Practices should be working toward applying the top dental trends of 2018.

Last year we shared the top 5 dental industry trends of 2017 and how practices can benefit from applying them. Dental Support Organizations, Dental Insurance Reimbursement Rates, and In-House Dental Plans topped the trends of 2017. Fully into Q1 of the new year, we wanted to uncover the dental trends of 2018 and how implementing them will work towards actively pursuing practice growth.

Actively Focusing on Patient Experience

Patient experience is everything, and will probably always be the top priority for practices. If the patient is happy, they are likely to remain loyal and become evangelists for your practice. Connect with your patients, make sure that their questions are being answered and that they are pleased with the result. Also, incorporate follow-up calls or emails after a patient has seen you so that they feel like they are one of your only patients. While some dental practices are incorporating a “spa-like atmosphere” in their office, improvement to patient experience can also start simply through proper marketing, communication, and follow-up.

Planning Out Alternative Financial Solutions

As insurance policies continue to change, practices will see an influx of patient turnover. Before losing a patient to inevitable policy changes, make patients aware of other financial solutions. Your practice should be working toward creating an in-house dental plan that will not only keep you from losing patients and ultimately, losing the financial compensation that comes from self-pay patients but will ensure that your patient is still getting the care they need without insurance. Your in-house dental plan should be something that works for your practice and for your patient.

Making the Switch To Group Practices

2018 will be the rise of the group practice. Although not completely faltering, single-doctor, single-location practices are slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past. A lot of this is due to corporate dental, student loan debts, and the rising cost of opening a practice. Entering a group practice should put you into an established patient base that already uses resources like an in-house dental plan that permits marketing, consulting, training, and provider/member engagement in addition to handling billing and fulfillment.

Utilizing Advanced Technology Such as 3D Printing

Some practices are beginning to incorporate advanced technology into dentistry revolution. A very common trend has been the usage of the 3D printer to customize patient dental solutions. The 3D printer has been used to show tangible molds of patient’s mouth so they can physically see any issues with their teeth. 3D printing is also being used for general dentistry, implantology, prosthodontics, and even to create custom devices to help patients with sleep apnea.

Taking Advantage of the Cloud

Dental practices are embracing new technologies when it comes to creating an environmentally friendly, paperless work environment. Digital storage is gaining popularity in 2018 because it’s been a huge way to increase profits in the dental industry. The “cloud” as it has been named, uses a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage and process data, rather than on a local server. Moving toward cloud-based practice management software means that their important data and documents such as HIPAA confidentiality forms can be securely hosted on 3rd party software servers. You can also access this information from anywhere so work can be done outside of the office.

Taking to The Internet

We can expect to see the internet and trends of social media marketing appearing on the dental industry trends for quite some time. Consumers use the internet for healthcare decision making. They browse websites and view Facebook pages of practices they are particularly interested in joining. Conversely, they are also using the internet to leave reviews. Make sure your website is up-to-date with Google’s algorithm (meaning mobile responsive and optimized for search engine optimization) and that all of your online listings are accurate. It does also benefit your practice to have positive online reviews so ask your best patients to leave their feedback.

Ascension Dental is a privately held company focused on providing essential capital and administrative capabilities to dental providers across the country, with which it partners to design, develop and administer progressive In-House Dental Plan solutions.

If you’d like to start an in-house dental plan for your practice, schedule your free consultation with Ascension Dental.

Ascension Dental offers in-house dental plans to DSOs and partners

Avoid These 5 Mistakes When Setting Up an In-House Dental Plan

As dental professionals, you understand the complexities of bringing uninsured patients back to the office for routine dental care. Perhaps some of your older patients have lost their insurance post-retirement, or some of your younger patients aren’t seeing the dentist because they don’t want to self-pay for their routine appointments.

There are many viable reasons to switch to an In-House Dental Plan, including attracting new patients and retaining existing ones. In-house dental plans offer many advantages to new and existing patients such as having no deductibles, no waiting periods, and no health qualifications or hassles associated with pre-existing conditions.

In-house dental plans are beneficial to care providers as well. Oftentimes, plans feature proprietary to provider or provider group, regulatory compliance, custom marketing materials, customized fee schedules, and even more.

However, when developing an in-house dental plan without working with an administrative dental solution like Ascension Dental, there are a few common mistakes that practices make.

1. Not Having a Marketing Strategy

One mistake that practices run into is not building a proper marketing strategy surrounding the launch of their in-house discount plan. It’s not enough to simply inform your staff and patients that you’re implementing a new in-house plan, you also have to create a strategy around developing and promoting it. Ultimately, executing a marketing strategy will help you identify who your target patient is, what that target market would be willing to pay, and how you can differentiate your plan from the local competition.

The research for your strategy helps you create your plan and the image you’d like your practice to portray. It also allows your departments to work better with each other. It’s important to have buy-in from your employees as they will help you build your messaging and transpose your story from the brochures you put out to the world, to the greetings given when a new patient first calls to schedule an appointment.

2. No Training

Having employee buy-in is a necessity when you are launching an in-house dental plan and training those employees is paramount to seeing your plan through to success.

When potential new patients call for an appointment or to learn more about your office and fees, the person answering the phone should be trained to lead this conversation to your in-house discount plan and succinctly explain the plan benefits to the caller. If the patient loses their insurance and is considering canceling their appointments, your representative should be able to present them your in-house discount plan.

A script should be put in place to prepare your staff to best present the discount plan as an option to new and existing patients. If a patient is deterred by costs of treatments, your employees should always be able to inform them of savings when they buy into your dental plan.

3. Only Marketing to Existing Patients

Ascension Dental offers in-house dental plans to DSOs and partners

If your practice is only telling existing patients about your dental plan, you may be missing the mark. The idea is to put your messaging for your plan in front of new eyes, but where many practices fall short is not knowing where to begin.

Have an employee that is dedicated to the development and implementation of bringing on new patients. Allow them to work alongside you to create social media pages and advertising to promote your new plan. Send out direct mailers to those who live near or around your practice. Visit local businesses and pitch them on how much their business could save with direct reimbursement from your plan.

4. Charging Too Much (or Not Enough)

Another common mistake that practices make with their plans is charging too much for their membership. Just as insurance can scare people, the price tag of an in-house dental plan can throw potential patients off-guard as well. However, there are some instances where practices simply aren’t charging enough so they wind up losing money with their in-house membership program.

Your goal with the in-house dental plan is to increase your own profits without having to rely on third-party insurance companies. Make sure that you test discounts and other offers to find which solution for membership truly resonates and works well with your patient base.

5. Not Tracking Analytics

Your practice could miss out big time if you are not tracking member analytics. Not analyzing new memberships and renewals could potentially prevent you from growing your business. It’s essential to any practice to use an analytics platform that can display real-time plan metrics.

An analytics tool will even be useful to gauge which patients are already enrolled and who is eligible as a potential plan member. You can even use the analytics tool to record member information so that you’re not keeping their private details in a binder or in an insecure Google Doc.

Ascension Dental Helps You Avoid Mistakes

While these mistakes may make you hesitant to build an in-house dental plan, Ascension Dental gives you the tools to avoid making these errors in the process.

Ascension Dental is a privately held company focused on providing essential capital and administrative capabilities to dental providers across the country, with which it partners to design, develop and administer progressive In-House Dental Plan solutions.

Ascension Dental provides best-in-class administrative capabilities including plan branding and customized marketing – through both digital and print, as well as provides the necessary training to keep your practice aware of and up-to-speed with your new program. We also offer consulting, fulfillment, compliance, billing and the necessary provider/member engagement to keep everyone up-to-speed and on-board with the in-house dental program and platform.

If you’d like to start an in-house dental plan for your practice, schedule your free consultation with Ascension Dental.

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Dental Industry Trends

The Top 5 Dental Industry Trends of 2017 & How They Impact Dentists…

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Dental providers that thrive in today’s ultra-competitive dental industry are increasingly relying upon proven processes to master the art of presenting treatment to uninsured, self-pay patients.  Statistics show dental providers that allow their team members to utilize a professionally administered In-House Dental Plan when attempting to close treatment see increases in case acceptance rates, services rendered and patient loyalty.  The importance of the case presentation process is magnified even more when the patient that’s being presented the treatment plan is uninsured. 2307