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Research: Average time for patients to purchase treatment is 70 days

December 15, 2015

By Kimber Solana

While most dental patients believe dental care is an absolute necessity, it takes patients an average of 69.8 days to decide whether to purchase treatment, according to market research conducted by market research firm Rothstein Tauber on behalf of CareCredit, a provider of patient financing endorsed by ADA Business Resources.
Cost, time, insurance benefits and perceived need influenced the length and complexity of the decision-making process, according to Patients' Path to Dental Care Purchase Study. The study, released in October, sought to better understand patients' decision-making process and how to make it easier.
Patients who do not purchase on the initial visit to the dentist sought out information to answer two questions: Do I need/value this care? And can I fit care into my budget and schedule?
According to the study, in researching treatment and cost/financing, 71 percent of patients went to a dental office; 34 percent went online; and 29 percent asked family and friends for advice. More patients (67 percent) researched cost and finances than did the treatment (58 percent).

The study found that of the patients who sought information online, 51 percent went to a medical advice website, 38 percent to websites that provide reviews and 46 percent to a practice's website. This may indicate that dental teams need to have comprehensive information on their web and on social media sites and they should also proactively manage their practice's online reviews and reputation.
Other findings include:
  • 52 percent of patients were not aware that financing was available as a payment option.
  • 47 percent of non-cardholders said they would consider financing through a health care credit card, such as CareCredit, if it enabled them to receive care immediately.
  • Among CareCredit cardholders, 39 percent would have chosen not to have the treatment done if CareCredit was not available.
  • 56 percent of patients selected the dentist they already had for needed treatment.
  • Because the majority of patients chose their current dental provider for future care, the initial treatment and fee conversation may be the most critical dialogue in the practice, according to the study.
To request a copy of Patients' Decision Path to Purchase Dental Care Study, contact your practice development team by calling 1-800-859-9975, option 1, then 6. To enroll, call 1-866-246-6401.