- Posted April 12, 2014 by
US Dentists Under Attack From Extremely High Stress And Anxiety
Never before has there been so much pressure on US dentists. The struggling economy, increased competition, and fewer patients with dental insurance are all chipping away at the profitability and peace of mind of the practice owner, according to Dental Marketing Consultant Gigi Messina of Calgary, AB.
"It's no wonder," adds Gigi, that stress and anxiety is skyrocketing to an all time high among dentists, according to industry research.
As the economy continues its downward spiral, stress and anxiety is skyrocketing among dentists.
Dental Economics reports that 75% of practices have experienced production declines and 22.5% of dentists are experiencing extremely high stress and anxiety due to a sharp decline in income.
But that’s just part of the problem. The source of this stress comes from the troubling fact that is in the forefront of many dentist’s minds:
Business Is Way Down.
As you probably know… Dentists have been hit pretty hard over the last four to five years. According to the most recent Dental Economics Annual Survey 2013, Dental Practices are reporting that new patients are down an average of 30%.
Bottom line is… new patients are the lifeblood of every dental practice. Without a way to consistently attract new patients, market to them effectively and convert them into appointments, a dental practice is dead. You know it, we know it. Every dentist knows it.
Another thing, many dentists are also reporting that long-time patients have begun “shopping around” for lower prices, and many practices are seeing a surprising drop in case acceptance.
As a result, there has been an alarmingly sharp decline in take home pay for Dentists.
But It Gets Even Worse...
The Affordable Care Act. While no one knows the real impact Obamacare will have on dentists, here is what we do know:
There will be changes in coverage, plans, and pricing for both medical and dental care.
Any dental service that includes federal and/or state government involvement will be heavily regulated.
Taxes will go up. Most dentists can be assured that they will be paying higher personal income tax in the future.
Additional taxation will impact dental products and services. There is a proposed 2% tax hike on laboratory-fabricated dentistry.
There is a strong chance that the depreciation schedule on new equipment investments for all businesses will be changed or eliminated.
As if that’s not enough, in a recent report by the National Association of Dental Plans, enrollment in dental benefit programs has declined, there is also a decrease in the share of adults with private dental insurance.
That could be because more employers are cutting their dental benefits, forcing many people to utilize public insurance or be uninsured.
Employee contributions to premiums has increased as many employers are passing higher insurance costs on to their employees.
As you probably know… in the private dental insurance sector, enrollment has declined; there are larger deductibles; and there’s been no change in maxima.
And what’s more, at the ADA Health Policy Resources Center presentation at the ADA Annual Session 2012, Dr. Howard L. Bailit said “We know with those declines, there is going to be less demand for dental care.”
And That’s Not All…
Traditional Advertising Has Stopped Working
"Now more than ever, it’s crucial to stand out in the crowd of competition", says Gigi.
There are dozens of dentists in the same city offering the same services. Most dentists have the same qualifications and degrees. It’s difficult for a dentist to differentiate his practice from his competitors.
Patients can choose easily among services which “look alike.” And quite frankly, if you have negative patient reviews… new patients aren’t going to call their office, they’re going to call the competition – new patients will call the dentist who has the best reviews.
Dentists think that because they have great skills, services and staff that patients will beat a path to their door and they’ll make a lot of money.
Frankly, Even the Best Dentist in the World Will Struggle and Suffer, Even Go Broke Without A SYSTEM That Generates A Steady Flow of Patients (Especially in today’s market).
The fact is that the dentists who market themselves powerfully and effectively will always make the most money… regardless of their skills.
Of course the dentist with the best skills who provides the best results should make the most money. But they don’t.
Patients should beat a path to the door of the best dentist. But they don’t.
Patients should seek out the most highly skilled dentist and happily pay top dollar for the best treatment. But they don’t.
"Here’s the real truth, dentists can continue to fight these facts and continue to struggle, or they can embrace the evolving new world of online marketing and experience a dramatic increase in their revenue", says Gigi.
Meanwhile, there are a lot of dental practices struggling with marketing.
When it comes to marketing the dental practice to get more patients and make more money, most of the advice they’ve been told is wrong.
The bottom line is… a dental practice can grow and thrive in any economy if they are using the most up-to-date, effective marketing strategies and tactics based upon what’s going on in their market TODAY.
Good News: Great Patients Are Still Out There!
According to Google, over 5 million people are searching for a Dentist each month… and the internet just represents a fraction of the potential patients that are actively needing (and willing to pay for) dental treatment.
This is no surprise. People still need dentists and they always will… regardless of the economy. It’s just a matter of getting patients to pick up the phone and call.