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Inside Dentistry
April 2019
Volume 15, Issue 4

Implementing a Successful Membership Plan

Great for your patients, your practice, and you

Dave Monahan

In 2019, for the fifth consecutive year, dentistry professionals were ranked as having one of the "100 Best Jobs" by U.S. News & World Report. This tells us that the dental industry is a great industry to be a part of. Do you remember what inspired you to become a dental professional?

According to information posted on the American Dental Education Association's "Why be a dentist?" webpage, some motivators for entering the field that have been cited in past surveys include being able to help patients in their transformations to better oral care, the independence of running and managing your own practice, being your own boss, and having a flexible work schedule. In addition, dentists have stated that it is important for them to be leaders and dependable health professionals who serve the community and to have a passion for the art of dentistry and the attention to detail required to perform dentistry at a high level. Lastly, dentists have cited the basic need to make a decent living in order to provide for their family.

Unfortunately, the reality of building and managing a dental practice in today's market makes achieving any of the above goals challenging but not impossible. Fortunately, there are solutions that can enable dentists to build successful practices and get back to doing what they love most-providing high quality dental care to their patients.

The Challenges

There can be drawbacks to running an independent dental practice. As a solo practitioner, a dentist is responsible and accountable for everything related to his or her practice. From hiring and managing a reliable and talented dental support team, to managing the finances, finding and purchasing the latest and best dental equipment, and staying up to date on the newest dental techniques and government regulations, solo practice owners have to do it all. That's a lot of responsibility for three people, let alone one person. Finally, there are the ongoing issues of insurance reimbursement, declining reimbursement rates, and all of the additional time and hassle that your team spends chasing down collections. In the long run, these types of roadblocks not only negatively affect your bottom line but also your ability to give all of your patients the time and attention that they expect from their dentist.

Dental Trends

The complicated reality of running a modern dental practice is not exactly what most dentists had in mind when they graduated from dental school. For many dentists, maintaining the daily operations of a practice becomes more complex every day. To achieve and sustain greater practice performance and future growth, dentists must always be looking at tomorrow as well as today. Resting on one's laurels is a thing of the past, and maintaining the status quo is a surefire way to fail.

As dental practices struggle with insurance reimbursement and getting paid for the services they have provided, alternative profit-generating solutions are growing in popularity. Offering a patient financing option is one solution that is often used to help reduce accounts receivable and lower the risk of patients defaulting, and adding additional services to already existing dental offerings can also help to boost revenue. However, these are all temporary fixes and are not scalable. These solutions lack the capacity for enhanced revenue generation, stability, and sustained growth.

Incorporating a dental membership plan is a solution that is simple, scalable, sustainable, and accessible to your patients. Membership plans not only create a new, recurring revenue stream but also solidify the relationship between the practice and its patients.

Membership plans cover all preventive care and provide discounts on additional procedures when they become necessary. Practices exercise complete oversight because they set the subscription prices and have control over the treatment protocol, fee schedule, and any discounts being offered for restorative procedures.

Recently, membership plans have been gaining popularity because they empower practices to provide simple, affordable dental coverage to uninsured patients and are customized to the needs of both the patients and the practice. It may sound cliché, but it really is a "win-win." Patients get the dental coverage they want, and practices see a significant increase in revenue. In addition, patients will now receive the dental care they need, and practices have loyal patients who will keep coming back again and again.

Transforming Patients and Profitability

Tapping into your uninsured patient base and providing them with the simple, affordable dental care coverage they need creates unlimited potential to boost revenue and overall profitability for your practice. A dental membership plan will give uninsured patients added peace of mind and alleviate the number one concern that stops them from making appointments, keeping appointments, and accepting additional treatment-fear of the cost. Your uninsured patients will transition from being uninvested spectators to active participants in their own dental care. Some research shows that they may even start to adopt similar behaviors to those of your insured patients, such as visiting more regularly and accepting more treatment recommendations.

For example, one single-office practice in the State of Washington sold 138 Kleer membership plans during its first 7 months after implementing the Kleer platform. This created more than $51,100 dollars in recurring subscription revenue. Additional benefits realized by the practice included increased patient compliance for suggested diagnostic and preventative procedures and an overall practice transformation regarding long-term profitability and valuation.

Where to Begin

Offering a membership plan benefits dental practices directly by ensuring a steady, recurring revenue stream backed by direct patient subscription fees. Giving control back to dental practices by enabling them to design and manage a customized plan that best fits their needs and their patients is not something that all membership plans offer, but it is a key component to the success of Kleer. As a matter of fact, when onboarding a new practice, a phrase we use a lot is, "It is your practice, so it is your plan."

Kleer is an advanced, cloud-based platform that enables dental practices to easily manage their own customizable membership plan subscription service and offer it directly to their uninsured patients. Plan implementation is free, and practices can start by building out their own plan, which takes 15 minutes or less to launch. Members can join almost immediately, and they will be able to do so from your office or through one of several online channels. The Kleer "dentist portal" is your control center, where you can easily track member plan progress, invite patients to join, enroll new members, and make any additional edits to your plan offering as you see fit.

Conclusion

Our mission at Kleer is to make dental care simpler and more accessible and as a result, improve the oral health of patients and the financial performance of dental practices. Utilizing a platform such as Kleer can help dentists achieve more of the professional and personal goals that they set out to accomplish when they first entered the field of dentistry. So, the next time you find yourself stuck in your daily grind, trying to imagine a better way to improve practice performance and patient care, think Kleer.

About the Author

Dave Monahan is the chief executive officer of Kleer.

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