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A Better Way to Discuss Treatment Costs with Your Patients

Kiltesh Patel
September 25, 2019

One of the most uncomfortable things to talk to your patients is about money and finances. You might do everything right, but if you fail to address the financial aspects of the treatment well, then the overall patient experience will be unsatisfactory. Here is how you can manage patient financials to give your patients an excellent experience at your practice.

Develop An Understanding First

People will pay for anything if they see the value in it, and dental care is no exception. You're the expert, not the patient, and they probably don't understand the treatment process well enough to Doctor Talking to Mansee the value in it.

That is why you should take the time to explain the various treatment options available. Instead of making a call yourself, give them the information and let them choose what would be best for them.

When you're discussing the treatment plan, it is also a great opportunity to discuss your financial policies. Being transparent about your financial policies and discussing available payment options is a great way to win your patient's trust.

Be Empathetic

Patients are not numbers, they are people with emotions and problems, and solving their dental problems, sometimes, is the easiest part of your job. 

As a dentist, you deserve to be paid for the work you do, but bringing up finances right off the bat can make you come across as an unempathetic person. Thus, it is essential that you help your patients be on the same page with you regarding treatment options before discussing treatment costs with them. 

Some patients might have financial constraints and might be embarrassed to discuss them. Make sure to always discuss financial matters discreetly and privately. It is a simple but important way to show empathy towards your patients and they will surely appreciate it.

Avoid Surprises

Often the patient’s first question to you will be, “how much will this cost?” If you say you don’t know, then the patient might not find the answer trustworthy, and if you give them an estimate, they might take it as a final quote.

It is important to address all financial questions with a little tact. Any major surprises in the patient's out-of-pocket payments or insurance payout can cause them to distrust you. 

Here, some honesty goes a long way. If you don’t have enough information to give a quote, then don’t---and explain it to them. Once you do have the information, take time to explain the specifics in an easy manner and make sure that they understand everything.

Once the patient understands the specifics of the treatment, they will see the value in it, which will increase the chance of they accepting your suggested treatment.

Make it Seamless — Use Technology

Technology can help you run and manage the financial aspects of your practice in an easy way. Running insurance authorization, providing payment options, and even collecting payments can be easy if you have the right tools. It would be wise to invest in a practice management software that can help you do all of these things, and more. 

Tab32 is one such practice management software that can perform insurance pre-authorization, submit the claims electronically, send automated statements to patients whose payments are pending and more---making the entire payment collection process seamless.

Conclusion

Financial discussions are difficult and can be a great cause of strain for you and your patients. It is no surprise that many dentists don’t have a financial discussion with their patients at all---they push them to their staff. But, if handled right, these painful and awkward discussions can be transformed into relationship building activities which will put your patients at ease and help them trust you more.

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