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Do You Know How Many Treatment Plans Were Not Accepted and Why?


he comprehensive treatment plan is a core principle in clinical dentistry.  But the success of the plan depends upon careful history taking, logical progression from diagnosis to treatment and, most importantly, getting the patient to return for the suggested treatments.  Obviously a treatment plan that’s never done helps neither the practice nor the patient.

After the dentist completes the examination and writes up the treatment plan, he or she must discuss it with the patient to ensure full understanding.  Be certain they know why each step is on the plan.  What is the dental problem the patient is facing and how will the prescribed procedure help solve that particular difficulty.  Make sure the patient knows what the procedures are and what they mean.  This step is crucial to the patient following through on the plan.

Survey each Patient After the Treatment Plan Presentation.

One way to discover how each doctor is doing with their treatment plans and how the patients are responding, is for another member of the team to survey the patient after the treatment plan presentation.

The survey can be simple and short, but It should cover how well the patient understood the proposed plan and whether they agreed with it.  Also, is the patient ready to make the appointment for the next treatment step?  If the patient seems disinclined to accept the treatment plan, don’t guess at the reason find out why.

This survey steps is a great opportunity to correct or fine-tune your practice’s treatment plan presentations.

Example question for your survey
What was the main reason for not agreeing to the treatment plan today?

  • Medical procedures were not clear
  • Do not see the need in the suggested procedures
  • The price is too high
  • Going to get a 2nd opinion
  • Have to think about the plan

How Many Patients Accept the Plan for Each Doctor?

When there are several dentists in the office, it’s important to find out the treatment plan acceptance rate for each doctor.  Once of the many excellent reasons for having several doctors in one practice is that they can help each other.  Once doctor might be great at presenting treatment plans and options to patients, while others may lag behind.  Find out who’s the best and have them help the other doctors improve their treatment plan presentations.

Keeping Track

Keep a separate file of all the treatment plans that have been presented to patients.  Go over this folder on a regular basis to see which patients have returned to continue treatments and which have not.

Patients continuing with their treatment plans go in one group. Those who haven’t come back go in a different group.  These patients need to be called or emailed to find out why they decided not to complete their treatments.

When a patient has completed their plan, remove it from the file.

By keeping close track of treatment plans, you can learn how to improve this vital aspect of practice management.

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