Tips from the trades

How Union Dental Center increased the use of patient financing by 25x

Molly Wartenberg

December 21, 2022
8
min read

“Thanks to Wisetack, we increased financing for our patients by $127,000 in just five months. But more importantly, we've helped almost 30 patients pay for treatments that they couldn't have gotten otherwise.” — Katie Burkins, Business Administrator, Union Dental Center

Union Dental Center spent years trying out different consumer financing providers, with little adoption by patients. With Wisetack’s quick application process and easy integration into Dental Intelligence, they've increased the use of patient financing for dental treatment by 25x. By enabling patients to access financing for dental treatment, Wisetack is helping Union Dental Center serve more patients.

3 key ways Wisetack is helping

  1. Bringing necessary treatment within reach for more patients: Union Dental Center believes that Wisetack has allowed them to put expensive and unexpected dental care within reach for more patients.
  2. Providing a quick, easy, and streamlined process: through integration with Dental Intelligence, Union Dental Center’s patients can see their financing offers along with their treatment plan, and the practice can easily text patients with overdue payments with a link to loan options. In five minutes or less, patients can explore and understand their financing options, including whether they prequalify before even committing to a treatment. 
  3. Reducing risk and improving cash flow: using Wisetack instead of in-house financing has reduced the amount of time Union Dental Center staff spend chasing down payments, as well as ensuring that they are paid for the work they perform.

Attempting in-house financing

Union Dental Center, a 20-year old dental practice based in Havre de Grace, MD, spent years trying to find appropriate financing options for their patients who requested it, with little success.

First, they tried in-house payment plans, but ran into issues with patients defaulting and administrative staff spending hours following up. Eventually, they started only offering financing to a small subset of patients who had been with the practice for multiple years, missing out on a much larger group of patients who didn't fit that criteria. 

"We used to let everyone take advantage of in-house financing, but there was a lot of defaulting on that and having to follow up with people."

“We used to let everyone take advantage of in-house financing,” said Katie Burkins, Union Dental Center’s Business Administrator. “But there was a lot of defaulting on that and having to follow up with people.”

Union Dental Center isn't alone; many dental offices finance patients in-house and we often hear from these offices that, on average, they write off 10-20% of production due to patient non-payment.

Experimenting with other lenders

Union Dental Center tried other consumer financing platforms, but found that they did not meet the practice's needs. Their lengthy processes and cumbersome interfaces prevented most patients from following through with financing. 

“We've had CareCredit ever since I've been here, which is about eight or so years, and it wasn't really working for us,” said Katie Burkins, Union Dental Center’s Business Administrator. “It was hard to apply on people’s behalf, so we would just give out the pamphlets and send them home and hope they took it upon themselves to apply. And then I tried Lending Club because the fees were lower, and it sounded great, but same thing.”

Discovering Wisetack

Wisetack turned out to be the perfect choice for Union Dental Center, with its quick processes for the practice and their patients. Wisetack was also a natural fit into existing processes for scheduling appointments, sending treatment plans, following up on overdue payments, and managing Accounts Receivable.

Katie presents a treatment plan for every patient directly on an iPad — using Dental Intelligence's Engagement tool. Financing options through Wisetack appear directly on the payment screen of the treatment plan, which allows patients to feel more confident approving treatment plans knowing that they are approved for financing and that checking their eligibility has no impact on their credit.

"We can get somebody approved for a loan and scheduled their work within five minutes [with Wisetack]."

“Patients are excited that it doesn't ding their credit, and that is only going to take them a few minutes,” Katie said. “We can get somebody approved for a loan and schedule their work within five minutes.”*

Making a real difference for patients

Offering Wisetack has allowed Union Dental Center to care for more patients and increase their volume of loans to patients by 25x. 

Last year, using CareCredit, Katie estimates that Union Dental Center was issuing about $4,000 in financing over a five month period. This year, with Wisetack, almost thirty of their patients have financed over $125,000 over the same period.

Beyond just the dollars and cents, these loans are having a real impact on Union Dental Center’s patients by allowing patients who would have delayed essential dental care to get it done now.

"She was crying and thanking me for helping her because she couldn't believe that she was going to have her smile back.”

Katie recalls one patient who was particularly impacted. “We have one patient who had her two front teeth broken off,” she said. “She was approved for a loan through Wisetack and was able to get implants in those two areas. And she was crying and thanking me for helping her because she couldn't believe that she was going to have her smile back.”

Looking to the future

Katie hopes to see patients continuing to use Wisetack as a financing option, enabling Union Dental Center’s patients to access the treatment they need.

In Katie's words: “I love Wisetack and I couldn't imagine doing without Dental Intelligence or Wisetack!”

*All loans are subject to credit approval. Your terms may vary. Wisetack loans are issued by Hatch Bank, a California-chartered industrial bank. See http://wisetack.com/faqs.

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