Historical data in Dentrix for annual planning in your dental practice

During the third quarter we talk all about annual planning in the dental practice and today we are discussing your data analytics so you can make better decisions for the future.  In today’s conversation we will expand on the conversation we had last week with Claire and dive a little more into the weeds with your annual planning session.

Last week, my good friend, Claire Dickinson, and I talked about the foundational aspects of your annual planning.  At the time of this article, it is the end of July first part of August. I know for me, I was just outside weeding the yard and fertilizing the lawn. So, I understand that it might seem a little bit odd for you to think about annual planning for next year. But like Claire and I were talking about now is the best time to really be diving into annual planning, because you’re already scheduling hygiene patients into January, and then next week, you start scheduling patients into February.

So, you’re already scheduling patients into the first two months of 2024. Right now, you really want to start thinking about if you have any team members that are going to be out having babies, planning vacations or attending CE courses. We really want to start planning out next year’s schedule, goals, all of that right now. That’s what Claire and I talked about last week. If you missed last week’s episode, please go back to your podcast player, and find episode #71.  You can find it on Apple podcast, Spotify, or SoundCloud for our tracks, but you can listen to our podcast anywhere you get your podcasts.

The first foundational aspect of annual planning that Claire and I talked about was looking at your historical data. Today, what I want to do is jump into the weeds a little more and help you find where this historical data is so that you have at least a baseline of what we have performed over the last 12 months.  Then, ask yourself a few questions . . .

  • How did that feel?
  • Was it stressful?
  • Was it hard?
  • Did we make goal easily?
  • Was it challenging, but it was still rewarding?

Because if we just increase our goals next year, without really identifying how last year’s goals affected the office team, then you may be creating more problems for next year. and production and new patient numbers, how did that, you know, make the office run, then you may be just creating problems for next year.

How you’re going to find that historical data in your Dentrix software really depends on your analytics platforms. The first one I’m going to talk about is the Practice Advisor Report because it is already available inside of your Dentrix software. You can go to the office manager and run the Practice Advisor today. I really like this report as part of my monthly process. It gives you a two-month data total and then year-to-date numbers. I think looking at the practice advisor with your entire team as part of your monthly numbers meeting is as important as a morning huddle.  

When I was in my own practice, the time my doctor started being open, honest, and transparent about the practice numbers was when the whole culture of our practice completely changed for the better. When we were more involved, and we could help participate and help influence the practice numbers. It was a game changer for my practice because we all felt empowered to help grow the practice. I’ve worked in two practices now, where numbers helped us make better decisions for our practice.

The practice advisor is my number one go to when it comes to looking at statistical information in your Dentrix software because it contains the top five numbers that really matter.  Those five numbers include net production per day, accounts receivable, new patients, patient retention, and case acceptance. 

When I say net production, net production is what is collectable. Gross production may look really good on paper, but you can’t put gross production in the bank. I like net production per day, much more than I like net production or even gross production per month. Let’s say that you work 20 days in the month and your gross production for the month is $100,000. Then the next month, you only work say 16 days in the month, but your monthly production for that month is only $90,000. Well, the month that you’ve produced less for the month is more productive because you produced more per day.  

The other number that you want to be tracking on a historical report and to be tracking with a goal is your new patient numbers. Every practice needs new blood in the practice, no matter if you are busting out at the seams or if you are brand new practice trying to grow. Every office will have natural attrition, so it is important to schedule new patients and decide during your annual planning what your goal is for new patients.

Another one of the top five numbers you should be tracking is your patient retention. If your patient retention is only 70% then you have a 30% attrition rate. You can find the patient retention number on the practice advisor report, and it is probably the most accurate number on the Practice Advisor Report because it tracks data by your codes, either the prophy code or the perio maintenance code. So, it’s a very accurate number.

The other reason why these two numbers are so important with annual planning is if there’s a possibility that you’re going to be adding on any new treatment rooms. I have two practices right now that are in full remodels, and they are adding treatment rooms. They really need to have a plan in place to fill those rooms. They might be increasing the number of new patients or trying to increase their patient retention number to make sure that those rooms are filled. Now it’s possible that you may have just the opposite, you may have some hygienist, or you may have a doctor that’s going out on maternity leave. And you may be short staffed for the first six months of the year. And so, you may need to adjust your goals for your new patients or your recare patients down a little bit just to make up for team members being out.

Now, the other number I really want you to look at is your case acceptance. This is the percentage of treatment being recommended compared to treatment being accepted, which accepted in my opinion is scheduled, or they’ve given you a deposit. Dentrix tracks case acceptance by if you’ve marked the case as accepted, or the treatment has been completed in a certain timeframe. Now, if your case acceptance is low, then you’re going to want to listen to an upcoming podcast that I’m doing with Megan Lohman with Plan Forward because her company runs a membership platform. I feel that loyalty plans or membership plans can really help improve your case acceptance. So, keep your eyes open for that, podcast coming out here in probably a couple of weeks.

Now, if you’re not using the Practice Advisor inside of your Dentrix software, you may have a subscription to Jarvis Analytics, which is fully integrated with your Dentrix software. If you want more about Jarvis Analytics, which is the online dashboard for tracking all your metrics, you can listen to one of my podcasts with Melissa Marquez.

Now, the next foundational thing that Claire and I talked about was your new goals and we’re going to be diving into this topic a little bit more over the next month or so.  Part of your annual planning session might be to discuss dropping out of PPO plans so this could make a significant impact in your goal setting.

Make sure to tune in next time when we talk more about your practice goals and adding them into your Dentrix software for easy tracking and monitoring.  The goals that you agree on during your annual planning session will need to be executed by the team with proper scheduling,

Transcribed by https://otter.ai