Words of Wisdom from Jeanette Kern DDS

Every patient is different. Overcoming a patient’s obstacles to treatment may take some finesse. The diagnosis and treatment plan are typically the easier task. In this series, Words of Wisdom, we have asked the experts from our Protocol Directory “How would you help your patient overcome their obstacle(s)?”

Patient Obstacle: “I just can’t afford it.”

When a patient voices an objection to treatment, it is very important for the clinician to realize that it does not necessarily mean a rejection of the recommendation. An objection may indicate a “No, not right now,” so you must find out more information.

Ask the patient what they mean by “I just can’t afford it.” Hear them out completely. Demonstrate empathy, concern and understanding. You may want to say “In today’s economic times, we all have to be careful how we budget our money. What I’m hearing you say is you understand the need for the care, but you sense a strain on your budget, is that right?” You must confirm the patient does indeed desire the care and that price is the only/main objection.

Solutions should be brought up as questions. For example, “If we were to prioritize the treatment over a period of time so you could budget it out, would that be something you’d be interested in?” Another solution could be to proceed with presenting the complete treatment plan and explain how the patient would use an outside financing company to make affordable monthly payments over time. Would this work for them?

Once the objection has been fully addressed, and the patient has agreed to a solution, then you can proceed to the specifics of financial arrangements and scheduling.

For more Words of Wisdom from Dr. Jeanette Kern, visit the Profitable Dental Academy page of our Protocol Directory.

Jeanette Kern DDS
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