Do you know what you don’t know?
Dental practice owners are virtually drowning in data. As a provider and business owner, you are required to make hundreds of decisions, both large and small, every day. Some decisions are small and of little or no consequence. Some decisions can make all the difference between your business either thriving or failing.
Under the heading of things that matter, let’s talk about case acceptance. Is this something you are tracking? If so, how so? Or do you wonder if it’s even possible to track case acceptance within your existing practice management software?
Why is case acceptance so hard to measure? There are at least two reasons.
First, dentists and hygienists aren’t consistently documenting in their treatment planner whether or not the offered treatment is accepted. This is a problem. It’s impossible to measure something when you don’t have data with which to measure it.
Second, there’s no way in practice management systems to accurately capture the dollar amount of the offered treatment as compared to the percentage of those that accept the offered treatment. The most common solution to this problem is manual entry. In other words, spreadsheets. Did you just swear?
One of the risks of this system (in addition to the amount of time and repetition required) is the natural tendency to skew those numbers to make things look better than they actually are. This shouldn’t be surprising. Human nature being what it is, we all want to succeed and to feel good about our performance. Thus, the manual entry of case acceptance may bring a smile to your face, but it likely won’t accurately portray how you’re performing in your case acceptance percentage.
Even if you are accurately tracking case acceptance, the insights you gain from such effort may be limited. For example, if you currently show a case acceptance percentage of 100%, that likely won’t reflect the possibility that you only presented treatment to 25% of your patients.
The real solution lies in accurate data insights. Using the power of cloud-based software, Dental Intelligence helps thousands of practices not only view actual case acceptance percentage, but more importantly, use this information to make plans and goals around improving case acceptance.
We do this by showing practices their average dollar-to-exams score. Without requiring any manual entry, this is an essential step in accurately tracking case acceptance. We do this by taking the exam and dividing it by dollars completed, not by what may have been accepted. In other words, we’re taking the opportunity and dividing it by the end result. If this number is going up, you can know that case acceptance is also improving. Nice!
We also help you to measure your diagnostic case acceptance. For example, if you saw 100 patients, how many of them did you present treatment to? The average among all the practices we track for this metric is 46%. Some offices are as low as 10-20%, which indicates this isn’t something they’re tracking. The provider is the only one that can improve this percentage.
Sometimes we think that the person scheduling controls this percentage, and that’s not accurate. When the provider presents the need for treatment to the patient in a way that appropriately stresses the need for that treatment, acceptance is much higher than if presentation is informal or done by someone other than the doctor.
How do we provide this data? We do it in four unique ways.
First, we track the diagnostic percentage, meaning, out of 100 patients, how many am I diagnosing for treatment? The average number for this is 43%.
Second, the acceptance percentage. For example, if I diagnose treatment for 50 out of the 100 patients, how many of those 50 being diagnosed are accepting treatment and then scheduling that treatment? This percentage should be in the eighties.
How many of those accepting treatment are scheduling this treatment before they leave the office?
The crucial measurement here is to improve the percentage of those scheduling treatment while still in your office. From experience, you know that the number of patients scheduling treatment drops after they leave your office. This metric helps you to focus on and then improve that percentage. You can start this today. We're being literal here — try it with your next patient and see if you can schedule treatment before they leave the practice. And then try it with the patient after that. You'll be amazed.
Third, dollar acceptance percentage, meaning that X amount of dollars are presented and on average, patients are accepting what percentage of dollars for that treatment? For example, if you are on average presenting $1,000 of treatment, and on average, patients are accepting $100 of treatment, then your dollar acceptance percentage is 10%. We’re seeing practices average 20% in this metric. Many may think this number is higher for them, but the data says otherwise. The goal is at least 30%.
Fourth, average dollars completed per exam, meaning out of all of my exams, how many are actually completing treatment? This metric is inclusive of those that do call back after leaving the office to schedule treatment as well as any other treatment that actually gets completed. This measurement is more valuable to you than case acceptance percentage because it’s measuring treatment dollars you actually completed versus merely scheduling them.
We help dentists to set goals in each of these areas for both restorative and hygiene. Recently we helped a dentist set goals for improvement in these four areas that resulted in their average hygiene visits to dollars completed improving from $80 to over $150! When averaged over a quarter, this would result in an additional $35,000 in new revenue for this practice — without adding any new patients. Although this might be an extreme case, even a small increase in this average can yield significant dividends.
As a provider focuses on increasing these three percentages (diagnostic, acceptance, and average dollar percentage) by only 10%, they’ll see a 125% increase in production. You read that right. Meaning, if you’re doing $1,000,000 each year, that can be increased to $2,125,000 simply by making these three percentages a priority.
Even increasing just one of these measurements by 10% will result in a substantial increase in revenue, without needing to add a large amount of new patients or to spend additional dollars on marketing.
There are really only two ways to increase production dollars: increase the number of new patients, or increase the amount of production being performed on existing patients. It’s not too hard to decide which of these is more attractive.
If you're ready to start making decisions armed with data that actually matters, schedule a demo to see how Dental Intelligence can give you actionable insights into improving your bottom line.