Dentistry focus: Looking after the pennies

If you work in private practice, it’s likely finances are always at the forefront of your mind. So, there’s no time like the present to take a closer look at your practice income and expenditure to ensure you’re not only offering good value to patients, but getting the best value from your suppliers.

Unique selling points
It’s easy to underestimate the value of your expertise and the time you spend caring for patients, so it’s worth finding out what other local practices charge. Remember, patients may be willing to pay a little more for what they perceive to be friendlier service, better facilities, a good location, a more attractive environment, a wide range of treatments and a modern, innovative approach such as with minimal intervention (MI). Correctly conveyed, the MI message is particularly valuable to patients since research suggests they are happier to pay for advice and preventive action than more invasive remedial treatments.

Retaining your patients’ loyalty

It’s also worth taking a closer look at the balance of patients at your practice on payment plans compared to those paying as they go. It may well be that offering a range of plans could tip the scales to give you more security as we know that payment plan patients are least likely to delay or cancel an appointment .

The lifetime value of a Denplan registered patient, for example, is equivalent to £3,600. Therefore, losing just 15 patients could cost your practice a hefty £54,000. While some loss is inevitable, through relocation or patients dying, it’s important to do all you can to keep existing patients loyal and to keep a consistent flow of new patients joining the practice.

New patients
When it comes to growing your patient list, the most important task is ensuring every member of your practice team is confident and knowledgeable about the products and services you offer. A helpful approach and a clear, concise summary of plans and services on offer will go a long way towards convincing the caller to sign up as a patient. It may be that your practice team could benefit from some refresher training to make the most of every recruitment opportunity.
Have you also considered taking advantage of marketing opportunities to ensure your practice becomes more recognised in your community?

You can enjoy inexpensive, or even free, publicity for the practice by holding competitions, open days or charity fundraising events and taking time to send press releases to the local media. The more familiar your practice name becomes, the more likely new patients are to approach you, and some payment plan providers can even help you with additional marketing and PR support as part of your membership.

What’s your best price?
While maintaining and growing your patient list is vital to ensure a profitable practice, it also makes good business sense to ensure your goods and services expenditure is kept to a minimum without compromising on quality. From infection control services to equipment maintenance, dental materials to laboratory work, every one of your orders and contracts is negotiable. Take the time to shop around. Devoting a little attention to your practice income and expenditure will soon reap its rewards. As the housekeeping saying goes: ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.’

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