What’s in the Future for Orthodontics?

Hard to believe that 2019 is almost in the books.That time of year is upon us again where we reflect and make resolutions to improve ourselves both personally and professionally.

Maybe it’s finally getting started on your exercise program. Or you’re thinking about how you can make changes in your practice to not only survive another year but make this the year you thrive.

The best way to do that is to ask yourself some very hard questions:

  • Have you really taken the steps you need to improve efficiencies in your practice?
  • Have you made essential changes that will help you dramatically increase your conversion rate?
  • How will you replace dwindling referral sources with direct-to-market strategies to keep new patient flow coming to your office?

At People & Practice, we believe that the golden age of orthodontics is still ahead of us. New technologies are creating opportunities for orthodontists to become faster, more efficient, and deliver patients the convenience they crave in treatment.

We help prepare orthodontists for the future by creating marketing that leads to increased new patient flow and then help you convert those potential patients at a higher rate all while tracking performance and success.

Let’s talk now about how you can make 2020 the year you transform your practice! Click here to contact us today.

Our Next Podcast Guest: Charlene White

We speak with Charlene White, owner of Progressive Concepts, an orthodontic practice management consultant with over 35 years of experience helping to improve practice performance. In this episode, Charlene gives us her advice on how she evaluates a practice and optimizes systems to improve efficiency and profitability.

Topics covered include:

  • Some examples of the KPIs Charlene looks for when evaluating a practice’s performance and how they can be improved
  • Importance of pivoting a practice from depending on referral flow to direct-to-market strategies
  • Tips to for a healthy recall system
  • Building a peak performance team
  • The most important thing to help you dramatically increase patient starts

About Our Guest:

Charlene White is an Orthodontic Consultant with over 35 years of experience in the orthodontic practice management field. Her company, Progressive Concepts, Inc., specializes in orthodontic consulting services, practice management workshops, group seminars, and training products. Charlene offers both in-office consultations and off-site management services. There is no better return on investment for an orthodontic practice than a consultation with Charlene White. Production and profits increase all while teamwork and stress improve, immensely.

Click here to listen to the episode and subscribe: https://pplpractice.com/episode-8/

Orthodontists: Don’t pour new patients into a leaky bucket

We spend a lot of time talking about how to increase patient flow to replace dwindling referral sources. A solid direct-to-market program that encompasses social media, targeted online advertising, and reputation management (Google reviews) can all work together to influence qualified patients to pick up the phone or email you to schedule a consultation. This is only half the battle. 

The other challenge is to convert potential patients into paying customers. It’s no use filling a bucket with patients if it’s full of holes. Below are five proven strategies we put to use after analyzing the stats of hundreds of client practices across the country.

Talk fees on the first visit

Many orthodontists were taught that they don’t speak to patients about finances on the first visit. Those days are over. People have less time (and patience). They want all the facts so they can make decisions quickly. On more involved cases it will still be necessary to take more time before planning out treatment and costs but for the routine case it’s more advantageous to do it all in one visit. Patients will appreciate the convenience and speed in which you work.

Lower you initial fee

Some orthodontists are still charging and initial fee of upwards of $1,800. This doesn’t fly anymore. Patients are stretched thin. You have to lower the barrier to entry, We found the sweet spot is a $500 down payment to help patients commit to treatment.

Make monthly payments affordable

Historically, patient delinquency rates in the orthodontic industry are low, around 3%. This means you can stretch the monthly payment beyond the planned treatment time by 6 to 8 months to make their monthly payments more affordable, which should be around $150 per month.

Accept insurance payments directly

An easy way to make braces more affordable for patients is to find out their insurance benefits before the initial consultation and then accept payment directly from the insurance company as a partial payment. Asking families to deal with insurance reimbursements for treatment runs counter to how most doctor’s offices run their business today. This will go a long way to making the decision easier for patients to start treatment at your practice.

Lighten up

Make you office a fun place to be. Offer extras for parents and younger siblings while they wait like a fun zone and free coffee (for the parents not the young siblings!) Make it a place that kids want to come back to. This will also help retain recall patients. Remember people will not remember what you told them but they will remember how you made them feel.

If you want to know more about how to supercharge your marketing and increase patient starts for your practice, contact People & Practice today for a free marketing analysis, at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.

Our Next Podcast Guest: Dental Monitoring’s Mark van Weelde

We speak with Mark van Weelde, Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Dental Monitoring (DM), a transformative medical technology company that allows patients and orthodontists to communicate remotely to closely monitor treatment.

In this episode, we address the role DM can play in helping orthodontists compete with direct-to-consumer companies and how technology allows us to fill a gap in the marketplace providing the patient the convenience and speed they are looking for. We also address a concern of orthodontists that AI might detract from their role as a specialist.

Do not miss this in-depth discussion of these important issues.

Listen to the clip below and then click here to subscribe to our podcast to hear all of our many other informative and insightful conversations.

Our podcast, The Survival Guide for Orthodontists is dedicated to making you the authority in orthodontics to prospective new patients in your community. Click here to subscribe to the podcast, and listen to the latest episode. Subscribe today!

Our Next Podcast Guest: LeeAnn Peniche

We speak with LeeAnn Peniche about the techniques and efficiencies needed to run a modern orthodontic practice. Peniche is the founder and president of Peniche & Associates, a company that teaches orthodontists about the processes and marketing they need to excel in the business of orthodontics. In this episode we engage Peniche about her business philosophy and recommendations including topics like how to increase pure conversion numbers, assessing if a patient is open to virtual consultations, and the best way to implement limited treatment options into your practice.

In this episode we talk with LeeAnn Peniche about:

  • Addressing poor conversion rates and simplifying the process to get patients to yes
  • How patient demographics changes the way we communicate with them
  • Technological differentiators orthodontists have at their disposal to conduct more exams per day and increase patient acceptance
  • The benefits of advising patients on limited treatment for those who want a social six fix to get their “selfie smile” – as long as doctor takes full records and presents the options
  • LeeAnn Peniche’s tips for running a better practice

Listen to the clip below and then click here to subscribe to the podcast!

Our podcast, The Survival Guide for Orthodontists is dedicated to making you the authority in orthodontics to prospective new patients in your community. Click here to subscribe to the podcast, and listen to the latest episode. Subscribe today!

Increase Engagement on Facebook Through Comments

Social media is a powerful way to amplify your message, reach potential patients who may not be aware of your practice, and get your current clients to promote your service to their network by engaging with your content.

You have noticed a new way Facebook has been portraying comments to posts on your page.

According to Facebook:

“To improve relevance and quality, we’ll start showing comments on public posts more prominently when:

  • The comments have interactions from the Page or person who originally posted; or
  • The comments or reactions are from friends of the person who posted.

We will continue to take other signals into account so we do not prominently show low-quality comments, even if they are from the person who made the original post or their friends.”

If you want to boost engagement of your posts, try to engage with commenters who will encourage discussion (like Top Commenters or Discussion Starters). According to socialmediatoday.com:

“So, if you want to try and engage with more comments on your Page posts – which you should because it will likely help to boost your post reach – you should look to reply to those that will encourage more discussion, and prompt other users to either like or reply.”

Bottom line is to engage within the comment section of your posts. Don’t just set it and forget it. You have to be actively involved and take notice of who is a top or more engaging commenter on your posts.

For a full article on this topic, click here.

Our Next Podcast Guest: Dr Jonathan Nicozisis

On our latest podcast episode, we speak with Dr Jonathan Nicozisis – a national lecturer and educator who teaches about advanced techniques with Invisalign – about the disruption of the industry by clear aligner technology and the direct-to-consumer business model. His philosophy aligns with our own that doctors need to embrace the change and make it work for them instead of fighting it.

Listen in on our wide-ranging and informative conversation with Dr. Nicozisis in this episode that includes discussions about:

  • How clear aligner treatment is not being taught in residency programs and what Dr. Nicozisis is doing to fix that with his Aligner Intensive Fellowship program
  • The impact of communication on a local level to differentiate the specialist from the general dentist in orthodontic treatment
  • Changing the narrative on offering limited treatment to patients by discussing and educating patients and offering all the options
  • Addressing consumers’ desire for convenience that is driving them to direct-to-consumer alternatives
  • For fun we also play Monday Morning Quarterback and ask Dr. Nicozisis what he would do differently in hindsight as a young orthodontists just out of school

Our new podcast, The Survival Guide for Orthodontists is dedicated to making you the authority in orthodontics to prospective new patients in your community. Click here to subscribe to the podcast, and listen to the latest episode. Subscribe today!

Get More Out of Dental Monitoring

Changes to our specialty are all around us. Likewise, we have to change to ensure our practices continue to thrive.

Many of our clients have been evaluating Dental Monitoring, a mobile monitoring solution that allows doctors to control the position and shape of a patients’ teeth remotely and continuously. The system is designed to work with most treatment plans or post-treatment follow-ups, from regular brackets to lingual appliances or removable pre-planned aligners.

It’s a powerful piece of advanced technology.

But simply starting with a new piece of technology is only half the battle. Letting the right people know about it – and that you’re the first practice in your area to be providing it – is the other.

People & Practice has a comprehensive promotional program to highlight the benefits that come with a program like Dental Monitoring, including: fewer office visits, virtual appointments, faster treatment times, and texting with the doctor.

Your practice needs a marketing plan to communicate this to new patients who will value these benefits the most. Our goal is to take them from wherever they are online and bring them to your website to learn more and schedule an appointment, be it through a phone call, web form submission or sharing photos for a digital consult.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you roll out your new technologies, and promote your practice overall.

What We Learned at AAO This Year

We just returned from the AAO 2019 Annual Session in Los Angeles and we are excited to share what we have learned.

Yes, we were invited to give a lecture on practice marketing, but because this is the biggest orthodontic conference in the world, it was just as important for us to find out the latest and greatest so we can stay at the forefront of this rapidly changing industry. These changes are affecting the way we do business and challenging independent orthodontists’ abilities to adapt if they are to survive.

We thought it’d be helpful to share some of our observations regarding trends and technology, particularly for those who weren’t there. Here are a few things we learned:

  • Manufacturers are responding to increasing demand for clear aligners. That means more companies are out there providing more aligners than ever before. While we believe braces won’t ever go away for kids, for the teen and adult population it is only going to continue to grow. We cannot fight this. We need to buckle down and start focusing hard on getting the same result we’ve been able to get with brackets, but with plastic.
  • Disruption doesn’t mean extinction. Technology partners are launching innovations that will help orthodontists adjust to the direct-to-consumer disruption. Digital initial consultations and/or Artificial Intelligence-assisted remote treatment monitoring can reduce office visits, provide a more convenient experience, and foster better communication with patients. These are things that consumers are demanding and we can provide it for them.
  • Digital printing options are becoming easier and cheaper for the average practice. This exciting development gives lower volume practices a way to treat simple cases with less overhead, and less overload on your staff.

There is no doubt about it, the digital native demographic is becoming the decision-maker in matters of orthodontics. We need to prepare ourselves to utilize these innovations to differentiate our practices, provide a competitive edge, and moreover, give them what they are looking for.

Our expertise in digital marketing helps you communicate with the digital natives in your community so they understand that your practice best meets their needs. We ensure your practice is poised for success and has every tool you need to become the orthodontic practice of choice for a new generation.

If you’re interested in learning more about these trends and technologies, let us know. We’re making recommendations and then marketing them to the consumer on behalf of our clients.

Let’s talk about how that might work for your practice.

Subscribe to Our Podcast – Next Guest: Align Technology CEO Joseph Hogan

Are you an orthodontist wondering how to grow your practice in this fast-paced, competitive marketplace that seems to be changing every day?

Our new podcast, The Survival Guide for Orthodontists is dedicated to making you the authority in orthodontics to prospective new patients in your community

The next guest on our show is a biggie: Joseph Hogan, director, president and CEO of Align Technology. We will be speaking with him about where he sees the orthodontic industry in Align’s long-term plans.

Based on orthodontists’ love/hate relationship with Align, do you have a question you want us to ask Mr. Hogan?

Click here to go to subscribe to the podcast and record your question or comment – click the microphone on the top right of the page. We will pose your question to him during show that is being recorded on Friday, May 17th and will be available in early June. Please include your name and location. (Remember to keep it clean.)

We might not get to everyone’s questions in the episode but we will ask as many as we can get to within the timeframe we have with Mr. Hogan.

Subscribe & record your question

About the podcast: Dr. Leon Klempner and Amy Epstein, co-founders of People & Practice, know the business of orthodontics. They bring you insights, tips and guest interviews focused on helping you thrive in a massively disrupted industry. Learn how to put more patients in chairs by competing on expertise and trust, not the lowest fees. Subscribe today!