Key metrics to track in a dental practice
As we discussed in the previous post, data has a big role to play in the coming years for the success of your practice. Integrated analytics functionality, on your practice management system, is necessary for best management practices. But, what are the key metrics to track in a dental practice to assess its health and progress?
This is an area that requires considerable thought since a lot of metrics can be derived from the vast amounts of data available. While some are useful indicators, others have no real meaning for your practice or may even show the opposite trend.
We can generally look at metrics in 3 key areas: Quality metrics, Operating metrics and Financial metrics. These 3 areas together cover the overall health, sustainability and potential for growth of a practice.
Revisits are a very important real metric to measure patient satisfaction. Correcting this metric is also a great way to boost assured revenue in hygiene.
Restorative : Hygiene ratio:
The ratio of number of cases between restorative and hygiene cases is an important metric. Restorative cases are profit earners, but hygiene ensures sustainability of the practice and regular patients who will choose you for restorative care as well.
This is an important metric and can be measured individually at a provider level. Productivity of a provider ensures he is able to discuss and agree on treatment plans with your patients. Tracking this metric allows you to zero-in on the non productive providers and train them in better patient management.
This metric is the total number of scheduled slots divided by total available slots in your calendar for all providers. This will give you a rough idea where to look at to increase revenue. If the efficiency is 100%, it means you have scope to expand your practice. If this efficiency level is low, it means, you should focus on increasing outreach to get new patients and increase patient engagement to enable better revisits.
Check-in to Check-out time:
If a provider sees 10 patients and his time to see each patient is reduced with better processes by 10%, that means your practice immediately gains a slot for one more patient and all the revenue that slot brings adds directly to your profits, as your overheads are still the same. Check-in to check-out time should be drilled down to further stages and tracked to improve efficiency.
Various metrics allow you to measure the amount of time each member of your team spends on a task. You may be overstaffed or understaffed for the task at hand. Over staffing leads to low practice efficiency and under-staffing leads to bad customer experience. If you are overstaffed, you may even consider expanding the services you offer and add new verticals to your revenue stream.
Though this sounds simple enough, most practice owners are not tracking true profits. They miss out the overheads, they miss out inefficiencies. It makes a lot of difference to have a tangible accurate measurement tracked over time. This is the single most important metric for your practice and should be followed closely and drilled down to constituent elements.
Another very important metric that affects the stability of your operations and growth plans is free cash. Maintaining enough free cash by rigorously negotiating credit periods and collecting payments and getting claims processed fast is crucial to ensure your practice is growing at its optimal pace. Always remember that money today is more valuable than money tomorrow.
This is another important metric that helps you directly assess your marketing and patient engagement efforts. This will also take your attention to the fee schedules and whether they are optimal. Gross revenue does not include revenue that gets passed on to 3rd party vendors, like labs.
How can a practice management system help you keep track of key metrics?
Some modern practice management systems have built in analytics modules that consolidate all the data and present the key metrics in an easily traceable, well presented dash board. This makes the job of following key metrics extremely simple. Newer intelligent systems can even alert you when something is off, thus maintaining a constant eye on the metrics that truly affect the efficiency of your practice.