The Value and Benefits of Patient Financing
Patient financing has benefited both patients and practices for many years. It has helped countless patients to proceed with necessary or desired treatment, which has provided higher case acceptance rates for many dentists. This is a significant practice-building dynamic. In my estimation, most dental practices have a 30% to 50% growth potential over 3 years, and providing patients with direct access to attractive and appealing financing options is one of the top strategies for being able to access that additional growth. Patient financing is a "win-win" as it allows patients to have optimal care at the right time while simultaneously enabling practices to continually increase production. But to make it work well it needs to become a fully implemented standard component of practice systems.
Many practices today have the CareCredit credit card as a patient financing source, so the question isn't, "Is financing available?" but, "Are financing options being communicated properly in the practice?" Proper communication means that every single patient in the practice is fully aware that financing, in some form, is available to them. One way to ensure that patients and practices receive the benefits of available financing is to mention it to all new patients in their first phone call or email exchange. This creates a sense of confidence for patients regarding treatment affordability before they even walk in the office.
Once they do come in for treatment, financing availability should be part of each case presentation conversation to maximize production for the practice and create an ideal experience and outcome for the patient. Dr. Bill Flora, a well-respected general dentist in Elkhart, Ind., with a highly successful practice, has utilized patient financing for many years as a strategy to increase practice production. "CareCredit is a routine and regular part of case presentation to patients in our practice," Flora says. "We use it on a consistent basis, and it allows patients to have necessary comprehensive care now versus putting off treatment that could result in more complex and expensive care down the road."
According to Dr. Flora, patient financing has benefited his patients for treatment, as well as the practice from a business and financial standpoint. Here are three ways to communicate the availability of patient financing to patients: (1) Let every patient know in phone calls and practice communications that patient financing is available. This will give them the confidence to keep their appointment and a feeling that they will be able to afford any necessary treatment. (2) Include patient financing as one of the clear financial options offered to patients when presenting cases. We recommend that all options be explained to patients so that they can make an informed choice. (3) Emphasize the availability of patient financing for all elective dental cases. Patients are more prone to accept treatment if they don't have to pay the full fee all at once and can make payments over time.
Aside from its immediate impact on case acceptance and production, offering financing options also represents excellent customer service. Even patients who have no desire to pursue financing options will nevertheless appreciate the practice's commitment to making fee payment as easy as possible.
There is no question that patient financing is a highly beneficial aspect for dental practices. It can help practices perform at a high level regarding production, profitability, and case acceptance. Even more important than that is the fact that it helps patients take advantage of the excellent care your practice provides, which is what dentistry is all about.
- Roger P. Levin, DDS
Levin Group, Inc.
This content is subject to change without notice and offered for informational use only. You are urged to consult with your individual business, financial, legal, tax and/or other advisors with respect to any information presented. Synchrony and any of its affiliates, including CareCredit, (collectively, "Synchrony") makes no representations or warranties regarding this content and accepts no liability for any loss or harm arising from the use of the information provided. All statements and opinions are the sole opinions of the author. Your receipt of this material constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions. Roger P. Levin, DDS collaborates with CareCredit to develop educational materials for the dental industry.