Customize the Treatment Case Report to boost case acceptance.
The success of your dental practice depends on the effectiveness of your case presentations. The better you are at presenting treatment options to patients and encouraging them to accept that treatment, the more work you bring into the practice and the better you can help patients maintain their oral health.
One of the best tools you have to help you with these case presentations is the Treatment Case Report in the Treatment Planner. You can use the Treatment Case Report to create a professional printout that summarizes a patient’s treatment plan options that they can take home with them. Patients are more likely to accept treatment if they know and understand their treatment options and the procedures and price estimates involved.
It’s important to customize the Treatment Case Report so that patients can use it to make informed treatment decisions. Patients often have questions about their insurance benefits (including deductibles, maximums, and coverage estimates). When they have a lot of treatment, they often want to know how much it would be to fix just the immediate problems instead of getting the total to fix everything. And they want to understand the cost of each procedure and whether they are getting the best price. You can customize the Treatment Case Report to demonstrate all of this information to patients during your case presentations.
The case printouts you present to patients don’t include answers to the common questions patients are asking. When you explain treatment options to your patients, you end up writing extra information on the case printouts. You want to appear more professional and organized to your patients when you present treatment options to them, and you want to give them all the information they need to make an informed decision about their treatment.
Customize the Treatment Case Summary report to include the information you need so that you don’t have to hand write extra information on the report. Use the filters in the Treatment Case Report to include information that will answer the most common patient questions. Adjust the settings for the deductibles/dental maximums displayed on the report, sub-total estimates by visit, and compare two fee schedules on the report.
Step 1: Include or exclude dental plan maximums and deductibles
One of the common ways you will customize the Treatment Case Report to present treatment to patients is by including and excluding dental plan maximums or deductibles. If it is near the end of the year or if patients have already used their benefits, they may want to see what it would cost to have the treatment done now with this year’s maximums factored in and what it would cost next year when their benefits renew.
The best way to do this is to create two versions of the Treatment Case Summary; one that factors in deductibles and maximums and one that doesn’t so you can show them what their benefits would cover this year and next year after the plan renews.
To use dental plan maximums and deductible totals in the case summary, in the Treatment Planner, select the treatment plan case you want to print, click the Print button, and then select Print Treatment Case. In the Insurance group box, check the Use Dental Plan Maximums and Deductibles option to factor those totals into the insurance estimates on the case summary printout. Set the other report options as desired and click OK.
Print a second version of the case summary with this option unchecked. Then you can use the two summaries to compare what the treatment would cost this year with the deductible and/or maximums having been met and what it would cost next year with the deductible and maximums not having been met yet so that patients can decide which option will work better for them.
Step 2: Sub-total case estimates by visit
For patients with extensive treatment plans, seeing the full total for the entire plan can be overwhelming. If patients are going to have treatment completed in stages you can show subtotals by visits and then let them focus on the estimate for each visit individually to make the estimates less overwhelming.
You can also exclude specific visits from the case summary. That way if the patient has some treatment that is cosmetic or optional you can assign that work to a specific visit number and exclude that visit number from the summary so the patient doesn’t even focus on it for now.
To sub-total case estimates by visit, in the Treatment Planner, select the treatment plan case you want to print, click the Print button, and then select Print Treatment Case. In the Case Procedure Options group box, enter the numbers of the visits you want to include on the printout. If you want to include all the visits, clear out any numbers in that field and Dentrix will include all visits. Check the Print Subtotals by Visit option to print a subtotal of the price estimates for each visit. Set the other report options as desired and click OK.
Note: You can include a range of visits by typing a range of numbers with a hyphen in between them (e.g. 1-4). Or, you can print specific visits by separating them with a comma (e.g. 1, 3, 5). You can also do a combination of the two (e.g. 1-3, 5).
Step 3: Compare two fee schedules on the case printouts
Price is often the biggest barrier to treatment case acceptance. Oftentimes, patients don’t realize that when they have insurance they are already receiving a discount on their treatment. When you present treatment to patients, one thing you can do to help them understand that concept is to compare your office fee schedule to their insurance fee schedule. Doing so will demonstrate how much it costs your office to perform the treatment (your office fee) and how much of a discount they are receiving from their insurance plan (the plan-negotiated fee).
Comparing two fee schedules also works to demonstrate to patients the value of participating in an in-office discount plan. You can show them how much it costs your office to perform the treatment (your office fee) and the discount they would receive by participating in your office plan (the discount plan fee schedule).
To compare two fee schedules on the case summary, select the treatment plan case you want to print, click the Print button, and then select Print Treatment Case. Check the Compare to Fee schedule option to add a secondary fee to the case printout. Click the search button to select the second fee you want to print on the printout and click OK. Set the other report options as desired and click OK.
Note: The default fee included on the printout is the fee used to determine the patient’s insurance estimate, which is based on the fee schedule used for that patient in the Family File.
Use the following checklist to help you implement ideas from this article in your practice.
- Talk with the treatment coordinators and team members who present treatment cases to patients and determine what the most common barriers to case acceptance are in your office and what problems you could solve by customizing the case summary printouts.
- During your next team meeting determine the default report settings you want to use on the Treatment Case Summary. Set up the defaults for that treatment report on all the computers where you present treatment to patients.
- If patients come to your office midway through the year and have already met their deductibles or used insurance benefits, update that information in the Family File so that when you present treatment cases you have current information about patient insurance benefits.
- When you make extensive treatment cases for patients, assign visits to the procedures within the case so that you can break the treatment up into manageable pieces for the patients.
- If you do not have fee schedules set up for your major insurance carriers or your office discount plan, set up and update those fees as appropriate. If your office fee schedule is out of date, update it.
By Erin Brisk, Senior Editor
Originally published in Dentrix Magazine, Spring 2017