For the sake of patient autonomy, often doctors feel inclined to give their patients a multitude of treatment options. While patients ultimately have the final say in whether they will accept their provider’s recommended medical or dental treatment, a plethora of options is overwhelming. Patients may decline the best treatment option due to financial hardships, misinformation, a conflicting second opinion, fear, something they read on the internet, an inferior treatment being pushed by the insurance carrier and many other reasons. Those reasons aside, most patients simply want their doctor to tell them what they would do if in their situation.

We have found that the most successful way to get informed consent for recommended medical/dental treatment is to communicate the best treatment for the patient and emphasize the facts and reasoning behind why this treatment or procedure is being recommended. Do not waste time explaining every single option to the patient, only spend time educating on the best treatment for them. Should the patient decline this treatment, a secondary option can be suggested. The patient should know that this second alternative is not the recommended treatment and may not give them the best results.

To illustrate this point, seven or so years ago my wife needed some dental work. The dentist wanted to do an implant but the insurance carrier a bridge. Since the implant cost more, I thought the doctor was pushing the more expensive treatment for their benefit, but I was wrong! Afterward, the bridge was a distant second to the implant and I regret following the advice of the insurance carrier to this day. The doctor knew best and I only wished the doctor has called me to discuss it or sold the implant with more confidence and determination.

So what should you do?

,Stay up to date with the best treatment protocols.

  • Insurance benefits by offering lower-cost treatments that are in their best interest not the patients. If you let insurance dictate treatment, you may get blamed for the poor outcome.
  • Remind the patient that insurance companies are not clinicians and do not have the patient’s best interest in mind.
  • Go to conferences and learn about the latest and greatest treatments and technology.

Be confident and bold that your treatment suggestion will produce results.

  • If you don’t believe in the treatment, neither will the patient.
  • Warranty the results to build patient confidence if they are not confident.
  • Remind the patient that your treatment suggestion is based on thousands of experiences that they don’t have.
  • By explaining the process and results to the patient, it helps them make the right decision.

If there is opposition from an insurance carrier or lack of funds, use your own story or mine above to persuade the patient.

  • Start now building a list of success stories that you can share.

Role-play your talking points and sales pitch in the office.

  • The more serious you take roleplaying, the better the outcome will be.
  • You can use the same verbiage with all patients you are recommending a treatment to.
  • Most of their questions and concerns will be the same so role play with your employees to nail down your sales pitch.

To participate in this week’s poll, “How Often Do You Alter Recommended Treatment Based On Patient Finances?”

The reason we are publishing these articles is so that your office can increase its success. We appreciate your feedback on how we can help you more and love it when you pass these articles along to other practice owners and office managers. 

Developing a management report is not easy and Doctors CFO currently has a robust model for most practice types that is customized for our monthly and bi-monthly clients. If you have questions on how this model applies to your practice or you are interested in applying the Doctors CFO model in your practice, via one of our annual, bi-monthly or monthly assessments, please contact us.

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