Make Same Day Starts Routine In your Practice
If your practice is not doing habitual same day starts, you are missing out on huge revenue growth.
Our practice never really focused on starting patients the same day until the beginning of 2016. On December 31st, 2015 we were all feeling really accomplished. We just finished another record-breaking year, and we had already scheduled a tremendous amount of new patient starts in January. By January 15th, 2016 our mood changed. Nearly half of our scheduled patient starts no-showed, rescheduled, and/or canceled. That trend continued well into January and the beginning part of February.
It might have been a fluke, but in January and February this year, we had more patients cancel or no-show their scheduled starts than in the entirety of 2015. So, instead of toasting Champagne to a great start to 2016, we found ourselves disappointed by the slow start to the year. Then I read an awesome article over on Ben Burris’ OrthoPundit by Dr. Jamie Reynolds one of the founders of OrthoFi.
In his article, he shared some stunning statistics about same day starts using data from 60,000 OrthoFi new patient exams and transactions. First, he shared that 98.6% of patients who sign a contract, but do not get braces bonded, actually end up following thru with their start. If the patient schedules a starting appointment but does not sign a contract or get their braces bonded, they are only 80.4% likely to actually follow thru. Additionally, if the patient leaves without an appointment, the conversion rate drops again to 49.4%
After reading that article, I had a new goal. Get patients to sign the contract the day of the consultation. When we get a signed contract, we are 18.2% more likely to start the case and collect a case fee. That is HUGE! So, we worked on transitioning our verbiage and our process to make same day contracts normal in our practice. (Side note: we do not hard sell patients…not even close. We merely act as if it is normal for people to get started today.)
We immediately noticed a more than 5% increase in our new patient case acceptance. Subsequently, 2016 has turned out to be our best year ever, by a long shot.
So where do you go from here? Well, even if you haven’t identified this as a problem in your practice, yet (like we did earlier this year), try it out!
- You don’t need to worry about the scheduling heroics of force-fitting a bonding in the middle of a busy afternoon.
- You don’t need to worry about the wasted resources of having an empty same day start chair.
- You don’t even have to worry about bonding braces at all, just focus on getting a signed contract. Of course, we still take additional records (a ceph) to “get started.” But, taking a ceph takes seconds compared to bonding.
Happy same-day starting! You can do it!