Facts and Figures Speak Volumes about Dental Patient Retention

It is often said that if you measure something, you can manage it. I echo that opinion. Especially when it comes to dental patient retention.

A few weeks back, I talked about patient retention in this space. About the importance of a loyal clientele and the value of long-term business. I received some interesting feedback, particularly around the concept – and challenge – of measuring retention.

So I ask: Do you know your patient recall rate? If not, do you know how to find the answer from your system data? How would you answer?

Answer A: It’s pretty good, I think. We seem to see the same patients often.

Answer B: We were surprised to learn six months ago that we were sitting at 28% – not very good at all. With a specific plan and real focus, we hit 52% last month. Pizza for everybody!

Similar question: How many of your patients follow through on your treatment recommendations?

Answer A: Who knows? Our patients just follow up if they’re interested.

Answer B: Life is busy and patients forget. We get that. So we use our Treatment Manager and e-messaging portal to keep our unscheduled recommendations below 15% and our patients healthy.

Final question: Are you actively collecting email addresses and mobile phone numbers? For what percentage of your patients do you have this data?

Answer A: Maybe 15. Patients, that is, not %.

Answer B: Since we discovered that many patients were abandoning their landlines and only using cell phones, we started a specific campaign to get that info into our database. We’ve now topped 55%, and it has made patient reminders and e-statements a breeze!

You get the drift. Before you can start measuring your practice performance, you need to define your starting point. You must understand a) where you are today, b) where you should be or ideally could be; and c) how to get there. It’s only once you use your database to establish meaningful benchmarks that you can expect to plan for future progress.

When we apply our ABELDent algorithms to your practice data, it opens up a whole new level of information to help you measure, assess, benchmark and strategize for improvement. If you are not already using ABELDent, does your software do that?

Check out our Practice Management By ObjectivesTM (PMBO)