Remember when people talked about the “good old days of dentistry” before the recession that struck our country a few years ago? After looking at a set of numbers, maybe those people aren’t so far off on their thoughts about how things were better for the dental practice’s bottom line “back in the day.”
We recently extracted data from Sikka Software’s collection of numbers taken from more than 12,500 dental practices from around the United States. The results were a little surprising when we looked at the gross production per chair per hour for the average dental practice.
As you can see below, the numbers spiked at the start of the data set in 2010 and then plummeted when the recession fully impacted the dental industry in the United States in 2012. The gross production per chair per hour has not come close to rebounding to those numbers since. Take a look at the data:
2010 — $88.00
2011 — $75.35
2012 — $57.39
2013 — $58.89
2014 — $58.77
2015 — $57.73
2016 — $59.03
It’s a startling drop in production. What does this trend mean for your business? We asked Dayna Johnson, founder of Rae Dental Management, for her thoughts.
“During a downturn in the economy, the practice might feel like they have to open the practice more hours to accommodate patients. However, this could lead to the decrease in the production per hour if the office total production stays the same,” Johnson said. “It is important to create a schedule template so the team has guidelines to ensure the production per hour is at goal. Your practice management software can play a key role in helping your team manage the office production goals and hopefully we will see an increase in these numbers in the future.
“I worked in a dental practice for more than 20 years and I remember the days of patients spending more freely,” Johnson added. “One thing that I notice when I look at these numbers is that while technology has improved in the practice and has become a bigger part of the everyday routine, the numbers are not showing that it is impacting patient spending. Technology has certainly improved patient care, but it doesn’t seem to be improving the bottom line of the business. That’s something to keep in mind the next time you’re looking at the latest high-tech innovation.”
So were there other reasons besides the recession?
“In recent years, insurance has also dictated more and more how much a dental practice can charge for procedures,” Johnson explained. “With the squeeze that is being felt by most practices, that is translating directly over into what is being charged and, therefore, what is being produced.”
Do you know the numbers in your practice? Do you know how your numbers compare to the national average when it comes to this statistic or others like it? Johnson says it is important to have a knowledge base that serves as the foundation for your goals and objectives.
“Numbers tell a story,” she said. “There is no gray area when it comes to numbers. It’s a black and white discussion, but most dental practices can’t tell you how they’re currently performing compared to national averages or even their own numbers from a year ago. My advice to practices is to always be well-versed in your numbers so you can know if your practice is really doing as well as you think it might be. Without that knowledge base, you’re just guessing when it comes to how successful your practice really is.”
Note: Want to learn more about what Sikka Software can do for your practice? Practice Mobilizer is the free app that lets you send HIPAA-compliant video messages, track patient arrival times, provides zip code specific fee data and more. Click here to download.
This article was originally published September 25, 2017, on DrBicuspid. You can view the original article here.
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