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When it comes to running a dental practice, you need healthy cash flow. As we have discussed in this post, the key is to increase collections by getting paid for the treatments you have performed.
We also reviewed in this post how you can maintain healthy cash flow by paying associates on collections, instead of productions. To attract talents without hurting cash flow, make sure you’re collecting payment as quickly as possible so you can compensate associates in a timely manner.
This means the sooner you get paid, the better you can manage your cash flow and dental practice revenue cycle. So, why not get patients to pay for their treatments before they come to your office?
The most obvious and major benefit, of course, is that you can get more money in the bank account sooner rather than later to maintain healthy cash flow. You’ll be able to invest in new technologies, equipment, and marketing to scale your business and attract more patients.
When patients pre-pay for their treatments, they’re more likely to attend their appointments so you can reduce the number of no-shows. Since many patients will also need follow-up visits, this can increase your patient retention rate, as well as the lifetime value of each patient.
Pre-payment also allows you to streamline the check-in and check-out procedures when patients are in your office. This can reduce wait time and improve the patient experience -- especially many practices are trying to reduce the density in their waiting room these days.
Now you may wonder -- why would patients want to part with their money sooner rather than later?
Patients may prefer to pre-pay for treatments for various reasons. For example, reducing wait time when they’re in the office, having the peace of mind knowing what their responsibilities are to avoid sticker shock or surprise bills, and potentially getting an incentive for paying upfront.
Here are some ways to encourage more patients to pre-pay:
Online booking streamlines the patient experience and you can further increase the convenient factor by including a pre-pay option to your online appointment booking tool.
Patients are more likely to make a prepayment if the option is available (if you don’t ask, you don’t get!) and many would appreciate the pricing transparency. tab32’s online scheduling tool allows you to add a payment link so patients can pay for their visits when they schedule their appointments. This helps you simplify the process and get more patients to pre-pay.
Of course, it’s not always easy to get people to part with their hard-earned cash, but you surely can persuade more patients to pay for their treatments upfront if you “sweeten the pot.” You can offer a discount on the current treatment or a future visit. For instance, 10% off for the appointment they’re scheduling or 20% off for one in the future.
Alternatively, you can include a free service or product that adds value to the patient’s treatment. For example, an at-home whitening kit for those who prepay for a teeth whitening appointment.
Today's savvy consumers demand transparency. Gain the trust of your patients by posting a clear and detailed refund policy so they feel comfortable with paying upfront.
For example, the policy should address when patients need to notify your office if they can’t attend the appointment and need to reschedule or request a refund. Also, in the event that patients overpay -- would the refund be issued automatically or do they have to initiate the process; would the refund be issued back to them in the original form of payment or applied to future balance; and how long would the refund process take?
Offering your patients the option to pre-pay for treatments is a great way to increase your cash flow and improve the health of your business. The right cloud dental software can help you implement the tactics you need to simplify the prepayment process so more patients will choose this option when they schedule their appointments.
Request a demo today to see how tab32 can help you manage prepayment and implement other revenue cycle management strategies.