Using comprehensive dental treatment plans is a proactive way to educate patients, eliminate misunderstandings and complaints, and build valuable levels of trust and credibility. Plus, reviewing a treatment plan provides a wonderful opportunity for more meaningful and transparent communication. That facilitates a better understanding of patients and their individual needs, circumstances, and preferences.
A treatment plan is a blueprint to holistic dental health that spells out exactly why procedures are recommended. It details what the potential risks are if treatments are postponed, and discloses what the total financial cost to the patient will be. Patients see for themselves why the dentist’s plan is in their own best interest, and not just an attempt by the dentist to make more money. They are fully informed about why it may help them avoid greater risk to their health. They can also clearly see why not following the plan could ultimately lead to more dental problems and higher healthcare expenses.
A treatment plan may explain, for example, that the patient has a hairline crack in their tooth where there is also an old, unstable filling. The plan outlines a restoration procedure with a crown, and shows price options based on the type of crown used. It details the potential risk of postponing the procedure, and the potential limitations of the treatment. The scheduling of each phase of treatment or follow-up is also outlined. The treatment plan is dated, printed, signed by the dentist, and also signed by the patient who receives a copy.
Too often, patients are not given that overall understanding. Or it is only conveyed verbally, which can lead to confusion and misunderstandings. The dentist may not fully explain or reveal the price, and later the patient gets upset that the procedure cost more than expected. That makes it harder to collect, and can even trigger an official complaint or lawsuit. But when a comprehensive treatment plan is utilized, it offers full transparency plus reliable legal documentation.
The plan can also be updated as needed. The patient is always fully informed about the purpose of the treatment, and why it should be done on the recommended schedule. There is full financial transparency before they even set their next appointment, and insurance eligibility can be confirmed and factored into the price. The treatment plan reassures the patient that it is tailored specifically to their own unique healthcare and financial needs. The patient has been engaged, educated, and empowered to make their own informed choices.
Trust is vital, especially now that the cost of healthcare is skyrocketing and patients are assuming a greater portion of the financial responsibility. They are rightfully demanding increased transparency. They are shopping around for dentists and constantly comparing prices and services. Today’s patients won’t hesitate to switch to a new provider offering more of what they want. Be the provider they switch to, not the one they migrate away from to a competitor.
One of the most effective ways to provide that level of care is by offering patients clear and comprehensive treatment plans. Patients will feel that they are being treated with a superior level of personal consideration and quality care. That will inspire them to remain loyal, and to actively refer friends, family members, and coworkers.