6 Dental Practice Metrics to Track For Practice Success

Understanding your practice’s key performance indicators (KPIs) gives you the knowledge to run a successful practice where team members thrive, and patients get the best dental care. However, many dental practices don’t actively measure KPIs or have visibility into these numbers. According to a 2023 study by Jarvis Analytics, 67% of practices don’t access benchmarking information so they don’t know their strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, 82% of dentists don’t have real-time dental intelligence and only 26.7% of practices measure their KPIs regularly.  

Do you know your practice’s KPIs? And if you do, how often do you monitor them and adjust if you’re not meeting your numbers? These are questions you and your team should be asking. And if you’re thinking “I don’t want to ask these questions because it’s embarrassing,” it’s not. It shows curiosity and interest, and you care about the practice succeeding. It also means you want patients to get consistent care, so their oral health doesn’t potentially get worse. And to attain those, you need to have a 360-degree view of your practice’s performance.  

In this post, you’ll learn the 6 KPIs your practice should be tracking to have a stronger grasp on your practice’s performance, along with some tactical ways to get closer to those goals. The benchmark and industry averages come from the 2023 Jarvis Analytics study.  

1. Production per day

Benchmark: $4,000

Industry average: $3,276

How to calculate: Take the sum of total doctor production divided by the number of working days. A working day means any day the doctor has production over $1000.

Know that there’s a lot of ways to define production. You can do it by provider per hour, provider per appointment, provider per day – to name a few. Ask the practice owner how they’d like to measure production. Or if you’re the practice owner, you decide. If you’re not used to consistently tracking production, then start with one production KPI. As you get into the habit of monitoring it, you can always add different variations to watch.  

Production should be a daily conversation, so everyone knows their daily production goals. You can include discussing production goals in your morning huddles. Talking about it regularly reinforces them and will motivate everyone to structure their days around meeting those goals. It gives everyone direction so you all can leave each workday feeling like you’ve made a positive impact.  

Here are a couple of tactical ways to get closer to your production goals.  

  • Look at your schedule each day to see if there are unconfirmed appointments or schedule gaps. It’s easy for people to forget to confirm appointments because it gets lost in their text messages or emails. Get in touch with those patients to confirm their appointments. And if you have schedule gaps, use your ASAP list to see if you can get in last-minute patients.  
  • Include same-day treatments and emergency visits in your schedule. Your schedule should be designed to include these types of appointments. They’re ideal for busy patients who like to get treatments done immediately or ones who experience unexpected dental issues and need care fast. It helps you get closer to your goals, and it helps the patient, so they don’t have to wait and potentially sit in discomfort until their next appointment. It creates a better experience because you’re giving them convenience and prioritizing them.  
  • Focus on today and tomorrow. You have your yearly and monthly production goals but it’s easier to focus on the present. To make it attainable and less overwhelming, think about what you can do today and tomorrow to get you there. If you have a task list, use it to write down what you need to do to meet goals. Do those tasks first. The rest can probably wait.  

2. Hygiene reappointments

Benchmark: Greater than 90%

Industry average: 73%

How to calculate: Look at the patients seen within the date range of their hygiene and have a future hygiene visit booked within the next 12 months.

Hygiene appointments are the backbone of your schedule. They’re a big contributor to keeping a full schedule and ensuring your patients get routine care so things don’t worsen. If you’re not getting enough reappointments, then it could lead to inactive patients and lost revenue.  

Here are some ways to improve your hygiene reappointments.  

  • Aim to book hygiene appointments before the patient leaves the practice. Ideally, have the hygienist book the next appointment while the patient is still in the chair. Once a patient leaves, they’ll be focused on going about the rest of their day.  
  • Convey urgency. If you leave it to the patient to schedule their appointment, it’s likely they’ll forget. A dentist appointment is one of many items on their life admin list. Try using sentences and phrases like “(Insert month) is a busy time, and we’d love to slot you in now.” Or “Let’s get your 6-month cleaning scheduled.” By getting them scheduled in the chair, you’re also taking an item off their personal to-do list. All they have to do is remember and show up for the appointment.  
  • Include patients in your recare campaigns. If a patient still doesn’t want to commit to an appointment even after trying these suggestions, then add them to your recare campaigns. This can become a natural part of your process when making reappointments. Don’t forget to use the channels they prefer, be it text or email or snail mail. Regular reminders can nudge them to make their next appointment.  

3. New patients

Benchmark: 30 or more patients per month

Industry average: 73%

How to calculate: Any first-time patient who had a treatment or appointment.  

Marketing your practice is essential to getting more new patients on your schedule. It can be costly if you don’t have a strategy, tactics, or a clear sense of what channels bring you the most patients.  

Let’s talk channels because they’re a strong indicator of where you’re getting most of your new patients. Is it social media, referrals, paid advertising, or a combination of channels? Are the patients coming through these channels your ‘ideal’ ones? Dig into those findings. If you’re happy with the results, then focus on investing more in those channels. Consider pulling back on the ones that aren’t bringing you patients. It’s not worth throwing money at channels that don’t work for you.  

It’s worth noting that certain channels like paid advertising are more of a short-term marketing activity to bring you new patients. Your practice should be investing in long-term activities too, such as SEO and your website. Your website is your most valuable tool for new and existing patients so it should always be up to date for patients. SEO is one piece of maintaining a high-converting website so it’s easy to find in the search engines.  

Another way to get more patients is to focus on their experience. It should be easy for them to interact with your practice. For example, online scheduling is important for many patients when choosing any healthcare provider. If you’re thinking, “I like having control over my schedule,” you don’t have to completely give it up to patients. Your online scheduling tool should have custom settings where you can control when and how patients schedule appointments.  

Here are three quick tips to optimize your online scheduling.  

  • Create timeslots where it’s okay for patients to book appointments.  
  • Schedule new patients within 48 hours. New patients make an appointment because they have an immediate need to see a dentist. Try your best to accommodate these patients. They’ll appreciate being prioritized and are more likely to return.  
  • Add online scheduling to your online directory profiles. If a patient likes what they see, then make it simple for them to book an appointment from there. Pay attention to the traffic your website is getting and what patients are converting. If the patients are your ‘ideal’ ones, then it’s a strong indicator of where they like to go when researching dentists.  

4. Patient retention

Benchmark: 85%

Industry average: 58%  

How to calculate: Take the percentage of patients seen for an exam within the past 18 months and compare it to the total active patient count.  

Your practice is seeing a stream of new patients, but are you doing enough to retain them? Retention comes down to relationships building. It’s built on trust and making sure your patients feel like they’re more than a number. Your front office team should be trained to ensure every patient has a positive experience, so they become life-long patients.  

Here are three tactical tips to improve retention.  

  • Pay attention to your patient reviews. Reviews say a lot about your practice. No matter how popular your practice is, there’s always a possibility for a disgruntled patient to leave a negative review. Practices should have a policy for responding to both positive and constructive reviews. For the critical reviews, respond to let them know you’ll get in touch with them directly and follow the ADA and HIPAA compliance rules. Be sure to offer specific solutions and follow through on them. Patients will appreciate practices that take their feedback and come up with better solutions. They’re more likely to return because they want to give the practice another chance.
  • Train your team to answer phone calls. If a patient is calling about an appointment or question, you can use that opportunity to get them back. No need to be pushy. Your team should be equipped to move them to action. This can include role play and phone scripts for different scenarios. Ideally, every patient conversation should end with an action like an appointment.  
  • Identify patients who don’t have an upcoming restorative appointment. Your patients get busy and may forget to make an appointment. You can include patients in your next recall campaigns. Timely reminders using the channels they prefer will get you back on their minds.  

5. Case acceptance

Same-day Benchmark: Greater than 50%

Same-day Industry Average: 47%

Rolling (90 days) Benchmark: Greater than 75%

Rolling (90 days) Industry Average: 72%

How to calculate: Percentage of treatment plan that’s scheduled and completed

Like retention, case acceptance involves relationships building. It also involves understanding their values and what oral health means to them. You have to understand what drives them to accept or decline treatments.  

One way to tackle case acceptance is to focus on chairside conversations. You can do chairside consultations and show videos and images of procedures to educate patients. If your practice has ADA TV, you can utilize the chairside consultation mode to have conversations. These conversations should be a dialogue where the patient has time to ask questions before they make a decision. When talking with patients, keep it positive but add urgency particularly if it’s a treatment the patient needs sooner than later. You don’t want to scare the patient, but it’s important to convey that if they don’t consider this treatment, then there’s a possibility their condition will get worse.  

Schedule consultations earlier in the day with the ability to perform same-day treatments. You will have some patients who understand the importance of doing treatments sooner so having that option for them makes a difference.  

6. Co-pay collections

Benchmark: 95%

Industry Average: 75%

How to calculate: Total amount collected from a patient divided by what was expected to be collected from a patient (based on the insurance estimate), multiplied by 100.  

The last but certainly not least important KPI to measure is collections. Collections are a significant contributor to your bottom line and keep your practice financially healthy. However, many practices don’t have clear processes around collections, which impacts meeting your collection goals.  

Even though cost of care is a tricky topic to bring up with patients, you run the risk of hurting both your practice and patients when you’re not upfront about them.  

Transparency makes a difference. When a patient with insurance schedules their appointment, find out what their potential out of pocket amount might be. Then, call them ahead of their appointment to share this information, so they can be more prepared. This is an additional step, but it’s better to do it in advance rather than catching them off guard at their appointment.  

Another way to improve your collections is to ensure you’re collecting payments using the channels patients prefer. For example, if your patients prefer receiving appointment confirmations and reminders via text, then send your payment reminders by text too. Additionally, it should be easy for them to pay through your website and patient portal because some patients find that more convenient. A messy payment experience is likely to irk patients so keep your processes simple and communicate clearly. It will lead to getting paid faster so you can reach your collection goals.  

There are plenty of other KPIs your practice should be tracking, but these 7 are a strong way to start if your practice is newly established or you’re looking for more tactical ways to reach your practice goals. It’s empowering to know your work is making an impact when you focus on tasks that help you reach your goals.  

As we get closer to the end of the year, has your practice thought about what your goals are for 2024? Watch this webinar to learn how Spodak Dental does annual planning to set goals and track them through the year. You’ll learn some proven strategies you can implement at your practice, so goal setting and tracking becomes routine part at your practice.