I was a child of the late 50’s and early 60’s raised in a Catholic family. For those of you who were not raised in such a family, you may not have had the experience of riding in a family car under the protection of St. Christopher. In those days, automobiles had metal dashboards and no seat belts. It seemed almost every other vehicle had a four inch plastic statue of St. Christopher magnetically held to the dashboard. I can remember when my parents got a new car, they would be sure that the St. Christopher statue was reinstalled in the new vehicle.
Most people at the time thought of St. Christopher as the “patron saint of travel”. This patron of travelers gets his patronage from a thirteenth century legend about a giant man. He lived alone along the bank of a raging river and he would help travelers cross in safety. So it happened one day he helped a small child, who was traveling alone cross. Thus, the universally accepted imagery of the patron saint of travel carrying a small child on his shoulders as he crosses the turbulent river.
Now at this time, it is not certain that this legend ever existed. During those days, many families felt more secure with that plastic statue protecting them. There are all kinds of protection in this world. Sometimes all it takes is a symbol of protection, other times we need more concrete evidence of that protection. Things like a visible police force, locks on our doors, and neighbors and friends that look out for us all help us feel more protected.
In our practices, we need to feel protected sometimes as well. Having a dashboard to look at with our practice can be a great protection of our profitability, our goals, and our overall happiness in practice. Your practice dashboard is a list of key practice indicators that you should track daily to watch trends, make decisions on managing your practice, and plan for the future. So what is on your dashboard? Here are some suggestions for you to start with:
1. Over the Counter Collections
This is the amount of today’s collection you collected from today’s production. It should be expressed as a percentage. Typically, we want this to be 30-35% of today’s production. This shows how well your staff is collecting the patient’s portion of the day’s fees.
2. Overall Collections
Keeping track of today’s total collections is essential to keeping track of where you are at that point in the month. You should have an idea of the average collections you need to meet your goal.
3. Production per Hour for Doctor and Hygienist
Improving production per hour is the one sure way to improve your profitability. Keeping daily tabs on your h
ourly production, as well as, the hygiene hourly production is essential to your success. In a typical practice, an increase of $50 per hour could mean $60,000 in additional profit.
4. Number of New Patients by Source
Tracking the number of new patients each day is important. However, it is even more important to track the source of where those patients come from. This is the only true way to determine how well we do on our internal and external marketing.
5. Future Production Booked for the Next Month
The better the handle you have not only on today’s production, what is on the schedule going forward, the more likely you will take the actions necessary to maintain production goals. By tracking future production, it provides better assurance of consistent future production.
6. Accounts Receivable Balance
Managing your Accounts Receivable is very important to managing your cash flow. Unusual changes in your Accounts Receivable should be investigated immediately.
7. Conversion Ratio
Perhaps one of the greatest lies that dentists tell themselves is the amount or percentage of treatment accepted. The only way to be sure is to track the conversion ratio. In other words, what percentage of the treatment presented today was accepted.
8. Percentage of Hygiene that is Perio
Many practices struggle to get or maintain a strong Perio program. One of the best things you can do is track your daily Perio percentage.
9. Number of Operative Patients Doctor Saw
One of the worst things a dentist can do is schedule too many operative patients in a day. We have found doctors that have more than 8-10 operative patients daily tend to actually lose production. It is essential to be intentional about your schedule.
10. Number of Cancellations or No Shows
Most practices have some problem with cancellations and no shows. It is very helpful to track not only the number, but also if there is a particular hygienist or doctor with higher percentages.
The key to success in practice is “what gets measured gets done”. It may not be as good as a St. Christopher statue, it is the next best thing!
“Science cannot progress without reliable and accurate measurement of what it is you are trying to study. The key is measurement, simple as that.”
Robert D. Hare