Practice Advisor Feedback from Saratoga Dental

The new Practice Advisor reporting goes far beyond basic reporting. With the ability to have all of the key performance indicators (KPIs) on a single report, compare practice data to benchmarks, provide recommendations for the practice to consider and display the data graphically, this is one valuable tool you won’t want to miss. Tammy McHood, Practice Diagnostics Product Manager for Henry Schein Practice Solutions, recently interviewed Dayna Johnson, Treatment Coordinator at Saratoga Dental located in Langley, Washington, about how she utilizes Practice Advisor.

Tammy: How did you track your KPIs before the Practice Advisor was released?  

Dayna: We tracked the health of the practice using spreadsheets. With the help of our dental consultants, we created our own Microsoft® Office Excel® spreadsheets and manually tracked our numbers. Before the Practice Advisor report our office was using six different Excel spreadsheets to track numbers. 

For example, what I would have to do is separate the money we collected into over the counter, in the mail and from insurance. We then would convert these dollar amounts into percentages so we could watch our over-the-counter collections and make sure we were at or above goal.

We would also add up the missed appointments and calculate how many time units that was, then multiply the time units by the hourly goal and figure out how much lost production we had for that day. There were many more statistics we would have to track and then we would input these numbers into our homemade Excel spreadsheets every day take these numbers off the daily spreadsheet and input them manually into the monthly monitor. There was lots of time spent on the calculator.

Tammy: How much time did you spend tracking this information in the past compared to how much time you spend today? 

Dayna: I was spending 15 to 20 minutes a day manually calculating and inputting the daily numbers on the monitors and one to two hours at the end of the month preparing numbers for our monthly staff meeting. This is just the time spent on the monitors I worked on. Our scheduling coordinator would spend at least the same amount of time calculating and inputting all the hygiene statistics. Now, all the information we had entered on six different spreadsheets is automatically calculated and inputted onto one beautiful report. 

Even though I love working with numbers, it would be so frustrating when I would be in the middle of adding up a long string of numbers and someone would come up and interrupt me and I would have to start the process again from the beginning. 

Tammy: How do you use the information to improve processes in your practice?

Dayna: We use the information gathered on the Practice Advisor report for several different things. We have a monthly staff meeting where all we do is look at our statistics and discuss what the numbers are telling us. Numbers always tell a story.

During our staff meeting, we take each line item and talk about why we had so many unfilled hours last month and the month before. We discuss things like the economy, the weather, time of year, etc., and try to determine what we think may be causing the change. Then we come up with a game plan. The game plan might be to have the hygienists start making phone calls to overdue prophy patients when they have unfilled time in their schedules.

We might notice that the over-the-counter collections are down slightly. This number is very important to us because our money is worth more today than it is 30, 60 or 90 days from now.  We know that when our OTC collections slip we need to improve our treatment planning process or our verbal skills when collecting at the front desk. 

Tammy: What kind of impact has the Practice Advisor had on your practice?

Dayna: The gathering of the information and the time it takes to produce the reports has made a huge impact. If the doctor comes up to me and says, “Can you get me the Monthly Practice Monitor on my desk by lunch,” using our old monitors I might not have been able to fulfill his request. But with the Practice Advisor report I can have it on his desk in three minutes, or I can teach him how to print it himself. 

With just a few easy setup requirements, the Practice Advisor report is ready to generate your practice stats at any given time.

Tammy: Describe how the Practice Advisor recommendations have helped your practice.   

Dayna: During our monthly staff meeting we go line item by line item, discussing the statistics, and we have learned over the years how to make corrections. However, the Practice Advisor recommendations has made us think of things we might not have otherwise thought of and it puts the recommendations in a very handy checklist. Even though we think we are pretty smart, we can’t think of everything and the recommendations will continue to provide valuable information.

I also think that the recommendations will be a great tool when we have a change in our team. The new team member can review the list and use it as a teaching resource to learn how to do their job better.

Tammy: How has the Practice Advisor impacted your internal communications as a team?

Dayna: It has made it easier to read from one report rather than six different monitors. 

Tammy: What would you say to an office not using Practice Advisor? Why should they consider upgrading and using this new tool?   

Dayna: There are so many reports you can print or view within the Dentrix program. You can get numbers for just about anything, but they are just numbers unless you know what they mean and how they impact the health of your practice. What makes the Practice Advisor report special is that it generates the numbers that you need to see in order to correct problems. Then the recommendations pop up the instant any of the numbers fall below your set goals. It’s awesome!

Numbers tell a story. If you want to read the story for entertainment purposes only, print a practice analysis report and look at your total production and collections and then shred the report. If you want to read the story and learn valuable information on how to improve the health of the practice, print the Practice Advisor report (including recommendations).

Author: Tammy McHood, Practice Diagnostics Product Manager
Published: 08/17/2010
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