How to Use KPIs to Grow Your Dental Practice
April 12, 2021
By Angie Walters, CPA CITP
Dental practices are certainly in abundance, with new practices seeming to open up almost weekly. With so much competition in the area, it is more important than ever not
Dental practices are certainly in abundance, with new practices seeming to open up almost weekly. With so much competition in the area, it is more important than ever not just to provide professional service, but also to offer excellent customer service, or you may risk losing patients to a competitor. While it may seem as though your practice is doing very well based on patient volume alone, there are other indicators that can be measured which will reveal the true health of your practice. These are referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs), and measuring them can give you valuable insight that can be used to improve and grow your business.
What Are Key Performance Indicators?
KPIs are typically measured by office managers at different intervals throughout the year. Every dental practice has about 15–20 KPIs that can be measured, which reveal key details about the business’s performance, operations, profitability and other important criteria. While not every KPI needs to be measured, it is important to focus on the indicators most relevant to your business and its goals and strategies.
Why Are KPIs Important?
Dental practices that regularly measure KPIs already know that these indicators showcase not just how well the business is currently performing, but also provide a history of performance. This is especially relevant because it enables you to see how and in what areas the business has improved, or where it might be failing.
Without the knowledge garnered by efficient measurement of KPIs, you are doing your dental practice a disservice.
What Data Should Be Measured?
The most important KPIs for any dental practice that should be measured on a consistent basis are the following:
- Accounts receivable
- Average individual patient earnings
- Average employee production
Other important but less critical KPIs include the following:
- Marketing strategies
- Treatment acceptance rate
- New patients
- Loss of patients
- Operating expenses
As you can see, measuring a significant portion of the above effectively can really give you an encompassing picture of your practice, and enable you to identify key areas that need to be fixed.
How to Get the Statistics, How to Read Them and What Do They Mean?
If you have a quality practice management software tool and your staff is using it correctly to maintain good, detailed records, then the majority of data you need to measure KPIs is already on hand. You should start with the previous three months’ data, gathering together the information on average production per day, new patients per day, collections, and staff expense and overhead per day.
Based on these numbers, your office manager should be able to tell right away where the business may need to improve. For example, your collections data should indicate a good ratio for collecting payments from patients. A highly successful ratio is 98.5 percent. If your ratio falls below this, it doesn’t necessarily mean your practice is in trouble, but you may want to think about your current collections strategy and how it can be improved.
Another example is the KPI for average production per patient. Just because you are busy doesn’t mean you are highly profitable or successful. Average production will measure exactly how much the practice receives for services rendered to each patient each day. Patients who only receive basic treatment services at around $150 per patient are obviously not as profitable as patients receiving higher-value services, at $400 or more.
Subsequently, more patients don’t equate to more profits, but higher average production per patient does. In fact, getting those averages up can provide you with a significant boost in yearly revenue.
What to Do After Analyzing the Data?
Once you or your office manager has analyzed the data, you should be able to see what areas of the practice require the most attention, and can start implementing strategies to improve those areas.
For example, consider the average production per patient KPI. If you have a high patient volume but a low average production dollar amount, you might consider lightening your patient load by reducing scheduling times, giving you more time to focus on providing more comprehensive dental care to each patient. This can also have the added benefit of improving overall efficiency in the office, because not having to shuffle around a multitude of patients creates a less stressful office environment.
Part of the strategy would be to take the time to better explain dental health to your patients, presenting cases for other areas of treatment and making recommendations based on your findings. Your treatment acceptance rate KPI can help you see how well you are faring with this endeavor.
As you can see, the different KPIs can give you the specific data you need to make your dental practice a highly successful one, enabling you to maintain and grow your patient base and stay several steps ahead of your competitors. It is, of course, important to make sure that the data is measured accurately, as well as read accurately, so that you can make informed decisions as to how best to implement new strategies.