Are You Using The (Most Overlooked) Secret To Grow Your Practice?

Published on
April 15, 2024

Is there really one single secret to growing your practice? A magic bullet solution that you haven’t thought of, tried, or implemented? What if I were to tell you I bet you either already have the secret in your practice or you will be using it to your advantage in the very near future?

Before we dig into the most overlooked solution to growing - and thriving - in the present and future, let’s look in the rear-view mirror for a moment. How did we, as an industry, get to where we are?

We know the dental industry has changed enormously over the past three decades – from services performed to technology to products used. But how did the insurance industry take such a hold?

It stared back on Madison Avenue in New York City. Advertising agencies began popping up on Madison Avenue in New York City almost a hundred years ago. It was in the post-WWII era where it really became a booming business as agencies were hired to help advertise companies’ products.

One such company had recently acquired a name-brand toothpaste and went to an advertising agency to help market their product. The agency came up with a catchy jingle and phrase to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes and see your dentist two times a year.

In return, the dental insurance industry latched on to this concept of seeing the dentist two times a year as it fit their business model and made it the industry standard.

Let’s be clear, the standard of going to the dentist for cleanings two times a year wasn’t prescribed by a dental provider. It came from a businessman who saw the potential of growing their profits.

We know so much more now. We know the national average shows only 35% of patients go to the dentist twice a year. We know most patients need more than a cleaning two times a year to get healthy and stay healthy. We know the oral health of a patient can affect other areas of the body and that for the last several decades a number of systemic diseases have been associated with oral health, particularly cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

We know there’s less coverage and benefits for patients and you are certainly aware of lower reimbursements to practices. Some practices even allow the insurance benefits available to a patient to actually dictate what kind of care they receive.

Insurance can be great for patients as a way to help get them the care they need, to help cover those costs and investment in their health, to help make it more affordable. It can be used as a vehicle to get them into your practice so you can establish a strong relationship and be their dental provider, their dental “home.” There can be a place in your practice for insurance relationships as a way to help get patients in the door and contribute to the investment in their health. There are several resources to help you leverage those insurance relationships appropriately.

There are three ways grow your business (really any business if you think about it). For dental practices, it’s More New Patients, More Frequency and More Per Visit.

More Patients: we’re talking about more bodies walking through the door. But we’re also putting the focus on more of your IDEAL Patients. Who do you serve? What kind of care do you provide them? Are they cash-paying patients? How are you maximizing your internal and external or digital marketing to attract – and retain – your patients. What experience do you provide and how do you make your patients feel so they stay a patient for life?

More Frequency: how are you keeping your patients coming back in on their recommended recare schedule or providing more services they want? Does your standard of care align with the frequency of visits you set for your patients? What does your reactivation system look and sound like? How are you creating trust and building your relationships with your patients so you are their dental home?

More Per Visit: one of the most important is updating your UCR fees and submitting your fee schedule increases on an annual basis. How are you adding more value? Said another way, what services are you including in your patient’s visit to best care for them? Are you using lasers, fluoride, providing sealants, whitening? Are you recommending the best products?

What if there was a way to accelerate all THREE of these Ways to Grow? Something in your practice that you can use right now?

What if you can ensure your patients are scheduling and staying on their recommended recare cycle, improve overall productivity and revenue all while providing the best care possible to your patients? And, what if that same solution could dramatically reduce your dependence on your insurance relationships and your patient attrition?

Sound like a magic bullet? Well, it just might be your most overlooked secret to massive growth. What’s the one thing you can do right now that, when implemented efficiently, will catapult your practice ahead of others and allow you to thrive?

Provide your patients with a comprehensive Membership or Loyalty Program.

Membership plans not only increase your collectable production $$ but significantly increases your recare effectiveness rate – patients are filling your hygiene schedule by pre-scheduling all their visits for the year. You are seeing them more consistently and more often.

When used correctly and efficiently, the program allows your practice the ability to offer patients a direct way to provide affordable dental care. Ideally, you’ve built a program that fits your practice and treatment philosophy and rewards patients for being proactive with their health.

Membership plans are now an essential tool for becoming less dependent on insurance or exiting insurance relationships altogether.

You have a decision to make in how you want your private practice to survive and how you care for your patients. The practices that remain on the cutting edge, like yours, will be positioned for lasting success.

It’s time to get out of the box the insurance industry created. It’s time to take back the reins and decide what’s best for your patients, for your practice.

It used to be that Insurance patients represented about 70% of the patient population in an average PPO practice.

But the landscape is rapidly changing. Insurance companies keep lowering reimbursement payments and offer a less than optimal fee schedule. The rate of uninsured patients has skyrocketed. We’ve known of baby-boomers retiring but now we are also seeing more and more patients who have lost their insurance or not returned to work after the Pandemic. In fact, an article in the Guardian said more than 6 million Americans lost their dental insurance during the Pandemic and did not get them back. Plus, any of us that live in a tech-centered area (hello Silicon Valley and other cities the tech industry has moved to) are experiencing a massive amount of layoffs and reduction to the workforce.

What does your insurance patient population % look like in your practice right now? What will it look like in six months? Twelve months?

How are you ensuring your patients of record still come to you if they no longer have insurance? How will you make dentistry affordable for them and how are you creating loyalty?

Many doctors we talk to are asking what would it look like if we dropped insurances? How would that impact our practice? Our Fortune coaches explore this question and potential results with clients all over the country and can also help you navigate that journey in a step-by-step process.

And, if you are not yet using a membership or loyalty program – now is the time. If you are already using one, evaluate how well it works for you. Are you tracking enrollments as well as capturing all your renewals? How successful is the program – are you filling your schedule?

It must be time to use a membership or loyalty plan that works for your practice in a healthy way and also provides the patients an affordable way to access the care they need. Not all membership programs are created equal. Make sure you are using one that provides a comprehensive and a total solution.

The most powerful growth strategy will be implementing a membership program in your practice ASAP or maximizing your current membership program if you have one.

If you want to increase your recare effectiveness rate and strengthen your reactivation system, if you want to maximize your current insurance relationships or become less dependent on them, make sure you are utilizing the one thing that could make the biggest impact to growing your practice:

Create and use a total solution Membership or Loyalty Program.

Our advisors at Fortune Management, TruBlu and Hygiene Mastery can provide you with a multitude of ideas and growth strategies to take back to your practice.

Contact us for more info on the following…

  • Leveraging Insurance Relationships or Exiting Insurance
  • Request a copy of the NDAS Fee Schedule to see where your practice’s UCR fees fall
  • More on the Three Ways to Grow my practice
  • What is a total solution Membership or Loyalty Program?

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