I am always excited when I walk into a dental practice and see the dental team working closely with their patients. Recognizing patients, calling them by first name, asking for updates on kids, grandkids, furry children, and the like are great indicators of a practice that values their patients. It is the personal connections with patients that play a large role in the trust and comfort your patients will inherently develop with your dental practice.

Many dental offices I encounter focus a lot of time and energy into both developing a friendship with their patient base and providing the highest quality of care possible, so much so that it can be easy to lose sight of the business side of dentistry. It is critical to place efforts in all aspects of the practice, including collecting for services rendered. One approach for collection was well-phrased by Harvard business professor Bill George:

“Don’t be afraid to show your vulnerability. Be transparent with your team, even when the truth may be unpopular or inconvenient.”

When you are transparent with your dental patient, you provide an honest opinion about their dental health. This opens the door for the patient to choose whether or not they will accept your advice. Today, let’s focus on why and how we should incorporate this same policy into our collection efforts, with a quick look at what’s happening in the industry.

A growing trend for dental offices is to develop financial policies that require payment for services rendered at the time of service or within an agreed-upon time frame. With this growing trend, more and more offices are seeking out ways to automate these collections processes as much as possible.


In today’s economy, it may feel as though the rising cost of operating a dental practice is never-ending.  In a recent article published by Dental Economics, several Key Performance Indicators were identified for determining the financial health of a typical dental practice.

  • Production to Collections Ratio: If you were to divide the total net production by the total net collections over the course of 1 years’ time, the ideal result would be 1.0 or less. This yield of 1.0 indicates that you are collecting at or near 100% of what you are producing.
  • Account Balances Aging Over 60 Days: If you were to run your patient aging report, the total account balances over 60 days should not exceed 20% of your total accounts receivables. It’s a little-known fact that the longer a patient balance remains unpaid, the more difficult it becomes to collect.

The same article in Dental Economics identified that more practice owners are changing their mindset.  The old mantra of ‘as long as there is money in my account, my business is fine’ is an idea that is fading.  I am here to say that collecting accounts receivable today will prepare your business for a brighter future tomorrow.


Here it is, the moment of truth … what are your current collection procedures? Are you part of the growing majority of dentists who are striving to collect patient portions at time of service, or do your present collection policies keep your collection ratio and accounts aging within the identified “healthy” range?

I want to make it clear that I am not here to create conflict or insinuate that one collection practice is better than another. I only wish to open the door for conversation on what could be and how Easy Dental can help you achieve your goals on collecting estimated patient portions due.

Estimating Patient Portions is actually quite simple in Easy Dental and involves only a few quick steps.

  1. Enter proposed treatment into the patient’s chart.
  2. Open the Estimator module.
  3. Use the Estimator module to:
    • Sequence the treatment by priority/order of visits.
    • Preview the patient share of cost for proposed treatment.
    • Print and share the estimated cost with your patient.

These 3 simple steps to collecting for today’s services can help your practice grow to new heights. Collecting today will simplify your billing and collection procedures down the road. I realize that you may think this form of collection will not make you popular among your patients, but I assure you that if you are “transparent with your team” (your patients), your relationship with them will be much stronger for it.

So, why not communicate estimates for treatment with the expectation that payment is due when services are rendered?  After all, you wouldn’t wait to tell your patient why they needed the crown until after the crown service was done. By giving them all the information they need about the treatment, they can plan ahead and feel more prepared.

David Broom is Senior Director of Product and Business Development. David has a master’s degree in Information Technology (IT) from the University of Texas in Dallas and has more than 35 years of experience from many global companies such as Hitachi Vantara, Methode Electronics, and Keane, Inc. In his current role, he is responsible for all aspects of the product management and field service teams at Henry Schein TechCentral, which identifies the ideal advanced technologies to meet the unique needs of the dental market and ensure that dental offices are using the right IT to be more efficient and effective.