontics, to ask him what makes 7 to 7 such a success. He attributed it to their commitment to always do what’s best for the patient, and what is best for the patient is ensuring they receive the care they need. Clinical excellence is expected of us by our patients, but doing everything humanly possible to ensure our patients receive the care they need is what sets us apart.

 

In a perfect world we would be able to provide medical and dental care at little to no cost, but the reality is providing medical or dental services to patients is expensive. The cost to provide medical services continues to rise, while insurance maximums stay the same or decrease, and deductibles and co-pays increase. Along with rising medical care costs and increased cost of living, the average American struggles to pay for the care they may desperately need.

As providers, we should recognize challenges that patients face when seeking care and do our best to eliminate them. Patients typically postpone or forgo treatment due to financial constraints, fear or lack of trust. The good news is that these can all be reduced with better communication and by offering reliable alternatives.

How does your team currently present a treatment plan to your patients?

 

Do they say: “This is the treatment the doctor recommends,” or “It’s important because…,” or the less appealing, “Your portion is $1,000 today, will that be cash, check or credit card?” If this is your office’s standard operating procedure than you probably see more patients leaving your office, so they can “think about it,” than you actually care for. By the way, “Let me think about it,” means please don’t call me, text me or email me, I have no intention of coming back.

A recent survey found that over 60 percent of Americans would have difficulty paying for a $1200 emergency medical or dental procedure if it struck them today. With that in mind, how could we change the way we present options to better align with the majority of the population’s needs?

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What if we said: “Mrs. Jones you are in exceptional hands, Dr. Smith is an incredible doctor and is going to take great care of you. The best part is, Dr. Smith’s insurance specialists are going to wring every last dime out of your insurance plan to make your out-of-pocket as little as humanly possible. Because you have really great insurance, your portion is only $1000 to have all your needed treatment completed. We can take care of that for you right now, or you can get on one of our payment plans. Your first payment would be about $85 and you wouldn’t even have to pay that until next month. Which works best for you?”
What’s easier for patients to say yes to? $1,000 today, right now, this second or $85 next month? By presenting this way, you can quickly determine if a patient’s reluctance to proceed is due to financial constraints or something else. Once you know, you can address it. People like options, and when you help provide those options, good things happen.

For example, 7 to 7 started using this approach over six years ago. They presented treatment with easy-to-understand, non-clinical language with three to four easy ways to pay for their treatment. Justin did a case study and compared the six months prior to the six months after the switch. What he found surprised everybody.

With this super easy, yet very patient centric approach, 7 to 7 was able to help more patients than ever. So many patients were saying yes to their recommended treatments that production grew over 36 percent, and patient satisfaction increased as well. This was evident by comparing pre-appointed patient recall between the two periods.

There is no magic potion or silver bullet. However, nothing that you say or do can convince someone to do something they simply cannot afford. Helping them get affordable care is the key. Affordability usually comes in payments. Well, if you’re going to offer a payment option to your patients, you better have a reliable lending partner that’s going to approve more patients than they turn down. Otherwise, everyone is going to feel let down when that decline comes in.

SmartFinance is that reliable partner for 7 to 7 Dental & Orthodontics, approving nearly 70 percent of their patients that apply. That’s what makes the program such a success.

SmartFinance is for medical and dental providers who are dissatisfied with their current patient finance options. They provide finance options with the highest approval rates in the industry and lower fees to your practice. They are easy to use and actually help the people that need it. Unlike those so called “everyone approved” plans, SmartFinance has instant approvals, is non-recourse and your practice is fully funded in 48 hours.