How to Have Productive Financial Conversations and Keep Your Dental Patients Engaged

Confidence is key when having financial conversations with your dental patients. That confidence could be a major factor in a patient accepting treatment, improving their oral health, and supporting your dental practice’s revenue stream. 

For the most part, case presentations arrive at the same place: financials. That destination typically involves a variety of questions from a patient.

  • “Why does my treatment cost so much?”
  • “Will insurance cover my treatment?”
  • “Are there other options that are less expensive?”

Patient perception about treatment value compared with cost can be all over the map. You and your team have likely heard it all.



Money Talks…But Money-Talk? That’s Another Thing!

No doubt, money-talk is stressful. And yet your patient’s financial responsibility for treatment must be addressed.

There are effective talking points you and your team can master that have the potential to reduce the doom and gloom of financial conversations.

An effective strategy revolves around:

  • Self-awareness about patient expectations regarding fees for service
  • Full and/or timely payment solutions
  • Engaging your patients around their treatment experience
  • Eliminating surprises with up-front, clear communication

Let’s build on these money-talk dynamics for more confident and effective patient financial conversations.

How to Have Productive Financial Conversations (and Keep your Patients Engaged)

Prep your patient’s “financial mindset” in advance. You educate your patients about dentistry. Why not include the value of investing in their oral health?

Financial conversations can be less of a shock if you pre-heat their expectations ahead of time. This helps produce a more authentic communication process when it’s time to discuss fees.

  • Use your dental practice website, blog page, and social media as channels for sharing financial information.
  • Create and publish content around financial themes, payment options for treatment, insurance, etc.
  • Include a financing page on your dental practice website with FAQs about payments and insurance.
  • Provide your patients a secure payment portal on your website where they can review payment solutions and make timely payments.

These intentional strategies will help keep financial matters front of mind and help prepare new and current patients for pending conversations around their treatment.

Train Your Team in the Art of Money-Talk

It’s common for team members (and perhaps you) to feel uncomfortable discussing finances. Your team’s mindset (like your patient’s) requires advance preparation.

  • Routinely clarify and be open to your team’s questions (or concerns) about your practice’s revenue stream, overhead, production goals, etc.
  • Connect care value to fee structure. Treatment costs follow a variety of factors such as lab costs, chair-time, production value.
  • Dedicate a segment of your monthly or quarterly team meetings to training for financial conversations. Focus on conversational tone, key talking points, and clinical to business team hand-offs.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open with your Patients

Be careful not to assume that a patient remembers discussing treatment costs and/or payment options. This is important when time gaps, postponement, or unscheduled treatment is relevant.

Communication is the key—as is eliminating surprises—when treatment costs are on the high end.

  • Keep patients in the loop on their treatment plan, accepted treatment, and total (out of pocket) costs.
  • Use email when possible to keep scheduled treatment and required fees in front of patients.
  • Anticipate questions from patients especially regarding costly treatment plans. Be prepared with insurance coverage date and clarification about payment solutions.

Align Financial Responsibility with your Patient Experience

Start by removing any tone relative to a hidden agenda around fees for service. This has much to do with the attitude and mindset you and your team project about treatment financials.

  • Make sure fee information is current.
  • Encourage patients to ask questions about financial arrangement and payment options.
  • Be clear when answering or discussing payment for treatment. Your confidence helps patients attach value to your services and their financial responsibility.

Confident financial conversations and good patient relationships can be supported by data analytics.
The Jarvis Analytics platform helps assure that you’re tracking the important metrics and staying on track with your goals as your dental practice and/or DSO grows and expands.


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