If you aren’t tracking the dental metrics in your practice, you could be missing valuable ways to grow your business.
Your dental office is busy. So many patients are coming in that you may need to install a revolving door. At least, it seems that way. You have full chairs, a full schedule for the next three months, and busy hygienists, too. Yet, somehow, you aren’t bringing in the revenue that it seems like you should. It doesn’t seem possible, but when you review your dental metrics and performance, it’s easy to spot the problems.
You do track your dental metrics, right? Because if you don’t, you’re working blindly when you try to correct scheduling and billing issues. You can take a guess at what’s working well and what isn’t, but there is only one way to know for sure.
The dental metrics you need to track
Running a successful practice is all about efficiency, and your dental metrics are the secret sauce in making that happen.
Let’s start with the obvious. The easiest way to track your metrics is with an integrated office management software system. Shuffling through a stack of paper bills and digging through patient files is no way to work efficiently. Similarly, clicking back and forth between several software programs and spreadsheets takes the time you could be using more effectively.
Do you need new patients, or do you need your current patients to schedule regular visits? Every practice needs some new patients, but you need to target your outreach the right way. Ultimately, this is your decision, but it’s much easier to market to your current patients – and former patients – than it is to attract new patients.
Revenue per patient
Your revenue per patient is your forecasting roadmap, especially when you combine it with your scheduling efficiency. While most dental practices do track this metric, it’s how you use the information that matters.
If you have your data in a practice management software system, you can easily see the direction you need to go. Do you need fewer, but more expensive procedures? Maybe those expensive procedures are taking too much time, and you could increase your revenue by filling those appointments with less time consuming dental procedures.
Your production schedule is a fine line. You don’t want too much lag time between patients, and you don’t want patients waiting while you rush through an appointment because you’re running 20 minutes behind. Tracking your workflow with practice management software can help you keep your chair full and your waiting room empty.
Filling in the blanks
Every dental practice has a small number of cancellations and no-shows. Do you know how many you have? Exactly how many? When you track this metric, you can easily see if there is a trend you should worry about. For instance, if you get a large number of cancellations during the first week of July, maybe that’s the week you decide to close the office and go on vacation. You give yourself a break and reduce your lost revenue due to an empty chair.
Some marketing efforts are hard to track. For instance, if Sheila calls you one day to schedule a follow-up, you wouldn’t realize she forgot all about you until she saw your Facebook post (unless she told you). You can, however, track your website traffic to find out where it is coming from.
For instance, if you notice that you get three times more traffic from Facebook than from LinkedIn, you can put more effort into Facebook. Social media won’t necessarily cost you anything, but you still need to “do it right” to gain any advantage with it. PPC advertising is relatively inexpensive, too, as are practice newsletters.
There are plenty of dental metrics you can track, but there’s no need to get overwhelmed. What counts most is finding the metrics that have the biggest impact on your practice, and using those metrics to create a strategy for success.
What metrics do you track in your dental practice and why? Comment below to share your thoughts with other readers.