“We are a busy fully private four-surgery dental practice in central York with a large and loyal patient base.
We decided to switch to Denplan so we could concentrate more on a preventive approach for our patients. We can ensure a more regular attendance for both routine examinations and hygiene visits without the usual lag many patients seem to build into their routine dental care. A number of studies have shown patients who are on payment plans attend far more regularly then their pay as you go counterparts.
Routine radiographs are another area we find very important; these now are not an issue to the patients as they are all included.
Another important area to us was that we were simply too busy. We needed to create space in our day books to undertake the more specialised areas of dentistry we had obtained all these qualifications in, so we decided to thin down our patient numbers (by passing them on to an associate) and we saw a Denplan conversion as a useful way of doing this.’
Patients had the option of staying on our list as Denplan patients or seeing our Associate as pay as you go, albeit with limited numbers.
‘We decided we should offer both Essentials and Care to our patients as all the preventive areas were covered and it did give the patients an element of choice (which we found quite useful on occasions). It does also give the practice the best of both worlds, income-wise, as you have a large group of patients generating a regular income on Care but you also have the capacity to increase your income undertaking pay as you go work on the Essentials’ patients.
The front desk seem much happier due to the decreased amount of administration, the majority of patient interactions (routine examination and hygiene visits) now do not need any ‘over the counter’ financial transactions which frees them up time to do other tasks.
We found the conversion process fairly straightforward but I cannot stress enough the importance of the wording of your letter; this is vital. Often we found the patients who were the unhappiest simply had not read the contents of their letter and really only made the first two lines before getting irritated. The majority of these would usually be perfectly happy with the situation if we could get them in and talk to them in person and actually explain the benefits to them.
We found the help of our Denplan Consultant invaluable for the first month of our conversion.
She was obviously very experienced in these things and was a very useful asset when it was needed and I would strongly recommend using a Consultant to everybody. It allows your own staff to do their normal daily tasks (whilst still answering questions about Denplan!) and really helps train them both in dealing with enquiries as well as filling out the correct forms etc. The staff can often be more apprehensive than you are (but not necessarily tell you) and it is extremely important you get them ‘on-side’ to make the whole process run quicker and smoother. If they can appreciate you are doing your best to help them it does help.
Our Denplan Consultant was a great help and worked extremely hard to ensure we had a smooth as conversion as possible. This work started many months before the letters were sent out and continued for a long time afterwards. She worked tirelessly for us and put in a lot of time and effort to help us and it was much appreciated.
There is that horrible thought that you may simply be cut adrift after the conversion but I assure you that this is not the case.
Although still fairly early on in the conversion process I would recommend this to other Dentists. In the short term of course it makes your working day harder and you will find problems to overcome but this has to be weighed against the fact that in the long run it will help your working days run a lot more smoothly. It will also help your staff’s working days run more smoothly and ultimately benefit your patients.”
Nigel Kirk Dentist at Castlegate Dental Surgery, York