Key Performance Indicators Every Dentist Needs to Know and Track

As a dentist, you are required to perform your job with precision and know all the ins and outs of dental medicine. Dentistry is complex, and a great deal of care and toil is put into becoming an expert at your craft. But is all the knowledge that you learned in medical school enough to ensure you a profitable practice? 

Learning dental medicine is hard but practicing it can be even harder. Finding clients, keeping them, and making sure you have a steady cash flow every month to pay your bills can be tough. 

You may know dentistry inside out, but there is a lot more to running a dental practice than just the professional side. That’s where business essentials like marketing, advertisement, and customer service come into play. Your practice is your business, and you need to treat it as something that can be measured and improved. 

The crucial things that a dental practitioner must watch out for while managing their practice are a few “Key Performance Indicators,” abbreviated as KPIs. And why are these crucial, you may ask? 

As the name suggests, KPIs are performance indicators, meaning they help you decide whether things are going fine or need an overhaul. To put it simply, KPIs measure how you are keeping up with your business targets. These indicators keep an eye on the overall performance of your business. 

Hence, measuring KPIs is indispensable for every business, including your dental practice. But there are different KPIs for different businesses, and you must know which ones you should be tracking. 

We have combed through a few essential dental KPIs that you should measure to incur the maximum profit from your practice. And, who doesn’t want that? After all, you don’t practice for fun alone; this is your bread and butter. And let’s make sure that you not only earn it but also do an excellent job at it.

OVERHEAD AND EXPENSE KPIS

Let’s begin with a simple one. Every business has expenses; yours has as well. Expenses are inevitable. Overhead expenses in a dental practice are all expenses other than the dentist’s salary. Because overhead expenses take such a huge percentage of each dollar you earn you need to track them, to know when and where it gets out of hand. 

Your practice overhead must not exceed 40%-55%, depending on if you are a general practitioner or a specialist. Exceeding this limit may land you in serious income constraints, so measure your expenditure from time to time to control overheads.

PRODUCTION AND PROFIT KPIS

As much as it is crucial to measure expenses, it is even more important to measure your profit. Profit is whatever you retain after subtracting your collections from your expenses. “Collections” are your monetary collections – how much money (fee) do you earn from your clients. Obviously, you cannot take every penny earned back home as profit, since you also must account for your expenses like buying equipment and paying workers. It is paramount to track your gains to ensure you have enough money to sustain your desired lifestyle. Hence, you must track how little or how big an amount is left to you after your practice expenses. 

We have not provided any statistics for profits since it’s entirely subjective. Just make sure you incur at least as much profit as to keep the ship sailing. 

It is also vital to measure and assess production-related indicators. In dental practice, your production is a client, or a service availed. Always remember while measuring your production output that it needs to grow continuously. A stagnant production rate can eventually lead to your practice decline, even if you keep reducing your overheads. 

Why? Well, think of production as sales. As a business owner, you must make sure that your business reach is continuously growing. If not, it should be considered worrisome, since your existing production can also dry up anytime. 

Since it is such an important indicator, we also suggest that you track its various aspects independently. It may seem like quite a lot to you if you hate the business side of the practice. This is where a dental specialist like us can help you. It will pay off tremendously if you track just these KPIs consistently. 

Hence, we recommend that you track average production per patient, average production per new patient, and production by procedures separately. This simply means to track the worth and number of services acquired by your regular clients and new clients. You should also measure your earnings via dental procedures performed since it will help you ascertain and focus on high-paying procedures.

HYGIENE PRODUCTIONS AND PROCEDURES KPIS 

Your hygienists should generate between 20%-25% of the production in a healthy dental practice. After all, hygiene procedures aren’t the most high-paying; so, the larger the sum of your production depends on non-hygiene procedures, the better. Instead of spending most of your time on oral hygiene procedures, try to engage more in restorative procedures, and leave the oral hygiene procedures to your hygienists. 

Also, you must make sure that your hygiene patients are consistently scheduling appointments with you. Losing hygiene production means losing a big chunk of your collection. This needs to be measured and tracked. 

TRACKING PATIENTS AND APPOINTMENTS

You may be the best dentist in town, but never forget, dentists have become a dime a dozen. It is always possible to lose your clients due to saturation in dental practice. If you keep a check on your current patient count and appointments scheduled, you may be able to avoid the patient loss or reduce any financial constraints at the end of the month. Close to 100% of your active patients should be scheduled for their next appointment. If your number is much lower than this, you must immediately start thinking of ways to turn the table. Also, as mentioned earlier, your production must keep growing; hence you should be getting new clients every so often and also track their number.  

Besides watching for new clients, you must also pay heed to the attrition indicators. Patient attrition refers to a decrease in the number of new patients. Since not all clients end up lasting a lifetime, you must know how long your clients stay with you on average.

Your annual patient attrition percentage should be in the lower single digits. As a supplementary measurement, you should also track how much of your appointments are getting canceled. 

Also, it would be best if you had a way of tracking patient satisfaction. This can be achieved by quantifying how patients receive your procedures and prescriptions. In addition, you should provide your patients with an incentivized survey yearly to track their satisfaction.

The indicators mentioned above are some of the most important lenses through which you should be looking at your business’ health. These Key Performance Indicators can keep your practice churning profits and help you identify levels of growth or possible weakness.

Tracking KPIs require you to have accurate and timely financial information. It also requires you to be consistent over time to watch the KPIs change over time and to measure it against benchmarks. This is where a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with specialized knowledge can help. If you need any clarification or help with your dental practice regarding KPIs, tax returns, or bookkeeping, please feel free to reach out to us through the Contact Us page.

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