How to Maximize Dental Practice Revenue During Inflation Without Increasing Fees

The dreaded “i” word, inflation, isn’t just throwing consumers for a loop—it’s also seriously impacting the profitability of dental practices.

While increases in dental costs as a result of higher prices haven’t been as bleak as for consumers, they’re still pinching practices. In June 2022 alone, dental services increased 1.9%, the largest monthly change ever recorded by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Similarly, 35% of dentists pegged inflation and rising equipment costs as their biggest concern in an American Dental Association poll earlier this year.

How do you maintain and grow your practice’s financial health with rising costs squeezing your revenue? The simple answer is to adopt strategies that generate more revenue—and that doesn’t have to be as difficult as it might seem. These best practices and solutions can help you increase production, accelerate payments, and acquire more new patients so you can combat inflation and continue to increase profitability.

Bump up per appointment production

By combining care treatments into a single visit that would normally be provided in separate appointments, you can increase per appointment revenue while reducing expenditures for team salaries, practice operating hours, and supply costs.

Leverage incentive marketing to raise per patient production

Many manufacturers are introducing incentives on products and services to offset inflationary pressures. You can leverage that opportunity by running targeted campaigns to drive new production. For example, you can easily bump up a $350 appointment to a $450 visit by preparing patients ahead of time for specific promotions and offers via newsletters and group messaging. Leverage pre-visit patient education to promote teeth-whitening deals, fluoride specials, and filling upgrades.

Reprioritize recall with active measures

Don’t forget that in dentistry, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Many patients may still need to reconnect with your practice in the wake of the pandemic. These are low-hanging fruit opportunities that can be capitalized on through active recall efforts. A systematic approach to recall can help your practice get patients of all ages back in the office for regular hygiene checks, cleanings, and other necessary dental work.

A digital recall solution allows a practice to automatically send patients notices to book an appointment for necessary care based on a variety of patient criteria while unburdening administrative staff. A digital recall tool can add $95,000 of revenue annually per provider.

Developing a long-term recall strategy that relies on automation and text notifications can help your practice boost revenue flow while helping patients see better dental outcomes.

Accelerate your accounts receivable collections

Offering your practice a smarter, more efficient way to collect outstanding patient balances can be a steady source of increased revenue that is often overlooked. Since 85% of patients prefer electronic payment methods, giving them a digital payment option can be an effective way to recoup those outstanding balances.

An online payment tool helps a practice collect payments faster by sending patients a text message with a secure link to quickly and easily make a payment. And it’s not just a popular consumer convenience—65% of patients will consider switching practices for a better payment experience. An online bill pay solution will win over patients while helping your practice pick up the pace of billing collection.

Bolster new patient acquisition efforts

Another can’t-miss approach to revenue creation is simply adding more patients to your practice. “Happy patients” are typically more than willing to give referrals when asked. A referral tool can automate that process by sending personalized invitations to patients who give practices high marks on satisfaction surveys to share referrals. Add “Refer a Friend” links to your practice’s website and newsletters to make it easy and convenient to submit names.

And don’t forget that nine out of 10 patients look at online reviews when looking for a dentist, so consider an online reputation management solution to help your practice get more glowing 5-star patient reviews. These tools automate the process of asking patients to leave a review on Google, Facebook, or Yelp. Just as importantly, it helps you track, collect and compare reviews. This ensures your practice gets both the quantity and quality of reviews to ensure that people searching for a dentist book a visit with your practice rather than with the guy down the street. It’s a cost-effective way to accelerate practice acquisition efforts and grow revenue.

Bottom Line

Don’t give inflation the chance to wreck your revenue. These best practices and tools can help you successfully navigate financial pressures so you can book more appointments, increase per patient production, and attract more new patients. In turn, you’re able to maximize your revenue and expand your business.

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