3 Ways Your Practice Might Be Hurting Your Patient Experience


Hannah Lee

Welcome to the new era of orthodontics, where creating more value for your patients and teams in this ever-evolving business environment is the key to your success. As the industry continues to develop and improve patient care, it’s essential to discard outdated practices and embrace a fresh approach that not only improves profitability but also inspires confidence in your patients.

Let’s explore how you can replace three outdated approaches with more effective and inspiring alternatives.

Embrace Flexibility in Payment Windows

Gone are the days when a patient’s payment window has to match their treatment time. It’s time to move from traditional financing methodologies that tie financing plans to estimated treatment durations that align with each patient’s unique needs. You can then build greater trust with your patients and remove barriers to your practice’s growth without adding more risk. 

Nearly all defaults (95%) happen within the estimated treatment time, not after. Limiting payment time to treatment time doesn’t provide much-added security but restricts appeal. On average, $2,400 per patient was collected even in default cases. With a $5,000 average fee and 50% operating margin, default scenarios nearly break even, making them not a significant loss.

Replace Aggressive Collections with Streamlined Processes

Aggressive collection procedures are no longer necessary. In fact,  our data reveals that only an average of 1% of active patient receivables are past due beyond thirty days, well below the national average of 3%.

Handling collections systematically and consistently fosters better patient relationships while improving collections, cash flow, and your bottom line.

The traditional approach of batching collection calls on the 1st and 15th doesn’t yield optimal results. It’s crucial to proactively touch every delinquent account from day zero consistently. Delaying the first contact increases the risk of exceeding 30 days, making recovery more challenging. Our 22-step collections protocol ensures timely actions based on days past due. With daily follow-ups and patient-preferred payment dates, it’s possible to maintain 99.2% of accounts receivable as current or within 10 days.

Offer Patient-Customized Payment Options

Insisting on receiving 15% to 20% of the total fee upfront for every case is a surefire way to prevent a patient from saying yes to treatment. Today’s consumers expect and need payment customization like never before, as only 40% of American adults can afford an unplanned $1,000 expense. 

By expanding payment choices, you can attract more patients and protect your practice’s cash flow without relying solely on significant upfront payments. A “one-size-fits-all” approach no longer works and hinders growth.

Transitioning from a transactional mindset to a more comprehensive evaluation of patient cohorts will enable you to assess performance more effectively. Adopting a proven concept called “Open Choice” empowers patients with personalized payment options.

Our data from 90,000 patient exams, 60,000 starts, and $300 million in orthodontic production shows diverse payment combinations chosen by patients financing treatment. Surprisingly, some selected unique options like $250 down and $740 per month or $4,500 down and $50 per month. The majority falls outside the average range, highlighting the variety when given the choice to pick their own terms.


By discarding outdated practices and embracing flexibility, consistency, and patient-centric payment options, you are sure to inspire trust and confidence among your patients. At the same time, letting go of these practices can fuel your practice growth, optimize cash, and mitigate risk while paving the way for a new standard of patient care.

Click here to schedule a time to talk with a member of our team about how OrthoFi can help you add more value for your patients and thrive in this new era of orthodontics.