It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of the practice and lose track of the practice’s financials. When you’re not sure how profitable you are, then it’s difficult to stay profitable. The path to tracking your profitability lies in one thing: numbers. You’ve got to track your numbers if you want to get results because when you know your numbers, you can improve them. Along with tracking and improving your profitability, improving your metrics improves the health of your patient base. It doesn’t matter how big or how small the improvement is, it makes a difference. Even if your perio percentage only increases by 2%, that’s still an increase in the number of healthy patients and an increase in money you generate. Without tracking your numbers, you base the state of your practice and your patients’ health solely on an assumption, and that doesn’t tell you the true story. It’s only with the numbers that you’ll truly understand.
Measure Your Metrics
Kirk often says, “What gets measured improves, but what gets measured and reported on improves exponentially.” It’s not enough that you take note of your metrics—you need to use those numbers to grow. I focus on hygiene, and some of my favorite metrics to track are the following:
- Perio percentage. The CDC reported that 47.2% of adults over 30 and 70% of adults over 65 have some form of periodontal disease. The industry standard for a healthy perio percentage is around 30-35%, but we have very few who are at that level, so don’t be ashamed if your number is low. The important thing is to start tracking so you know where your starting point is.
- Perio diagnosis. You may see a good perio percentage, but that doesn’t mean that patients are being diagnosed. If you use Dental Intel, look for new perio codes in treatment plans. When perio diagnostics are much lower than the overall perio percentage, it means you’re just doing a lot of perio maintenance. You’re doing a disservice to your patients if you’re just keeping them on the perio maintenance gerbil wheel and not actually talking with them about the progression of the disease—that doesn’t really help them.
- Perio accepted number. I often see periodically acceptance rate at 100%, but only because out of the 300 patients I saw, I talked to three about perio and all three of them said “Yes.” We need to talk to all the patients, not just the ones you know who will say “Yes.”
- Fluoride percentage. This is a great metric to track because it’s so beneficial to a lot of patients.
- Restorative acceptance. When looking at your restorative numbers, it’s important to look beyond the percent— also look at the dollar amount that you’re proposing to the patient because that tells another story. This is a metric that’s not just one number; you need to look at two for it.
- New patients. Practices often say that all their patients are healthy, but that only applies to your existing patient base. What about your new patients? You don’t know what kind of care they’ve received in the past, so this is a good opportunity to talk with them about perio and a healthy smile.
- Overall production of the hygienist. This is important to track because it’s tied to how they’re compensated. Traditionally their compensation should be 30-33% of their production; when you track that number, you can determine if theirs is lower and there needs to be a discussion about how much they’re earning.
The numbers are great because they tell you how well you’re doing in your roles, and what kinds of countermeasures you can take to improve. You can’t just track the numbers and then just move on without using them; decide what your goal is and determine what you can do to get things to change.
When you track how well your team members are providing services, you can see how well they’re supporting the profitability of the practice. As Kirk says, “Your favorite people like accountability,” so make your team responsible for tracking and reporting on their information. I see so many practices who don’t feel as if their work gets recognized, and this is the perfect opportunity for that. If you’re reporting on your numbers every week and they’re increasing, there’s your recognition, irrefutably spelled out. It gives team members proof that their contribution matters, and it lets you see where your practice stands. Once you have this starting point, then you can establish goals and increase those numbers, and with it, your profits.
Progress is the name of the game when it comes to tracking your numbers. Start with just a few metrics and make them a little bit better, and they’ll have a collective compounding effect on the overall health of the practice. Not only will your practice become more profitable, but you will be able to track just how profitable it is and set goals to increase those numbers even more. Reach out to the team at ACT and let them coach you on how to work with your team to start tracking and reporting on your practice’s numbers. Your patients will be healthier, and you’ll have a Better Practice, and a Better Life!
Christina Byrne is the Director of Operations at ACT.