Why You Need to Set and Track KPIs for Your Dental Practice

by Shawn Peers, DentalPeers

Those who choose to assume the risk of operating a small business rather than accept the security of a regular pay cheque are often passionate about what they do. Whether they are building a product or providing a service, they have often invested a great deal of time and money developing their expertise and are thrilled at the prospect of sharing that expertise with others.

However, operating your own small business also means learning new skills that many people have never considered. In particular, understanding how to best profit from your expertise means learning how to track important financial and statistical information. We often refer to these as key performance indicators (KPIs) and there can be many of these which are crucial to understanding how your business is performing.

Dentistry is no different from any other business. You are a healthcare professional and patient care is your highest priority. But to sustain that level of patient care, your practice needs to be profitable. Profitable practices are better able to invest in the people, technology and training required to provide the highest quality care.

Most dentists understand they need to track their top level production. But that only scratches the surface. To understand where you may need to improve your performance, you have to know what stats lead to that production and how to most efficiently gather that information.

Practice management software allows you to run many reports on vital KPIs. However, data is never available in real time. Rather, you have to run reports, decipher the relevant information and extrapolate any useful data. This takes time and since “time is money”, this vital task is often overlooked.

Fortunately, new technology can make this task much simpler and even help provide solutions quickly and efficiently. With just a glance at your keyboard, you will be able to review all your KPIs in a visual format that is easy to read and, just as importantly, easy to understand.

Think that labour costs or open time are issues for you? Imagine being able to identify that in real time and come up with a solution that is not only efficient, saves money but also complies with relevant labour laws.

And it is not just labour costs or open time that this software can help you monitor. Perhaps you need to consider your new patient flow. Or your sundry costs seem to be excessive. Most importantly, you can track your case acceptance rate and more readily understand why some patients might be choosing to forego necessary treatment.

Some dentists are reluctant to adopt such software because they see it as another expense. But technology that helps reduce expenses or increase production should be viewed as an investment. Think of the old saying: “look after the pennies and the dollars will look after themselves”. Software that helps you better understand how your practice is performing can provide returns that will be worth much more than the money you spend.