Have you reflected on 2020-2021 to ascertain what you and your team have learned? For many dental practice owners and groups, the first thing that may have come to mind was confusion as they pivoted into a new world of dentistry. But for some, they had some of their best years for performance and profitability. What did they do?
They Focused on Patient Retention and Growth.
These practices made their existing patients a priority for hygiene care, proactively scheduling their next hygiene appointment, focused on their dental needs, and presented them with treatment options. Of course, new patients are always an essential contributor to the growth of any dental office but are not the only option.
According to Dental Intelligence, In 2021, top-performing practices increased patient growth by 18%, representing a 4% increase over 2020. In contrast, the lowest-performing offices were down almost 12% from 2020, representing a 30% gap between the top 10% and bottom 10%. So what's going on here?
The difference between the top ten and bottom ten in 2021 was how well these practices retained their patients. Many successful practices focused on their patients in 2021. These practices ensured they had scheduled appointments, hygiene care, and presented treatment plans. Do you deliver your patients with treatment plans and options for payment? Do you ask patients if they have family members who may need dental care?
Dental Intelligence recommends this calculation for Patient Growth %:
New patients + Reactivated patients – Patient attrition = Patient Growth %
For example, you'll have positive patient growth if you added 50 new patients, lost 40 and retained 10. You can see the levers here and decide where to focus for growth opportunities. You can increase that unique patient number to 60 or reduce that lost patient number to 30. Do As we know, the last two years have been challenging! However, around this same time in 2020, most practices were re-opening with new clinical requirements, such as new safety protocols, plus staff and patient attrition. In addition, we had to adjust to changes in the way patients entered and exited the practice, including the option of virtual consultations.
you concentrate on reactivating more patients? It's essential to know your current Patient Growth % and then develop and implement a plan to improve your %. This strategy created strong growth in 2021, continuing into 2022. This strategy included morning huddles, reviewing KPIs, and involving all team members in the huddles.
Morning Huddles – Every Morning.
Morning huddles are an essential start to your day! Each day, these practices met to coordinate schedules and discuss patient visits, KPIs, and each team member prepared to contribute to the meeting. These practices are thriving because they have a strong positive culture.
Do you use data to determine what you discuss? For example, using KPIs, they could review what happened the day before, what is happening today, and what is happening tomorrow and adapt to improve performance.
Do you include all team members in your huddle? All teams should be involved and come prepared to participate in the meeting.
Do you celebrate your successes and set goals? Successful practices thrive because they have a positive culture of growth and celebrate the wins with their teams. In addition, they hold team members accountable, which builds trust and confidence in the office.
Are you Focusing on Hygiene Re-Appointment %?
What is Hygiene Re-Appointment %? The percentage of hygiene visits scheduled during a hygiene appointment before leaving the dental office.
According to Dental Intelligence, In 2021, the most successful offices scheduled over 90% of patients for their next hygiene appointment before leaving their appointment. In contrast, at the low end, those offices scheduled 56% or just over half of their hygiene patients for their next appointment. It is a significant gap but should be considered a considerable growth opportunity.
You can quickly improve your growth by implementing a new process to schedule the patients' next appointment before leaving the current appointment. Most patients would appreciate knowing this has been taken care of in advance and is likely to improve their overall dental health.
Have you instituted new goals to improve your growth in 2022 and beyond? Want to learn more about creating a growing, data-driven dental practice?
Please contact Glenda Acevedo to learn more about the exclusive services we provide for Bridging for Success Management & Accountability.
Visit our website at Glendaacevedo.com or contact Glenda@glendaacevedo.com.