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The 7 Vital Metrics for Success in Dental Administration


Running a dental practice requires deep administrative and management skills. Dental administration is the perfect place to start improving your practice.

Is your dental practice tracking its metrics? Should you be? How do you know what data to track?

Successful dental administration requires good data. Improving your management efficiency will improve the profitability of your practice. It will also improve your patients’ health outcomes.

Find out the seven vital metrics you should be tracking to have dental practice success.

1. Preappointment Percentage

To determine your preappointment percentage, look at how many of your active patients have a future appointment scheduled. You’ll see whether you’re getting new or recurring patients. You’ll also learn how many of them have a future appointment.

The percentage of active patients with a future appointment scheduled should be 98%. In most dental practices, this figure is less than 85%.

A patient without a future appointment is potentially a lost patient. If your preappointment percentage is low, you’re probably not using patient visits as well as you could be. You reduce your ability to increase production and office visits.

However, an active patient base shows that your practice is healthy and has good potential for growth.

2. Production Per Visit

Production per visit shows how much and what kinds of treatments you’re providing. You can see if a decrease in production is due to fewer patients overall or patients accepting less treatment. You’ll also learn the rate of treatment acceptance.

3. Annual Patient Value

You can find the annual value per patient by calculating your collections per patient for all of your active patients. The average value per patient should increase annually. Increasing value means that each patient is receiving more treatment.

Annual patient value is an important metric. It helps you determine how many active patients you need in order to meet the financial goals of your practice. It also tells you how much you can spend on advertising to bring in new patients.

Your annual patient value can help you decide when you should add an associate dentist, hygienist, or another staff member. If you know how much revenue each new patient brings to your practice, you can calculate when adding staff will be profitable.

Comparing your production per visit and your annual patient value gives you insight into the health of your practice. For example, if the annual patient value was $650 and your production per visit was $350, you’re seeing your patients around two times per year. You could be scheduling more treatments and increasing your production.

Various strategies can help increase annual patient value. Performing more whitening treatments is one way to increase your production per visit. You could also start a periodontal diagnostics program or add new services like sleep apnea treatments.

4. Missed Appointment Percentage

Missed appointments are expensive for your practice. They also have a negative effect on your patients’ oral health. If your no-show rate is more than 10–15%, you need to find out why.

Patients may forget because they didn’t receive a reminder. Maybe finding parking near your practice is difficult. People who are late on their payments may miss an appointment because they don’t want to end up with more charges.

A lack of friendly reminders is frequently the cause of missed appointments. When you get each patient’s contact information, ask how they prefer to be contacted with appointment reminders. In a recent survey, consumers said they preferred text messages when receiving urgent communications like appointment reminders. However, phone calls, text messages, and emails can all be effective depending on each patient’s preferences.

5. Supply Usage and Spending

Tracking your supply usage and spending is another important metric. You need to have enough stock on hand to meet the treatment needs of your patients. Having supplies ready can increase your productivity. You can perform treatments and procedures without needing to wait.

However, having too much inventory takes money away from other areas of your practice where you could use it more effectively. Your practice can potentially get significant savings from having a more accurate picture of your supply usage and spending.

6. Hours Spent on Manual Processes

Dental practices have many options for choosing an online platform to manage patients, inventory, and scheduling. Despite this, many offices still haven’t upgraded their paper systems for new electronic management systems.

If you’re still making the transition from paper to software, the hours spent to verify inventory, place orders, check product expiration dates, and other administrative tasks add up quickly. You can increase efficiency and lower expenses by reducing the hours you and your staff spend on manual processes.

7. Collections

If you’re collecting less revenue than you should have produced, you need to evaluate your collections. A good goal is to keep your total accounts receivable at one month’s average production or less.

Receivables over 90 days should be less than 10% of the total. Once an account receivable is more than 60 days old, collecting it becomes increasingly unlikely.

Ideally you would be collecting 98% of all money you’re owed after insurance adjustments and any other discounts.

Using Metrics to Improve the Dental Administration in Your Practice

Administration and management aren’t most dentists’ favorite part of running their practice. However, improving your administration efficiency can significantly increase your profitability and patient outcomes. When you start tracking your metrics, you need everyone on your team to help make the necessary changes to your practice.

Set monthly or yearly revenue goals for your clinic. Then, determine how much your production needs to increase to achieve those goals. You can set daily goals to be sure your hygienists and other staff know how their productivity contributes to the success of the practice.

Encourage your team to complete the most tasks possible each day without losing a focus on quality. You can lead by example when you demonstrate a sense of planned urgency. Setting and meeting early deadlines increases your business productivity.

The right technology will help improve your dental administration. It will also improve the care you give your patients. Software for inventory management and scheduling gives you better control over your expenses. In addition, you spend less time on administrative tasks and can devote more time to your patients.

Sowingo Inventory Management

An inventory management system is one way to track some of these 7 vital metrics. Sowingo is one of the leading inventory management systems in North America. Our mobile and web-based platform monitors inventory levels, sends alerts when supplies are low, and lets you track spending. Sowingo also tracks expiration dates and handles record-keeping for sterilization and compliance.

Check out the features of our platform and book a free demo. Let us know if you have any questions. We look forward to helping you benefit from improving the dental administration in your office.

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