As you work to grow your dental practice, the regular review of performance indicators becomes increasingly important. Here are the five metrics that typically matter most to a growing dental practice:
- Total Number of Active Patients
It is difficult to realize practice growth when the number of active patients continues to decline. Properly monitoring this metric can position you to implement corrective actions before the success of your practice is jeopardized.
The average dental practice requires 20 to 25 new patients every month in order to remain healthy. If the number of patients seen in your practice is not increasing month over month, try the following:
- Be proactive by following up with patients whose due date for preventive care has passed. Perform a weekly review with your team and view all of the patients who were treated and left with a future appointment. Then, discuss an action plan to re-appoint each.
- Track how new patients became aware of your office and target your marketing strategies accordingly. By focusing on marketing that produces results, you can eliminate wasted human and economic resources.
- Active Preventive Care Patients
In addition to the overall number of patients who have received care at your practice, the number of preventive care patients can also be a key growth indicator. This particular metric indicates how many patients you can expect to see for preventive care during the next 12 months.
When you compare the number of patients who have received preventive care to the number of patients who are scheduled for return appointments within the next six months, the number of re-appointments should be at least 85 percent of the entire active preventive-care patient population.
If your preventive care patients are not scheduling next-care visits, start to track their next-appointment due dates and their most recent visit dates. Also, implement standardized procedures for your staff to remind patients via text and email of their pending hygiene appointments before their due dates near. Additionally, regardless of the reason that a patient is seen in your practice, try to schedule their next preventive care services at your office.
- Doctor-to-hygiene Productivity Ratios
When you look at the total number of services produced by your practice, try to aim for about 60 to 75 percent doctor services and 25 to 35 percent hygienist care. If you notice the hygienist numbers falling between 15 and 20 percent of the services provided at your office, your productivity is likely waning, and it's time to make some changes.
You can raise your team’s productivity awareness by setting goals, holding regular start-of-the-day meetings to discuss productivity and generating brainstorming discussions to empower your team members to improve office production.
- Money In and Money Out
Each month, as your practice receives compensation, your office makes money-- that is as long as the amount you charge exceeds your monthly adjustments from insurance write-offs and discounts. If the ratio of the ideal production versus the money collected starts to rise above one and a half, you may be headed for the red.
To improve your collections, offer third-party financing, set up internet-based payment options and send immediate reminders to patients with overdue balances. Also, file all insurance claims electronically for the fastest turnaround times.
- Scheduling Gaps
Patients should ideally be filling every scheduling time slot that your office offers. As you lose appointment opportunities during the day, your practice is losing money. To ensure that your scheduling stays fiscally healthy, keep a standby list of patients who prefer to be seen more quickly than their scheduled appointment date. Also, track patients who regularly cancel appointments, so that you have a standby ready and waiting in case the appointment falls through.
Tracking Your Metrics
Now that you know a little more about the metrics that you need to track, you may be concerned about exactly how your team can start the monitoring process. That’s where Square Practice comes in. We have developed an integrated system that is available on a cloud-based platform to make it easy for your office to monitor every practice metric that matters. Our team of developers, engineers and management specialists can help your dental practice finally realize the significant growth that you have been envisioning.