In today’s world, businesses generate a lot of electronic data every day. A dental practice is no exception. Most practices use a variety of electronic software for various processes including scheduling, billing, claim processing etc. This means your practice is generating tons of data each week as your employees go about their day. But what exactly can you do with it?
Key Production Indicators
Big data can be very useful for organizations. Retailers analyze data about customers, products and sales number to identify trends or programs that appeal to their target audience. Manufacturers use their big data capabilities to create new or improve existing products. Service providers can customize their offerings or tweak them exactly to client specifications based on analyzing historical data.
The dental practice owner, you can also benefit from the data your practice generates. Dentists can use Key Production Indicators to identify potential for growth, room for improvement or even problems before they arise. KPI refers to certain metrics that can alert you to possible changes in the clinic – both positive and negative. You want some of these numbers to be low while others should be high.
For instance, you want your no shows to be as low as possible. Each time a patient cancels, you face an empty chair and no revenue for that time slot. On the other hand, you do want your collection numbers as high as possible. Every practice owner should know their KPIs, monitor them each week and understand what they say about the clinic’s performance.
Examples of KPIs
Some of the metrics that you should be following include:
- Key production numbers – Do you know your daily, weekly and monthly production numbers for your practice? These numbers help you compare your current performance to previous years. If your monthly production numbers are consistently less than what they used to be, you should be concerned. Production metrics will give you a big picture perspective on the stability of your clinic.
- Patient acquisition and retention numbers – How many new clients are walking in your door each month? Is it higher or lower than before? What percentage of new patients become loyal clients after a few visits? Knowing these numbers will give you a fair idea about the potential growth of your clinic and also alert you to possible issues with retaining patients.
- Appointment metrics – These numbers relate to appointments, cancellations and no-shows. What percentage of your patients schedule appointments for the next visit? How many cancellations do you have on a weekly or monthly basis? A lot of practices have issues with filling up last minute cancellations and no shows. This means that you actual production for that week will be much lower than anticipated. Knowing a problem exists is the first step, then you can think of how to fix it.
- Expenses and collections – Every practice has a few outstanding bills but if you have 10% outstanding each month, you have a problem on your hands. Your practice doesn’t make a profit on treatments until you get paid! Depending on the problems in this area, solutions can range from a simple policy/script change to implementing software systems for easier payment processing. You should also know your profit, overhead and variable expense ratios. Is there a way to reduce your overhead or boost profits?
Most EHRs come with reporting functionality that can tell you what your KPIs are each week. It’s easy to forget the big picture when you’re bogged down with day to day issues. That’s what KPIs are there for. Take some time to go over the numbers and solve issues before they become huge problems.