A dental practice is a business like any other. Besides the provision of excellent oral care services, there are other aspects that you need to monitor to be successful. As a business, tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) is essential in understanding the performance of your dental practice.
These metrics help the business understand where it’s doing well and where improvement is necessary. This article discusses some of the most important KPIs any dental practice owner should monitor and how you can calculate them. Let’s dive in!
This is one of the most significant KPIs to track for your dental practice. Production shows the number of procedures over a period of time, multiplied by the procedure price.
Be careful though: production is not revenue. Production is the total amount of billings you send to your customers. Yet, dental practices, like any other healthcare business, have some unpaid invoices. In short:
Production = # visits × Production per visit
Production = average revenue per visit over a specified period (usually 90 days)
For example, if there are 200 visits in a month and the average production per visit is $250, then practice production will be:
Production = 200 × $250 = $50,000
Collections is one of the most important KPIs to track for any dental practice.
As mentioned earlier, revenue is different vs. production. Revenue is what the practice collects after unpaid invoices and insurance adjustments (referred to as “uncollected revenues“).
In other words, revenue equals collections.
Revenue = Collections = Production – Uncollected revenues
Your dental practice needs a well-designed collection system since, after 60 days, the possibility of collecting unpaid accounts drops dramatically.
When comparing revenue vs. production, you should focus on the collection rate.
Collection rate = Collections / Production
For instance, you may charge $200 per visit but only receive $190 from the insurer.
Collection rate = $190 / $200 = 95%
Overheads refers to the expenses the practice incurs in generating revenue, excluding Cost of Goods Sold (COGS).
- COGS are variable costs that grow in line with revenue (think perishable medical supplies, payment processing fees, etc.)
- Overhead are mostly fixed costs (salaries, rent, marketing, etc.)
You should think of overhead as expenses you will incur even if there are no patient appointments.
Whilst COGS grow in line with revenue, you can dramatically increase your dental practice profits by reducing overhead.
When looking at overhead, it’s always useful to look at the percentage it represents vs. revenue.
Overhead rate = Overhead expenses / Revenue
For instance, if expenses are $80,000 and your gross income is $100,000, the overhead rate will be:
Overhead rate = $75,000 / $100,000 = 75%
4. Profit margin
For any business, profits have different definitions, it can be:
Gross profit = Revenues – COGS
EBITDA = Revenues – COGS – Overhead
Net Profit = Revenues – Total expenses
- COGS include variable costs like payment processing fees and medical supplies
- Overhead mostly include fixed costs like salaries, rent and marketing
- Total expenses include all of the above as well as non-cash expenses (e.g. depreciation), non-core/exceptional expenses (legal settlements for example), interest payments for debt and corporate tax expenses
For example, if a dental practice generates a monthly revenue of $30,000, and has:
- $5,000 COGS
- $23,000 overhead
- $1,000 debt interest expense
- $500 corporate taxes
Gross profit = $25,000 (83% gross margin)
EBITDA = $2,000 (7% EBITDA margin)
Net Profit = $500 (2% net profit margin)
5. New patient conversion rate
This KPI is the total number of clients you get from possible leads and those that inquired about the practice.
Leads can be anything from:
- Email inquiries
- Signups on your website / newsletter
Of course, these numbers can easily be automatically tracked with a solid CMS platform.
To improve this KPI, consider changing marketing tactics, staff training, and getting insights on what patients inquire most about dental practices and procedures.
You can calculate the metric by dividing the Number of patients by the Number of patient inquiries/leads.
New patient conversion rate = New patients / Leads
For instance, if there are 400 inquiries in a month, and you manage to convert 150 into new patients, the conversion rate is:
New patient conversion rate = 150 / 400 = 38%
6. Cancellation (or no-show) rate
This metric is one of the most overlooked yet essential dental practice KPIs.
Reducing cancellation rate is crucial to improve your profits. Indeed, whenever a patient cancels or doesn’t show, it results in idle time when you could have booked another patient.
In other words, cancellation rate constrains productions, and eventually your profitability.
It’s important to note that dental practices may choose to differentiate the 2 rates as follows:
- Cancellation rate: a patient that cancels before a certain time period prior to the appointment (12 hours for example)
- No show rate: a patient that either doesn’t show up, or cancel within a certain time period (e.g. 12 hours)
To calculate the cancellation rate, you divide the number of no-shows or cancellations by the total scheduled appointments.
Cancellation rate = # cancelled visits / # scheduled visits
For instance, if in a month you had 140 scheduled appointments yet 20 cancellations, your cancellation rate is:
Cancellation rate = 20 / 140 = 14%
7. Patient attrition (or churn)
Attrition is the number of patients the practice is losing.
You may lose patients either to competition, or for other reasons like:
- They have relocated
- They changed their insurance with you don’t accept yet
- They don’t need your services anymore
Therefore, when looking at churn, you should try to understand what are the reasons behind it to take action. Are they discontent or is this out of your control?
Because most people usually go to a dental clinics once a year or less (only 63% of adults in the US went to a dental clinic in the last year), churn is often calculated year by year.
Churn = # patients who are coming back this year – # patients who came last year
Churn rate = Churn / # patients who came last year
For example, if in in the last 12 months you received 1,000 patients of whom 700 came the year prior, and you received 1,100 patients the year prior, then churn rate is:
Churn = 700 – 1,100 = – 400 patients
Churn rate = – 400 / 1,100 = 36% per year
8. Staff costs percentage
This metric is essential as it shows the percentage of your revenue that goes to paying your staff. Keeping track of this KPI helps you understand whether you are under or overstaffing during particular times of the day and/or the week.
To calculate the labor cost percentage, you should first select a time period (for example a week) and track revenue over that time compared to labor cost.
Labor cost percentage = Staff costs / Revenue
For instance, if in a month you generate revenue of $40,000 and you spend $20,000 in salaries, then the labor cost percentage is:
Labor cost percentage = $20,000 / $40,000 = 50%
9. Revenue per patient
This is the average revenue you earn per patient.
You can calculate revenue per client by;
Revenue per patient = Revenue / # patients
If a dental practice generates $5,000 in revenue from 25 patients in a week, then;
Revenue per patient = $5,000 / 25 = $200
10. Active patients & retention rate
Active patients is the number of patients that have visited the practice within a certain period (1 to 2 years usually). In other words, this KPI keeps track of the number of patients a dental practice practice has at any time (assuming active patients will come back).
As you would have understood, active patients grows with the new patients you attract, and reduces with churn (attrition).
Competition in dental practice is high, and you must ensure you retain as many patients as possible. If your practice doesn’t have adequate active patients, you may revise your marketing strategy and budget.
Active patients = # patients who came at least once in the past 1 (or 2) years
Active patients is very useful when we look at patient retention: the number of patients as a percentage of active patients.
Retention rate = # patients / # active patients
For example, if the number of active patients is 1,200 (for the past year) yet you received 1,600 total patients in the same period, then:
Retention rate = 1,200 / 1,600 = 75%
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