Statistical sweet spot

March 21, 2012

January 2010 | Dental Products ReportThink like a CEOStatistical sweet spotHow to locate, collect, adjust and understand the statistics that shape your office.by Amy Mor

January 2010 | Dental Products Report
Think like a CEO

Statistical sweet spot

How to locate, collect, adjust and understand the statistics that shape your office.

by Amy Morgan, CEO of the Pride Institute

Photo: Mike Kemp/Getty Images

Sooner or later, most dentists realize they need to consistently keep and analyze statistics to make business decisions based on factual data. Most dentists also realize the capabilities of their computer software are woefully underused. The following are some recommendations as well as a checklist on what statistics to keep and where to find that information in your software.

Locating reports in your software

Most statistics can be accessed in more than one report-the key is to select the reports that serve your practice best and to keep a master list of the specific reports and where to access them and when.

Production statistics
These include all providers: dentists and hygienists + products sold (or individual production + total office production).

  • Most software have a view of the day that shows the production goal and  the amount of production scheduled for the current day.
  • Day sheet reports run at the end of each business day will show each provider’s production as well as the total office production.
  • This information also can be accessed in a practice analysis production summary (terminology varies for each software).

Collection statistics

  • Day sheet reports run daily will show the payments received from over-the-counter collections and payments received by mail from patients and insurance carriers. The day sheet must match the daily deposit slip and credit card report.
  • Accounts Receivable (A/R) reports run monthly will show current collections, and monies that are 30, 60, and 90+ days old, including outstanding insurance balances. To get a correct A/R report, it must be run at the end of the last business day of the month or the next business day before any entries are made for the new month-it’s important to know the total amount “on the books” at the end of each month.

Adjustments to statistics

It is important to check adjustments to production and collection on a daily basis-that way, errors can be corrected quickly. It’s easy to forget that what is adjusted off cannot be collected-for fee-for-service practices, a 2% total credit adjustment is ideal, making the collection goal 98%.

It’s also very important to  code all adjustments-insurance write-offs due to reduced-fee insurance plans, senior discounts, professional discounts, staff dentistry, patient refunds, restorative re-dos, bad-debt write-offs, collection fees, etc.

  • Check adjustments on the day sheet at the end of each day to ensure accuracy.
  • Run a monthly adjustment report.

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New patient statistics

Marketing, whether internal or external, demands knowing how many new patients join your practice each month and how they get to your practice, whether it’s from referrals or from advertising. The initial telephone interview is key to collecting this information. The second step is entering the information in the database.

  • Run a  monthly new patient report-sub-categories can include referrals by doctor. These are very helpful for specialists or for cross-referrals and referrals by patients. This information can then be used for follow-up thank-you notes.
  • Patients who join your practice because of advertising are important to track to determine the return on investment from your advertising expense.

Treatment presented and case acceptance

It is important to gather this data for both new patients and patients of record.

  • To find the amount of treatment diagnosed, go to reports that show treatment plans for new patients and patients of record.
  • “Case Acceptance” means the patient has a scheduled appointment for the treatment and has a financial agreement-if treatment is scheduled from treatment plans, this is easy to find. All treatment should be scheduled from treatment plans.
  • Some offices format these statistics into an Excel spreadsheet or another type of monitor and review them monthly to track the success of treatment presentation.
  • Check unscheduled treatment reports monthly and make follow-up calls or send letters to ensure that patients get scheduled.
  • Be sure to “clean-up” treatment plans on a regular basis-otherwise any treatment not scheduled from a treatment plan will show up as unscheduled treatment and will skew your statistics. Also, imagine the embarrassment of calling a patient based on the unscheduled treatment report only to find the treatment has been completed.

Expense tracking

Tracking production and collection is only half of  keeping practice statistics. Expenses in all of the different expense categories must be tracked and analyzed monthly.

Software such as Quick Books and Quicken are the most efficient way to do this. Calculating what percentage each expense category is in relation to production gives you important information. You can set goals for expenses,  which will help in controlling them as well as in making decisions about what purchases, improvements or increased compensation the practice can afford.

Software shouldn’t scare you

Technology now replaces the light bulb, the adding machine, and the pencil with the big eraser. It is easy to track and analyze statistics if you make friends with your computer reports and good bookkeeping software. It’s a match made in heaven.

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