Dental practice turnarounds begin with a business analysis

Outside analysis can work wonders for a dental practice's success


Most dentists now understand that the new, more challenging economy is here to stay. They also realize that, more than ever, the future of their practice is in their own hands. The question is how to initiate their individual recovery. By looking to successful, real-world businesses for guidance, their turnaround process can begin with an objective, expert business analysis of their practice.

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If such an analysis is to provide insight for developing effective growth strategies, it should meet two essential requirements:

1. The focus should be on a select number of key performance metrics.

A dental practice may seem simple from a business standpoint, but there are actually numerous parameters a comprehensive analysis might include. Dentists determined to find the reasons for practice decline can be overwhelmed by the volume and complexity of what they find. To avoid this, the analysis should concentrate on a set of approximately 25 key metrics. These include:

• Percentage of patients scheduled at all times (target: 98%)
• Percentage of no-shows and last-minute cancellations (target: <1%)
• Rate of acceptance of all treatment, including elective and comprehensive (target: 90%)
• Hygiene production as a percentage of total production (target: 25%)
• Collection of fees owed to the practice (target: 99%)

Other data essential to the analytical process are the number of referrals and new patients, overhead, and, of course, levels of practice revenue, doctor income, and profitability.

2. The interpretation of data must be objective.

Understandably, dentists have difficulty maintaining objectivity when evaluating their practice — especially if they are distressed by financial conditions. They may make assumptions and focus more on their intentions or hopes rather than facing the facts. For the analysis to be meaningful and the findings valid, dentists must either work hard to maintain objectivity, or find an independent source that can conduct a professional, dental-knowledgeable, and objective analysis.

A growing number of dentists have decided that they can achieve the best results most quickly — and time is of the essence for practices that are in decline — by avoiding a do-it-yourself approach and hiring an outside expert. Even large corporations that have CPAs, business strategists, and many other management specialists on staff turn to independent services to conduct periodic analyses of their business. Dentists who do the same will be getting off to a good start in their practice turnaround process.

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In the past five years, more than 5,000 dental practices have taken advantage of the Levin Group In-Office Practice Analysis. To learn more about this unique, affordable, and eye-opening service, and how it can lay the foundation for revitalizing your practice, go to

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