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When you treat patients with a variety of dental issues, require multiple visits, have complex conditions that involve different specialists, or need to evaluate and choose among treatment options -- it can become challenging to communicate with them clearly, make sure they commit to their treatments, and attend follow-up appointments to ensure the best clinical outcomes.

When these complex procedures aren’t managed properly, your practice’s efficiency suffers. When your patients don’t return to complete their treatments, your production and revenue decrease.

You can mitigate these risks with effective treatment planning, which helps you improve operational cost-efficiency and clinical efficacy. Here’s what you need to know.

Hidden Opportunities in the Treatment Planning Process

While you’re no stranger to treatment planning, are you optimizing the process to get patient buy-in, increase production, encourage compliance, and improve clinical outcomes?

Many dental practices falter at treatment planning not because of the lack of professional knowledge or expertise but due to how they engage with patients.

By involving patients in the planning process, you can take the opportunity to educate them on the importance of finishing the treatment to achieve their desired outcomes. Also, when they understand the benefits of your approach, they’re more likely to be satisfied with the work and return to your practice in the future.

Improve Practice Efficiency With Effective Treatment Planning

To leverage treatment planning as an opportunity to increase production, you need to focus on patient experience and patient communications. Here’s what you can do to improve clinical efficiency with effective treatment planning.

Identify Failing Treatment Planning Practices

As the healthcare system changes and consumers are responsible for a larger portion of their dental treatment cost, they demand more transparency. Processes that worked in the past may no longer be effective as patient expectations evolve. You should take the time to examine your treatment planning process to see where it may fall short. 

For example, are you taking the time to understand the contributing factors, lifestyle, habits, and values that could inform how you customize a treatment plan? Do you have a systematic way to evaluate patients? Are you consolidating patient records from other specialists in your EHR to make sure nothing gets overlooked? Are you reviewing patients’ financial responsibilities with them early on and offering payment options? 

Most importantly, are you making treatment planning a collaborative process to get patients’ buy-in?

We found that helping patients visualize the treatment plan can improve the effectiveness of the process. In fact, tab32 users saw a 20% increase in acceptance when they present treatment plans on an iPad. This is made possible by our dental imaging module, which enables you to educate patients interactively by sharing radiology images on any device. 

Track Incomplete Treatments

Patients won’t get the best treatment outcome and you won’t be able to optimize your clinical efficiency if they don’t return to complete their procedures. It’s therefore important to track incomplete treatments and follow up with patients in a timely manner.

While you can set up an Excel spreadsheet to record all your patients’ treatment plans, visits, and future appointments, doing so is time-consuming and error-prone. As your practice grows, you’d need more resources to perform the task while the likelihood of something falling through the cracks increases. 

Instead, use a dental practice management software to track incomplete treatments. For example, tab32’s Revenue Discovery module allows you to automate workflows so you can find and book appointments for patients with incomplete treatments. The patient communication features also enable you to send a series of text messages to remind patients about their treatment plans and include a link for them to book an appointment online.

Conclusion

Treatment planning should be an integral part of the patient experience because it not only improves clinical outcomes but also increases patient satisfaction that helps boost retention rates and referrals. Not to mention, your billing will increase when patients attend their appointments and they’re more likely to pay their bills when they’re happy with the outcomes.

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