Taking Measure During COVID-19
During normal times, dentists and their practice managers often have limited opportunities to focus on ways to improve production and the efficiency of their practice. There’s simply too much to do clinically and administratively. Because of COVID-19, many dental practices have closed their doors or are only seeing patients who require emergency care. Of course, this means fewer hours in the office.
This unexpected free time presents an opportunity to examine the practice’s operations so when offices return to normal, they can be more efficient, productive, and profitable than ever. An excellent place to start is with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), the metrics which measure the vitality of the practice and surface areas for improvement.
Start with Your Most Important KPIs
It is tempting to cut through the clutter and focus on your Profit & Loss statement. Certainly, these statements have value, but they don’t present the complete picture. KPIs are metrics that represent the factors that have the greatest influence on the success of a practice. Practices relying solely on P & L statements risk evaluating and adjusting the business in a vacuum. Here are a few of the most important KPIs that you should be reviewing for a more complete picture. If you haven’t spent time reviewing these in the past, there is no better time than now to take a deep dive:
A. Practice Production
Production growth is paramount to the success of any practice. A good starting point is to determine what percentage of your practice’s production should be generated by dentists and what percentage should be delivered by the hygiene department. Based on industry trends, hygiene production typically accounts for 30% of total practice production. Next, drill down by the percentage of hygiene patients, new patients, emergencies, etc. Ideally, it’s best to check your practice production against goals daily, monthly, quarterly and annually. If you haven’t done that in the past, take the time now to review the numbers. If you haven’t set goals previously, establish them for when you return to being fully operational. This KPI will help you see if there have been any notable declines or increases in performance..
Let’s face it. Collections drive cash flow and income. Per the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 52% of collection services originate from unpaid medical bills. According to a Dentistry Today article, “If providers don’t get the full amount upfront, they may struggle to get the rest of the patient’s portion. Studies show that the chance of collecting from a patient drops almost 20% as soon as the patient leaves the office.” Practices typically play catch-up, so use this time to review your receivables and devise a game plan to collect all money owed after insurance adjustments and discounts.
C. Practice Profit
Establishing a specific KPI for profitability is another important measuring stick of the health of your practice. Calculating collections minus overhead is a simple equation, but it helps you determine how best to invest your profits, whether it is purchasing new technology, using it as personal income, funding your retirement, or something else..
D. Number of New Patients
Each practice needs to target an annual goal for new patients. Break them out monthly to help provide triggers as to when you should use your marketing tools, referral programs, etc., to acquire new patients. You certainly don’t have unlimited funds or resources for referrals, so use them wisely based on your New Patient KPI.
Curve Hero Customers Can Use Operational Dashboards to Measure Their KPIs
Curve Hero’s Business Intelligence feature gives dental practitioners everything they need to stay on top of their KPIs. The KPI Dental Dashboard addresses six areas of focus:
- Accounts Receivables
- New Patients
- Treatment Plan Value
Some of the most important metrics and benefits that the Curve Hero Operational Dashboards provide include:
- Numerous visual displays of your practice’s key performance measures
- The ability to identify and correct negative trends
- Insights into the efficiencies and inefficiencies of your practice
- The ability to make more informed decisions in your practice, based on collected business intelligence
- Tools to align strategies and organizational goals to help further your practice’s production and revenue generation
- Quick, at a glance, identification of data outliers and correlations
In addition to dashboards that measure KPIs, Curve Hero customers plan their day using the Who’s on Deck dashboard, which contains a summary view of the day’s patients, including:
- New Patients
- Patient and Insurance A/R
- Upcoming birthdays
One small silver lining with COVID-19 is that it has freed up time to examine your practice, identify strengths and weaknesses, and make adjustments so that when you return to normal, you’ll be running a more finely tuned practice, and you’ll be stronger than ever.