7 metrics to help you measure the success of your dental practice

Everyone hopes that the rest of 2016 will be better than 2015. If you want to check how well your practice is doing, there are seven key factors you should be tracking.


1. New patients / month rate

Firstly, measure the number of new patients you bring in every month. Your practice funnel should always be fed with new patients. For that, your patient base is one of your most valuable assets! A steady flow of patients coming in your door is your success key. Even better if the new patients are also staying and building a relationship with your practice.

So, how many new patients are you are bringing in a month, and what is your goal?

2. How much does it cost to get a new patient?

Low acquisition cost is not always the best! The most suitable strategy is to be able to spend more than your competition on acquiring patients. That, might cost £50 - £300 for each new patient. The exact answer is given by answering what is that patient worth to you i.e. what is the total revenues you get from that patient?

In that don't forget to count how many referrals each patient sends you and how much they spend with you on their own or their family’s dental care, they could easily be worth £3,000 - £6,000 in a certain period. Start bumping up the referrals and you'll see the acquisition cost cut in half.

Start measuring your acquisition cost, simply total your marketing expenses over the last month or three months and divide that figure by the total number of new patients.

For example, bringing in 50 new patients and you spent £1,000, that’s 1,000 divided by 50, or just £20 per new patient. That acquisition cost, allows you to be a bit more aggressive on a referral rewards program, or sending out offers to your existing patient base. You could be a lot more aggressive with some other strategies because £20 per new patient is low.

Don't forget to check acquisition cost by source. Then decide if it costs more via direct mail or web marketing, so you need to know the cost for each applied marketing method.

3. Referral rate

Most dentists say they get numerous referrals, but in fact they don’t know exactly how many. If you’ve got 1,000 active patients and you’re getting five referrals a month, you’re looking at 60 referrals a year from an active patient base of 1,000 - i.e. a 6% referral ratio. That’s not good, but it may be easily improved.

Some quick ideas to improve immediately your referral ratio, may include:

  • Implement a "Care to Share" program

  • Send a patient newsletter each month.

  • Hold one patient appreciation event a year.

Measure your referral ratio and set improvement goals based on your actual results!

4. Patient / Treatment conversion rate

That is rate of patients who accept treatment. If that is 50%, for example, it suggests that your new patient experience is not working properly. You should identify the problem and agitate the problem.

Educate your team adequately, educate the new coming patient and present cases approprietely so that you can wrap up the presentation and see how the patient wants to proceed.

Properly, this rate should be 80% to 90%.

5. Cash flow

You should track your monthly cash flow. Your practice may implement effective marketing strategy, have good acquisition rates but your bank account to be empty.

A good exercise: In July of every year, pull up all the clients you received in January. Open every patient’s file and find out how much treatment was planned and how much cash was actually paid. Put all that down at an Excel sheet with name, cash, and treatment plan. You can do the same in January for new patients from July. Thus, you'll know you how much money is in the bank based on what was planned and make appropriate decisions.

6. Patients keeping 6-month appointment

This number will demonstrate your patient's accountability. It measures how well you’re doing at the front desk and how you’re doing at getting patients back in.

7. Daily production

Track how much each area of your practice is producing per month and per day. Do this also for hygiene since it may be a great leverage point for your practice.

Also, track how much you’re producing per hour and how much each dentist and associate is producing per hour. It’s important for you to realise what your time is worth. When you know what your hygienists and associates are producing, you can figure what you need to do to bump up their numbers.

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