Create an end of year profile of your practice | How to run a dental practice

Create an end of year profile of your practice

Hard to believe it’s year end again. As you wrap up your last few days of 2015 and start to think about the new year, now is the time to run a handful of reports to see where you are and set some goals. When I ran an annual strategic plan for my group, I ran these same reports each Jan 1 and July 1 so we could compare apples to apples. You may want to do the same.

New Patients

What is your trend for new patients over the last few years? If you run your new patient report each month, you can see your trends and compare to the often-referenced 35 new patients/month benchmark. Beyond the total number of new patients, take a look to see your top referral sources. In Dentrix, run the Referred by Doctor/Other report to see which marketing programs or insurance plans are your strongest referral sources. Be sure that you’re documenting all your new patient referrals so you can trust this report. For instructions and a video to track your referral sources, click here.

Production and Collection vs. Staffing

In my recent article published in Dental Economics, I talked through the value of setting up your adjustments properly and how this will affect your management decisions in your practice. For Dentrix users, I recommend running the Provider AR Totals report to see your gross production, adjustments and net production, as well as gross collection, adjustments and net collection as well. For instructions to set up your adjustments, click here.  Once you can see your net production, compare that to what you paid your staff, including their benefits and bonuses. Since staff compensation is the largest expense in a dental practice, this is one of the biggest opportunities to improve your profitability – but also one of the biggest challenges to make the right choices about when and how to manage this expense.

Hygiene evaluation

Next, run an annual report for each of your hygienists. Look at their total production and their production in each of the procedure types they are responsible for in the practice, including STM (include all the different versions of root planing and scaling), perio maintenance, fluoride, sealants and whitening. By measuring each one of these areas (in Dentrix, run the Production Summary by provider to see the procedure code of each and group together as needed) now you can compare each of your hygienists’ performance. As you compare 2014 to 2015 – what trends are you seeing? And, what goals do you want for next year?

Some reports you can only run at certain times – and recall due is one of them. To see how successful your recall program is, you need to run a report before the month starts to see all patients due for recall next month, whether they have an appointment scheduled or not. Then, you can compare that to how many are still due at the end of the month. Once you have your percentages, you can get an average throughout the year – and then set a goal for next year to improve.

Active Patients

Use the Dentrix letter merge to find your patients with a last visit date of 2 years ago to today – and use this number as active patients. This is a report to run every year so you can look for trends. Is your practice growing? Or shrinking? What will you do this next year to impact your practice?

Aging / Insurance

I’m also a fan of the Dentrix letter merge to evaluate how the PPO plans you’ve joined are working for you. Take a look at how many active patients have each PPO and how many new patients joined your practice this year from each plan. Which PPOs brought you the most new patients? And, just by comparing a few fees – let’s say prophy, crown and extraction for example, you can see what kind of write off you receive from the different plans.

Be sure to run your aging report and outstanding claims aging as well – if these are more than 1.5x net production, then it’s time to set the priority for this new year to work with your administrative team to get these under control. Run these reports monthly to monitor your progress.

Year end is a great time to evaluate your year and set goals moving forward. Running your reports is a good way to really see your practice and set goals moving forward.

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One of the biggest challenges to managing a dental practice is managing dental insurance. With dental insurance handled, then dental marketing for new patients becomes a primary focus. In today’s day of online reviews, handling patient complaints well is essential. As your practice grows, hiring dental staff becomes more important. With 18+ years of dental practice management experience, I’m open to your questions to help you run a successful dental office.

AUTHOR: Jill Nesbitt
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