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Top Key Performance Indicators for Your Dental Practice

Blog User

Kevin Cook

September 9, 2021 4 min read
Top Key Performance Indicators for Your Dental Practice

The core philosophy behind tracking KPIs at a dental practice is simple and straightforward. You get to improve only what you measure.

As you continue to grow, you will begin to appreciate the importance of data and metrics that aid you to monitor, track and improve practice performance. Data insights help narrow down and prioritize the areas that require immediate attention. 

This includes treatment fees and the decision on increasing or decreasing fees, tracking and reducing canceled appointments and no-shows, monitoring the effectiveness of plan presentations, and calculating the revenue generated from each category of treatment. Moreover, KPIs can help you improve the efficiency of collections and clinical operations, reduce overheads and monitor patient growth.

Listed below are the vital KPIs at a dental practice across production, collections, and costs.

The very obvious and the most important KPI. Keeping track of the practices’ production on a weekly basis will unveil a better picture of how well your practice is performing. Dividing the monthly practice production into weekly targets and integrating strategies to achieve the goals are an effective as well as organized plan of action. Having a benchmark production and ensuring the production and collection go hand in hand is crucial for the successful functioning of every practice. 

The number of new patients is a crucial metric that needs to be tracked. With that said, this KPI is more than just the sum of total patient visits. Tracking new patient intake helps you calculate a target for each specialty offered at your practice. For instance, a model of new patient calculation could indicate 75% of production from the dentist and 25% by the hygiene department. 

Monitoring the new patient KPIs can help determine the revenue brought about by specialty services such as oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, and endodontics. Most specialty services bring in new patients, and typically represent more than 90% of new patient revenue. However, these figures also depend on the niche services offered at your practice. Breaking down your annual production goal is another approach that will help you calculate the target KPIs for new patients. 

The other end of the KPI spectrum measures patient attrition. Every practice wants to reduce their attrition rates and drive the percentage share for new patients. While there is no way to completely avoid attrition, monitoring this KPI provides you with insights into the strategies you currently have in place at your practice. 

Schedule utilization rates show you how effectively schedules are managed and help you determine the average production per patient. Efficient scheduling ensures that your appointment book achieves the monthly production goals for operative and hygiene schedules. Tracking these helps you prioritize daily schedules based on appointments that add the most value or bring in the most revenue. 

Schedule utilization, along with the average production per patient, demonstrates the financial worth of a patient to your practice. Potentially, you can maximize the opportunities from each patient visit by increasing the number of whitening cases, adding a periodontal diagnostic program, or implementing a new service such as sleep apnea treatment. 

On average, one-third of all practice revenue comes from reappointments or recare. Hence, measuring this KPI becomes crucial. This helps you compare the percentage of patient acquisition vs retention for your practice. There are instances when a practice experience limited growth despite a steady inflow of new patients. Such a situation is commonly referred to as a “leaky boat”. 

At 20%, dentists experience the highest churn rates in the medical profession. These figures can be attributed to competitive pricing, a saturated market or a relatively high concentration of dentists, and a lack of service distinction. These KPIs, other than showing you the current status, help you justify the initiatives or control measures that help you improve practice performance. 

Broken appointments are the rates of patient no-shows and cancellations. Practices that don’t have a good grasp on cancellations and no-shows, or that don’t have a system in place to minimize broken appointments often struggle with profitability. 

Subsequently, this KPI also lets you measure the effectiveness of actions that are implemented to reduce patient no-shows and cancellations. This includes monitoring how quickly your schedules are filled up, the pace of follow-ups and appointment reminders, and the effectiveness of including payment options while setting up appointments.

Case acceptance rates, while being a vital KPI to measure production, also helps you determine the effectiveness of your plan presentations. Case acceptance rates are considered to be the most variable KPIs in dental practices. It is important to set targets for case acceptance that reflects the type and complexity of treatments. For instance, a 90% target for single-tooth procedures is acceptable while this figure could be lower for more complex treatment procedures. 

Collection rates are a powerful KPI and can ultimately make or break the cash flow and income at a practice. An average practice forfeits around 9% of its yearly production to uncollected insurance revenue. This accounts for the average annual revenue lost to uncollected insurance benefits to around $135000. The dimensions within this KPI include Over the counter collections (OTCs), AR status, and aging followed by outstanding claim status. 

Overheads can be widely classified into fixed and variable overheads. These include everything from infrastructure overheads, equipment, tools, labor costs, and dental supplies. It is recommended to consider the staff labor percentage as an independent KPI because labor is the single largest expense in a practice. This covers the defined percentages for general practice, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgery, and other clinical and non-clinical staff overheads.

In conclusion, a monthly measure, monitor, and track for vital KPIs help refine the performance of your practice. Not only does it help you stay abreast of the performance narrative, but it also lays the foundations to set effective goals and targets. Moreover, this is the best approach to measure your return on efforts and make informed decisions. CareStack presents you the vital KPIs and associated data metrics, thus providing you with a single source of truth when it comes to tracking practice performance. Having a set of relevant pre-defined KPIs in hand, analyzing the practice’s performance will be a lot easier. 

Blog User

Kevin Cook

VP, Customer Experience
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