Findings on Dental Patient Behavior and Trends Point to Newsletters

October 13, 2016    By Becky Sheetz ()

Findings on Dental Patient Behavior and Trends Point to Newsletters

Do you know how you compare with other dentists across the country when it comes to retaining new patients? According to recent research from the Journal of the American Dental Association, dentists across the country retain an average of only 41% of new patients.

Is your retention as good as average? An even better question is this: Is this average rate of 41% good enough for your practice?

If you are like most successful dentists, you aren’t satisfied with average and want far better for your practice.

Why do so many new patients not come back?
Following this finding of the average new patient retention rates, MarulaNY Consulting conducted further research. They found that a very significant reason for nonreturns is that 42% do not have or cannot afford dental insurance.

Your practice can’t possibly fix so many patients’ insurance and financial woes. But there are some factors behind patient attrition that you can overcome.

MarulaNY Consulting found that another key factor is the sense of urgency and importance with which patients regard their dental health. They found that 26% of patients don’t believe their dental problems are important enough to address, so they don’t return to the dentist to seek treatment. We’re not sure if this means they never seek treatment, or postpone it until they can no longer live with the condition.

There can be many factors behind the decision not to seek treatment, with finances often playing a key role. However, how well patients understand their treatment options—as well as the short-and long-term effects of postponing treatment—is critical.

Dental patient newsletters offer solutions to these challenging trends.
By sending new (and existing) patients newsletters, you keep your practice top of mind and remind them of your expertise and that you care about them. These can be powerful forces in encouraging patients to return to your office for treatment, regular cleanings and oral health evaluation. Savvy dentists never underestimate the importance of showing patients that you value their trust.

Patient education is critical to ensuring that patients know the importance of treatment. If theirs is a condition that will cost more later if they don’t address it now, they need to fully understand that. If a patient has an issue now that will compromise oral health and adversely impact appearance in years to come, you must inform your patient. It’s easy for a dentist to take for granted that patients fully understand these factors when they often do not. Dental newsletters are an exceptional source of patient education. They reach patients’ inboxes monthly, and dentists keep them around their offices as reading material. Patient newsletters reinforce what you tell your patients about their conditions and treatment options. A patient newsletter can help you cross-sell dental services. And they keep high-quality content in front of patients that is engaging, easy to skim and easy to understand.

For more of the MarulaNY Consulting findings, view the INFOGRAPHIC: The secrets of dental patient retention.

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