Les Jones, Marketing Director at Practice Plan, explains why patient finance has vast potential in these difficult financial times.
Which of these two questions is the most relevant to you when buying a house? Is it, ‘What’s the asking price?’ or is it ‘Can I afford the monthly repayments?’
I know what it is for me, and it’s the same when I’m looking to replace my car. In fact, on a recent insurance form, I couldn’t actually recall how much my new car retailed for, only how much per month it costs me.
These questions are now becoming more and more relevant to the dental industry, and here’s a personal example of why.
My eldest daughter, Hannah, is 26-years-old and is now well into her second year working as a professional Occupational Therapist. She’s recently finished a ‘Six Month Smile’ course of treatment to re-align her jaw and close a large gap between her two front teeth. It’s something that she’s wanted to do for quite a while. The cost of the treatment was approximately £2,500.
Despite being a working girl for almost two years, there was no way that she could have paid for the treatment in one go. And, with three more siblings still at home, the bank of Dad has been closed for a while!
However, she still went through with the treatment; and the single, most important factor in her decision-making was the fact that our dental practice offers patient finance through Medenta. The ability to spread the cost of the treatment over two years made it affordable…and that’s the key word here.
In these difficult financial times, fewer people have the means to pay upfront for costly dental treatments. And for practices that do not offer patient finance, that could mean the difference between a patient going forward with a treatment plan or not.
The demand for cosmetic and aesthetic dentistry continues to rise and for many individuals it is seen as an important investment in themselves – Hannah certainly saw it this way. It’s helped to boost her self-confidence and made her less self-conscious. For that reason, it was an investment with a high-value return.
Just as it is with a mortgage, the final cost of the treatment was irrelevant; for Hannah, the key question was ‘Can I afford it?’ The answer was ‘Yes’ – paying a hundred and something pounds a month has been easily budgeted into her monthly outgoings. In fact, since the treatment, she’s added the cost of tooth whitening onto her account.
So, the question for your practice is, ‘are you missing out on additional income and profit from treatment plans that are not taken up, for the sake of a simple and cost-effective solution?’ The evidence says that many practices are, which also means that, as a result, many patients are also missing out on treatment that could make a huge impact on their lives. Patient finance has the potential to turn an existing lose/lose into a win/win. Food for thought!