You have goals for your dental practice, such as more patients, higher daily production or fewer missed appointments. In order to reach these goals, you need to clearly understand your practice’s strengths and weaknesses. In this post, we’ll introduce a useful technique for gathering the kinds of information that can help you evaluate your practice and set new goals for better performance: using “Key Performance Indicators.”
What are KPIs and why are they important?
A Key Performance Indictor or KPI is a statistic that measures how well a business meets its performance goals. Depending on the type of business, different KPIs are appropriate, but they can be anything from sales numbers to expenditures to web traffic targets to projects completed per year. The key to effectively utilizing KPIs is systematically gathering the necessary data over time.
KPIs are important because they allow you to make concrete headway toward fulfilling your business goals by quantifying them. By this I mean, a goal like “generate more web traffic on business websites” becomes “increase unique visitors per month by 20%.” If you gather the right statistics and monitor them over time, you can see progress happening as a result of your marketing choices. As the saying goes, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”
How do KPIs work for dentists?
What are the KPIs that can most help dentists streamline their practice management and become more successful? You’re likely using analytics on your dental website and social media channels to measure performance in these areas. Let’s map out a few additional KPIs by quantifying some typical goals of dental practices:
Goal 1: Better patient retention
Quantified: Don’t guess how well you’re doing—keep records of what percentage of current patients are scheduled for their next check-ups and how many are overdue. Watch the effects on this statistic as you use various approaches to increase retention, like optimizing your mobile and web-based appointment scheduling or conducting digital marketing campaigns.
Goal 2: Increased patient referrals
Quantified: Track the number of patients referred by other patients and which patients refer most often. If the numbers are lower that your goal, brainstorm ways to encourage your patients to refer their friends—like a special offer. Also think about other referral sources, like HR managers at nearby companies that offer dental insurance or medical doctors in your area.
Goal 3: New patient acquisition
Quantified: Finding new patients should be a goal of every dental practice. Track the numbers of new patients coming in every week, month, and year. Compare your monthly and yearly numbers. Watch for slower times of the year where Search Engine Advertising or other advertising and marketing campaigns could be useful in increasing your numbers. While you’re at it, you should also know how many patients per year stop coming in.
Goal 4: Appointment stats
Quantified: Measuring whether scheduling is working well at your practice means keeping track of scheduled appointments and whether or not dental services are performed in the allotted time, cancelled appointments, and no-shows. These numbers will be the key in helping you evaluate the effectiveness of scheduling systems and overall practice efficiency.
Goal 5: Profits
Quantified: Last, but certainly not least. A dental practice is just like any other small business, and should always be looking at revenue and expenses. If your practice is not profitable, you should look at your daily production, overhead expenses, allocation of staff time, and profitability per hour. Looking closely at the different procedures you schedule during the day and the opportunities for offering patients additional, high margin services like tooth whitening and oral cancer screenings during regular check-up appointments can help you raise daily production and align staff time with profitable services.
How to gather and manage KPIs?
Many dentists use software to gather statistics, whether general dental practice management software, or software specifically designed to measure these statistics. There are also lots of templates available digitally to measure KPIs.
Once you have gathered important KPIs about your dental practice, take a look at where you stand. The numbers don’t lie. Identifying areas of weakness will help you prioritize improvements and hopefully motivate you to try out new marketing and management strategies. Try setting new goals for your practice for each KPI and be proactive about finding the reasons for unfavorable numbers. Evaluate, improve, and then evaluate some more. Happy tracking!