navigating the new normal in dentistry

The COVID-19 pandemic has created huge disruption in 2020 in the dental care industry, and dentists everywhere are scrambling to prepare for what will likely be a difficult year financially for them. Loss of patient traffic flow and significantly decreased revenues for the first half of this year are severe problems for any dental practice. Hopefully, you’re sustaining.

Additionally, new expenses to sanitize and treat patients when they do start returning will most certainly eat into the operating expenses for all practices. Government guidelines mandate patient safety along with proper employee care, all of which add to the cost of running a solid practice. According to the American Dental Association, a report this month from the Ohio State University Periodontal Division, suggests that dentists consider buying more efficient air filters, UVC lights, and suction devices. There is definitely a “new normal” coming.

How are dental practices going to cope with managing costs and increasing revenue at the same time? When patients return, and they will soon if not already, their innate fear of going to the dentist needs to be reduced. One great way to accomplish that task is through transparency. 

Here are a few questions patients are likely going to ask before they want to see you: “How can I get good quality care with the new rules for dentists? What are your policies now because of the Coronavirus? I lost my dental insurance; can I afford to get my teeth checked? Do you have an alternative to insurance?” You’ll want to provide them answers that put them at ease.

Marketing your practice as ‘COVID friendly’ should be one part of an overall plan to increase foot traffic into your practice. There are many ways to do that, but one of those should be to engage with a partner who can assist you in creating a patient-friendly environment that accommodates not only your need to improve your immediate bottom line but also develop solid long term growth in your patient base.

Before the Coronavirus became prevalent in the population, about 23 percent of the American public did not have a dental care plan of some type. In the last 90 days, unemployment has skyrocketed from 3 percent to almost 15 percent, with a record 23 million people out of work by the end of April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics recent report. Many of those employees lost their dental coverage when they lost their jobs. There is a definite need for all those families to regain benefits, including a dental membership program.

Also, one key element of the population is the senior adult group, many of which do not have a dental plan of any kind and are the most susceptible to the Coronavirus. They are the most at risk for oral health. New results from the National Poll on Aging, carried out by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, indicate that over half of this demographic is without any type of dental benefit.  

Multi-location groups with large financial overhead and a dwindling patient base due to the pandemic, in particular, need solid answers to challenging business needs. With the dental industry experiencing difficult economic times, it makes sense for any dental service organization to engage a knowledgeable business partner that has the expertise and reputation to help them.

As previously mentioned, people generally want to know what they are buying, and how it works. Dental insurance has certain restrictions based on a lack of transparency at the checkout counter. Front office personnel are trained to file claims for those who are insured; but if a patient lacks an insurance plan, the cost of treatment often gives the patient a severe case of sticker shock, especially the older generation who are typically living on fixed incomes. 

Growing a dental practice should be where the provider focuses on the care of the patient, and the front office handles the billing and patient accounts. Isn’t it time for your dental practice and/or organization to help your patients get the treatment they deserve? You can accomplish this and more by providing an affordable way for them to keep coming back to your practice on a regular basis. By offering a simple dental membership that has no hassles, and the average family can afford, you’ve not only added to their comfort, but also to your financial stability.

Get ready now to increase chair time, pay your bills, engage knowledgeable staff, and add more income to your bottom line through recurring revenue streams. After all, your patients need you, and you need them. Help families and seniors come back and give them the care they’ve missed. Plan now for the “new normal.”

Interested in learning more?  Schedule a quick 20-minute consultation here: https://calendly.com/michaelshuman/demo?month=2020-05

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