Where did your new patients come from this year?

Only 5 weeks left in the year 2011 – hard to believe, isn’t it? As our national
economy continues to move painfully slowly toward the recovery we’re all
waiting for, you may be thinking about your dental practice finances for next
year. One of the major factors in how your practice performs financially is how
many new patients come through your doors. For most dentists, this is THE most important measure in the practice.

To improve your dental practice financial picture for 2012, the best thing you can do right now is to do a thorough evaluation of your new patients from this year – so you can build on your strengths and look for new opportunities for
marketing. To do this thorough evaluation, you start with finding out how many new patients came to you. To find your new patients in Dentrix, go to Office manager, letters and create a lookup for only the first visit date for this
year
, be sure to clear out all other criteria except for including all patients A-Z and all providers and billing types. In the data field, checkmark the name, email, city, birthdate, referred by, primary insurance company name. Then click ok to close the window and Create/Merge so that you gather the data  only. Copy and paste this data into excel and then you can start to do some analysis on your new patients.

Your new patient evaluation should include:

  • How many new patients did you have in 2011? Now that you have the instructions, you can quickly run the same report for 2010 and 2009. It’s nice to see 3 years of data to find out if you are trending up or down with your new patients.
  • What ages are your new patients? Now, if you’re a pediatric dentist, this is self-evident. But if you’re a general dentist, it is helpful to see what ages of new patients are coming to you. If you are bringing in a majority of new patients over age 60, then this is a strength that you can build on.
  • Who are your primary referrals? This may be a combination of physicians or schools or specific marketing programs. Find out the top 10 ways you are gaining new patients – and then invest in the ones that are already working.
  • Which insurance plans are sending you new patients? Perhaps there is one plan that is really doing well for you in terms of new patients. Depending on their reimbursement level, you may want to invest some time marketing to the companies who have this insurance plan.

Please share a comment on how your new patient analysis turns out. I’d be interested to hear what strengths you discovered. Next week, we’ll be back to Part 2 on Hiring Dental Staff.

For more ideas to improve the business-side of your dental practice:

AUTHOR: Jill Nesbitt
jill@dentalpracticecoaching.com
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