February 3, 2020
by Shawn Peers, Dental Peers
When coaching struggling teams, I find that management is often oblivious about the status of their key performance indicators (KPIs). Some may be familiar with monthly revenue numbers. Beyond that, they fail to dig any deeper to understand why they may be underachieving.
This means they are not tracking key metrics, such as the number of new patients per month. Or just as importantly, the number of patients that leave the practice during that same period. They also fail to track the rate of case acceptance or how many patients are overdue for treatment.
The irony is the dentists in many of these offices assume they are performing well on these metrics despite not having evidence to support that view! Their surprise is quite tangible when they are confronted with the actual numbers.
Yet even these numbers do not dig deeply into why an office may be underperforming. As they say, “the devil is in the details”. Looking into what may be considered the more granular statistics may be the key to greater financial performance and, more importantly, an improved standard of patient care.
Consider a couple of examples…such as production by provider, hourly production by provider, provider’s hourly production when booked and the amount of open time.
In fairness, few managers or dentists will be able to tell you these numbers at any specific moment. Unfortunately, many of them will not be able to find this information at all. And that is because they are not tracking this data in the first place!
Given what these numbers can tell about a practice, it is unfortunately how often they are overlooked. For example, how would you explain the reason a hygienist’s average hourly production was only $155.00? If this was the only information you had, you may conclude the hygienist was solely at fault…perhaps they are not charging full value for the services provided…or they are simply not working efficiently with their patients.
Would your conclusion change if you realized average hourly production for time with a patient was $200.00 or more?
In today’s world of statistics, we need to avoid getting lost in too many details. However, we still need to recognize those which matter most, and which enable us to make better decisions about the future. At the very least, that means investing in the tools required to gather this vital information in a timely manner.
However, many dentists do not, in fact, make this investment. They see doing so as an expense…one more drain on their revenue…one more nail in the coffin of their profitability.
Sometimes it is necessary to adopt a different mindset…to see certain items as investments rather than expenses. Investing in tools which improve our ability to obtain the most relevant KPIs in a quick and efficient manner may allow us to more readily address areas where we are underperforming. This can only be beneficial to both the standard of patient care and financial performance of an office.
If you are looking for growth in your dental practice, I would encourage you to adopt a growth mindset. This does not mean throwing money at every idea out there. Investments need to be wise, well thought out, and prudent.
But they are also forward-thinking…open to helping you navigate the evolving world that dentistry is moving toward. Make 2020 the year you look for good INVESTMENTS in your practice.
About the Author
Shawn Peers is the President of Dental Peers.