Dentrix Mastery Part 1: Growing active patient revenue
With the hundreds of thousands of other dentists in your industry, if you’re going to be successful you have to consistently monitor and manage your practice’s key performance indicators (KPIs) to maximize your practice’s complete capability.
This article is the first of a five-part series we’re doing to help give your practice a competitive edge in today’s dental industry. The dental industry is evolving due to technology, changes in insurance plans, and numerous other factors.
In addition to the changing dental landscape, dental school graduates continue to increase year after year. According to The McGill Advisory, “The number of actively licensed dentists grew to 184,578 in 2010, an increase of 11% since 2000. By 2020 the ADA projects 195,267 active dentists in the United States.” That’s a lot of dentists you could potentially be up against.
With the hundreds of thousands of other dentists in your industry, if you’re going to be successful you have to consistently monitor and manage your practice’s key performance indicators (KPIs) to maximize your practice’s complete capability. We believe there are five KPIs every dentist should focus on:
1. Active patients
2. Active patients in hygiene
4. Accounts receivable management
5. Schedule optimization
We’ve found that mastering these five metrics will give your practice that needed competitive edge. In this article, we’ll cover all you need to know about what you need to do with your active patients.
Active patient management
Why are your active patients the first KPI you should concern yourself with? Because these patients affect the amount of money you’re bringing into your dental practice now as well as in the future. Without these patients you have no practice. Active patients include those who have visited your office within the last 18 months.
The best way to think of these patients is that they are the steady pulse of your practice. If your active patient number increases at a steady pace from month to month — an average of seeing 20 to 25 new patients a month — you’re on the right track for being a healthy, growing dental practice. On the flip side, if your active patient number is steadily decreasing, you’ve got a problem that needs to be addressed.
Try any of these things to turn your decreasing number of active patients into a positive increasing number:
• Follow up with patients who are late on their hygiene visit.
• Correctly set up patients in your scheduling system so that their future continuing care dates are accurate in your system.
• Keep track of where your new patients come from and then focus on the marketing initiatives that will help generate the best results. Also, be sure to nurture the sources that provide you with the best referrals.
• Internal initiates – Staff or patient incentives, such as gifts, discounts, and giveaways
• External initiatives – Direct mail, print, radio/TV, webpage, online, media, and affiliated groups such as community, social, and more
Active patient reports
Before you begin monitoring active patients, it’s useful to get a sense of how your practice is doing with new patients coming in. We suggest running a baseline report to help you determine how your practice is doing. New patient status reports consist of:
1. Number of new patients year-to-date compared to last year
2. Total number of new patients for the month
3. Number of new patients scheduled
4. Number of new patients without an appointment
5. Year-to-date totals for new patient records compared to the previous year
Running a baseline report will help you understand how you’re doing bringing in new patients compared to last year.
Monitoring active patients
Your practice management software is a fantastic tool for tracking active patients. After you pinpoint this number, create a plan for increasing patient flow and accounting for patient loss. If you want to grow your active patient base you need to set relevant goals your practice can achieve. Involve your entire dental team and together set practice and individual daily, monthly, and yearly goals to help grow this number.
For more information about the metrics you should be tracking, feel free to download the latest eBooks from Dentrix at Dentrix.com/Solved.
Jeremy Johnson is the marketing manager for Dentrix, a practice management software program trusted by dentists for more than 20 years.