How is your dental practice running?

Did your dental receptionist forget to collect on a patient today?

Is there a hole in your hygiene schedule?

Well, then the whole front desk team must be slacking, underperforming and doing a terrible job, right?! 


How do you know how your front desk team is performing? Can you judge their performance by what happened in today’s schedule? If not, how is the dentist supposed to know whether the front desk team is doing their job or not?

This is the right question.

When you measure your performance and compare it against known industry benchmarks, you know how your practice is running. That way you’re not being thrown off by one patient who didn’t pay for their MI Paste and left the practice $26 short. Or on the reverse, the hygiene schedule is full to brimming, and the hygienists are so dedicated they are the last to leave each evening, so the dentist assumes all is well. When a measurement against benchmark would reveal that the team is woefully under-producing.

Benefits of dental practice measurement

First of all, the owner of the practice can clearly see how the office is performing. And, when the owner dentist looks at the top 10-15 categories, she can also see which parts of the practice are performing well, and which need to improve.

Next, when you measure your dental practice performance and share it with your staff, you can use it to manage your dental staff. Management includes appreciating the teams that are being successful and meeting their goals – as well as coaching the teams that are struggling. Staff appreciate knowing what the goals are – almost every dental staff person I know wants to hit goals, wants to help their dentist and simply wants the training and support to accomplish the goals!

In addition, the owner can make solid financial decisions when he understands how the practice is running. He knows when he needs to have an uncomfortable meeting with his hygienist team about clocking in only 15 minutes before the first patient and 15 minutes after the last patient – and then talking through ideas on how they can enter clinical notes during each patient’s appointment, not all at the end of the day. Most dentists avoid this meeting like the plague, but when you’re looking at real numbers that show your hygienists are being paid more than $0.50 of every $1.00 of production coming out of their department, you know you have to deal with this problem.

Finally, the best reason to use solid measurements to understand how your practice is running is because it drastically affects the morale of the office. If your front desk team is doing a great job at collecting and keeping the aging to the correct proportions, then you should be thanking them, encouraging them and asking what you can do to make their lives easier. On the flip side, if they are underperforming based on your measures, then share the financial goals with them, review their systems to get everything done in a timely manner and plan the next meeting to review the measures at end of month.

Resources for Dental Office Measurement

To find a list of what you could be measuring in your dental practice, check out Know Your Numbers – that shows the top 10 measures I believe help dentists to understand how their practice is running. By using a standard measurement approach to managing your practice, you will make better decisions, manage your staff more successfully and enjoy a happier, more positive morale throughout your team.

Also, I’m a big fan of Dentrix because it has great reports – some that are already set up for you and others that you can create to provide exactly the data you need. Dentrix can help you to manage the business side of your practice – when you’re using it properly. They offer online training and a quarterly print magazine for clients signed up for their tech support – and even on their Facebook page you can learn ideas about how to run the right reports and use the software to the fullest.

Measuring your dental practice performance is just one way to run a successful dental practice. If you’re interested in new ideas on running a dental practice, please subscribe to my weekly blog. 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 16+ years of dental practice management experience, I’m open to your questions to help you run a successful dental office.

Feel free to email me.

AUTHOR: Jill Nesbitt
  • C. Smith dds

    I try not to over react, but my staff are quicker to blame each other. Your blog helps me focus them on statistical facts, not emotions.

    March 23, 2014
  • Adrian Krulewecki,DDS

    Interested in your evaluation but have Practice Works, can you still generate a report? Thank you

    March 23, 2014
    • Dr. Krulewecki,
      I’m good with Dentrix and EagleSoft, but unfortunately, I’m unfamiliar with PracticeWorks.

      I’d be happy to provide remote consulting with you or your office manager to talk through the reports needed – and we could use so I could see your computer and we could work together to get you the information needed.

      Let me know if that sounds like a plan!

      Warm regards,

      March 29, 2014