Dentists have been led to believe there is a holy grail in practice management. The phrase has been pushed, published and advertised so frequently; we think it is a real thing. In our practices, we want to believe it is a real thing because harnessing such a straightforward lever for success would be tremendous for our patients’ health and our practice’s growth. The term, as you may have guessed, is case acceptance! Pick up any dental journal and there is likely to be an article.
100% Case Acceptance!
Double Your Case Acceptance Rate!
Need three reasons why “A Guaranteed Strategy to BLOW UP Your Case Acceptance Rate” is going to be a guaranteed disappointment? Here you go:
1. In dentistry, there is no such thing as a “case.”
Dental disease is a chronic problem. It progresses over time. You can control oral disease, but you can’t cure it. There is no short-term “fix.” Is the swollen emergency patient who needs a root canal a “case?” What about the 7.5 other rotten teeth in their mouth? If they get the root canal that day, is that credit towards your 100%? And if they don’t see a dentist again for four years until the next abscess, will you have “won?” When you are a dentist, you support your patients through urgent care situations, long-term restorative care and regular maintenance partnering. Selling dentists ideas like “case acceptance” is a short term transaction. Caring for people over time is not.
2. Feigning “Acceptance” is usually a patient’s way of getting you off their leg.
“YOU REALLY NEED A CROWN! SEE THAT BIG MODB AMALGAM!? (You actually use the letters MODBL when talking to patients) I WANT TO USE MY DRILL TO GRIND YOUR TOOTH AND GLUE A CROWN ON THAT TOOTH. WE HAVE GREAT GLUE. YOU SHOULD REALLY HAVE A CROWN.”
“Fine” the patient finally says to get you to calm down with the crown pushing. But just because they nod doesn’t mean they agree. They likely don’t know why they need your solution, but they play along. And even if they schedule, it doesn’t mean they won’t cancel. And if they do show up and have it done, and things don’t go well, they are done. By pushing so hard, you chose the care and they didn’t. You own the negative result. Bye bye future “case acceptance” percentage!
3. Reality Bites
People move away. Patients get cancer in the middle of a comprehensive care plan, and things go sideways. A traumatic event occurs. Patients need time to arrange priorities. They may have to take some time to allocate financial resources to their health. Life happens. My favorite professional experiences are those that I have worked on for years with patients as they keep progressing toward health. Excellent patient partnering involves doing your best to support your patients through all of the ups, downs and detours along the way. Doing so will have a significant impact on the health of your patients and the profit of your practice over the long run. But it won’t make much difference to your “case acceptance” rate.