How patient finance is helping dentistry on the road to recovery
Eleanor Young speaks to Jay Parekh about how Medenta patient finance is helping their practice on the road to recovery.
‘We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat’ is a saying that has cropped up a lot during lockdown. Probably because it neatly sums up the fact that while many of us are ostensibly going through the same thing, we are at the same time having a unique experience with our own challenges and positive moments.
For dental practices, there are some common challenges. But the specifics and how we deal with it can vary massively.
Many practices have taken this unusual period and the time away from practising clinical dentistry to focus and reflect on their business and use it as a catalyst for change.
Again, the kind of changes are different for each practice and practitioner.
For Campbell Dental Practice, a mixed NHS and private practice, one big change they implemented post-lockdown was to massively increase their marketing for Invisalign. This has led to a big uptake in treatments.
I spoke to the practice’s business manager, Jay Parekh, to find out more.
What kind of treatments are most popular among patients right now?
Jay: I think it depends on what you’re promoting. We didn’t run any marketing campaigns during lockdown. But since 17 June we have significantly pushed Invisalign. The majority, if not all, of our patients applying for our Medenta patient finance are doing so to fund Invisalign.
Since we began marketing Invisalign, mainly on social media, we’ve had 350 enquiries. This is quite high for us and the uptake did surprise us.
We have been offering Invisalign and patient finance for a while. But we’ve not really marketed it before; it was just something we brought up in conversation with the patients during appointments.
What do you think the reasons are behind this demand?
Jay: Lots of patients say that they’re not going on holiday. So they have more surplus cash to spend on themselves.
And we’ve also been hearing a lot from patients who are suddenly seeing themselves – and their teeth – on video calls. They realise how other people see them and have decided they need to take action.
If you weren’t marketing Invisalign much before lockdown, why did you start marketing it after reopening?
Jay: It was always obvious that in order to get more traction with high-end treatment, we needed to invest in marketing to raise awareness. But when we’re running a busy practice with a large NHS contract, it just wasn’t a priority.
You tend to find that a lot of large NHS practices don’t market their private treatment that heavily. They just don’t have the time.
But we decided to utilise time outside of our NHS diary to do the things that we’ve always wanted to do but haven’t been able to.
Given the success you’ve had, will you continue with this marketing campaign?
Jay: Yes, it will be ongoing now.
The marketing budget I set aside for this is now a monthly spend because of the demand we have seen. Even if we don’t always have a busy Invisalign month, the marketing still adds to our overall new patient base.
This is the new way of operating for us. Even when we’re fully back up and running, seeing our full list of NHS patients, we’re going to make sure we can continue meeting this demand.
Fifteen to 20 years ago, orthodontics and aligners in adults wasn’t so prevalent.
Over the years, influenced by factors like social media and reality TV, it has steadily crept up and become almost the norm.
This is all sounding very positive! How optimistic are you about the future?
Jay: We do feel really positive about the number of patients enquiring and taking up our Invisalign and patient finance.
For practices like us, with an NHS contract, the NHS is still a big part of our income stream. We’re still committed to delivering NHS services alongside the private treatments.
But we will be strict about how we allocate our time between the NHS and private services. To make a business really successful, you need to have a balance of both.
Medenta offers some of the lowest subsidy rates in the market and is one of the few providers of finance solutions to also offer a comprehensive support service, including an online patient application portal and an e-learning suite. For more information call: 01691 684175 or visit: www.medenta.com.