My client shared with me a prime example of how not taking the time to get all of the patient information from the first phone call can cause challenges. A new patient called the dental office to schedule their first appointment and asked if they were a provider for their insurance. Without checking on their specific plan they told the patient they were a provider and scheduled the appointment. After the appointment the office submitted the claim to the insurance company, and it was denied because the doctor was not an in-network provider for this particular plan. This made for an uncomfortable conversation with the patient who was understandably upset.
While the team member that took the new patient call had the best of intentions to try to keep the call short and not bother the new patient with too many questions, it ended up creating a very unhappy patient. A common business statistic shows that a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their bad experience, so this not only affects your relationship with this patient, but could deter potential future patients from coming to your dental practice.
Patients have come to expect that their healthcare providers understand their specific insurance plan, and while we may not agree that should be part the job, it now goes hand-in-hand with a best-in-class patient experience. With that in mind, the objective of a new patient phone call should always be to get the patient scheduled AND get their insurance plan details. By taking a little more time during that initial call, the practice can be proactive in contacting the insurance company before the patient’s appointment. This provides them all of the information to make the first appointment as seamless and pleasant as possible.