Sign Up Today to Receive Our Newsletter!

Please note our privacy policies.

Please wait...

Thank you for signing up! We strive to deliver great content to you. -The Walkner Condon Team

"Nudging" Your Practice Forward

“Nudging” Your Practice Forward

Apr 4, 2019 | Dentist Education

After working with and having conversations with several dentists over the last few years I have realized that there are many parallels between running a dental practice and running a financial planning practice. Many of these parallels have to do with behavioral finance. The first similarity between the two are that dentists and financial planners rely on “nudges” to help impact positive behavior of their patients and clients. A “nudge” is a concept borrowed from behavioral economics that essentially means building structures in such a way as to encourage the proper outcomes.

Most dental offices have already developed some sort of basic system to pre-schedule the next (usually) six-month appointment for a cleaning. A reminder card – or for the more technologically proficient – a calendar invite or text acknowledgment is provided. An email, text, or direct mail is generated sometime before the appointment to assure that they patient actually shows up, but still – a number of patients will no-show, cancel, or somehow avoid the next follow up visit.

There are ways to create momentum for the patient and improve on this number.  For instance, simply adding a small personalized story or meaningful statistic to each notification around the appointment scheduling and reminder process will nudge them in the right direction. It is important to note that these MUST be personalized to the demographics of the patient. A 55-year-old man will not find meaning in a statistic around millennials, nor will a busy new mother be inclined to keep her appointment by telling her a story about senior gum health.

An example of a nudge in financial planning is notifications and messaging around increasing a client’s savings rate. This could be a reminder to increase 401(k) contributions or to max out an IRA contribution. For example, “at your age and with the amount of time until your retirement goal, increasing your 401(k) contribution by 1% could be worth an extra $200,000 by the time you are age 67”. The more specific and relevant, the more impactful.

Whether you run a dental practice or a financial planning practice, implementing and personalizing these “nudges” can help encourage positive behavior for patients and clients whether is is oral health, overall health, or financial health. Stay tuned for a future blog post with another analogy between dental practices and financial planning practices!

Mitch DeWitt

Walkner Condon Financial Advisors is a registered investment advisor with the SEC and the opinions expressed by Walkner Condon Financial Advisors and its advisors in this piece are their own. Registration with the SEC does not imply a certain level of skill or training. All statements and opinions expressed are based upon information considered reliable although it should not be relied upon as such. Any statements or opinions are subject to change without notice.

Information presented in this piece is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed.

Information in this piece does not take into account your specific situation or objectives and is not intended as recommendations appropriate for any individual. Readers are encouraged to seek advice from a qualified tax, legal, or investment adviser to determine whether any information presented may be suitable for their specific situation. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.