“What gets measured, gets done,” said legendary business guru Peter Drucker. A recent analysis of customers who have gone through the Dentrix Profitability Coaching program found that several key performance indicators (KPIs) made significant improvement over an average of just seven months working with a coach. “The average practice saw an increase of over $8,000 in collections per month by the seventh month,” states Profitability Coaching Manager Jason McKnight. Doctors Ty and Susan Caldwell in Cypress, CA, say, “The Dentrix Profitability Coaching is an excellent way to learn how the Dentrix program can be customized to an individual practice to maximize the efficiency of the program and the team.”
While there are many important numbers to track in a dental practice, this article will highlight three KPIs to measure on a monthly basis with the Dentrix Practice Advisor Report. These include active patient base, active patients in continuing care/hygiene and production.
Active Patient Base
“The number one number every practice should know is their active patient base,” states Jim Philhower, Henry Schein Dental’s Director of North America Dental Sales Leadership & Development. That’s why the very first number the Dentrix Practice Advisor displays is the active patient base. This report defaults to running the active patient base by looking at all of the practice’s patients who had a visit within the past 18 months. If a practice wants to look at its active patient base for 12 or 24 months instead of 18, this can be changed when running the Practice Advisor report.
The reason this KPI is so important to track is that the active patient base impacts current and future cash flow. If the active patient base shrinks, overall cash flow will quickly follow suit. Thus, keeping a close eye on what is happening to the practice’s active patient base will help the practice focus on keeping or growing its active patient count.
Customers in the Dentrix Profitability program have seen an average increase of 12% in their active patient base in just seven months. “The reason coaching customers saw an increase in their active patient base is the coaching program is designed to help practices use the tools in Dentrix even better, to help ensure patients do not fall through the cracks,” says McKnight. This includes following up on patients who are overdue in hygiene, ensuring patients coming in today are set up correctly in the system so their continuing care future due dates are accurate and tracking where new patients are coming from.
To learn more on how to run the Practice Advisor, visit www.dentrix.com/practiceadvisorreport.
Active Patients in Continuing Care
If patients start to “slip through the cracks” in the hygiene department, this will lead to a decline in the practice’s active patient base. Dental practices in the coaching program found in just seven months that their active patients in continuing care increased by 24%.
“While there are many things practices are doing right in their hygiene department, the coaching program audits the continuing care setup in Dentrix and ensures that there are routines in place to utilize all the available tools within Dentrix. So going forward, patients continue to be active in hygiene, thereby ensuring continual practice growth and a high standard of care for all the practice’s patients,” says McKnight. The coaching program has worked with practices brand-new to Dentrix and practices that have been on Dentrix for nearly 20 years, and all of them have found better ways to use the tools in Dentrix to help increase their active patients in continuing care.
By going through profitability coaching and measuring the continuing care KPIs on the Practice Advisor Report, practices have seen an average 17% increase in the number of continuing care patients seen and the numbers of patients who reappoint their next hygiene visit.
For most general practices, the average production coming from the doctor(s) is typically 65% to 75% of the total practice’s production, while hygiene accounts for 25% to 35%. It is important to track both of these KPIs separately, as 75% to 80% of total production should be coming from patients seen in hygiene. Just by measuring these KPIs, practices can elevate the focus within the entire team. This almost always leads to further discussions in daily huddles or monthly meetings on ways the entire team can help improve the numbers.
The coaching team has found that while some practices may have a very strong hygiene department, overall case acceptance is not as high as practices would like. However, in most cases, before starting the coaching program, many customers do not recognize this as an area of concern within the practice. By demonstrating the tools available within Dentrix and helping to establish routines on how to use those tools, the coaching program is helping to establish focus on this area of the practice. The simple act of measuring case acceptance, and being aware of this KPI, helps the entire team focus on how each team member can positively affect patient case acceptance. Whether the team member is the one the patient interacts with over the phone, during check-in, while in the operatory chair, making a payment or scheduling the next appointment, every team member plays a critical role. Profitability Coaching Program customers saw an average increase of 10% in production over a seven-month period. Helping practices fill holes in their schedules, ensuring patients don’t fall through the hygiene cracks and better case acceptance tracking all played an important part in this 10% increase in production.
“We have a better understanding of the Dentrix tools. Dentrix is used every day in almost every room of our office. It is the glue that binds the treatment plan to the appointment book and the appointment book to the ledger. Through coaching, we as a team realized how each phase of the practice affects the next. We improved all phases of the practice,” say Drs. Caldwell.
Dentrix Practice Advisor is the best tool in Dentrix to help practices track their active patient base, active patients in continuing care and total practice, doctor and hygiene production. “Our team better understands the reports that relate to each phase of our practice. We have learned to customize reports for continuing care, collections, treatment planning, adjustments and the list goes on and on. When each team member understands their role in the overall scope of the practice, and takes accountability for that, then great things happen. We are tracking, in a simple way, many important statistics that guide practice management decisions. Our team understands which statistics they are responsible for and they are working hard to see those statistics rise,” says Dr. Ty Caldwell.
When Drs. Ty and Susan Caldwell were asked what they would say to other dental practices considering purchasing the Dentrix Profitability Coaching, they replied, “This is a no-brainer. For very little money we had the most informed trainer we could hope for. We didn’t have to travel or pay for someone to come to us. We had phone calls distributed over several months with detailed, targeted discussions aimed at predetermined objectives. In an hour or so we would resolve an issue and create a plan for the next. This is a very effective use of time and resources. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to keep bailing the boat faster and faster—just plug the leak. These guys can plug the leak.”
To learn more about the Dentrix Profitability Coaching program, visit www.dentrix.com/profitabilitycoaching.