Important Numbers to Measure to Maximize Practice Growth

We are often asked, “What are the most important Statistics to track?” This is an important question.  It would be nice if there was a one size fits all answer for every dental practice. When working with our clients we often look at a large variety of numbers. Sometimes the challenges dentists are having prompt a closer look at numbers that might not be commonly reviewed.  Here are a few examples of often overlooked statistics that can provide real insight to your practice.

Need More New Patients?

If a practice is wanting to grow, or need more New Patients we will ask them about phone statistics.

Did you know you can get a report from your phone company that tracks the exact number of calls your practice receives? You can learn how many calls you actually capture and how many of them you lose.

We suggest you take some Maalox and get in a comfortable chair before you look at the report because you will invariably find out that you’re missing a tremendous number of calls and, therefore, not maximizing growth of new patients. 

We worked with one practice that didn’t believe they missed many calls. However, when they tracked the statistics, they found that during normal business hours, they were missing nearly 12% of calls. They weren’t answered or weren’t answered before the person hung up: 12% just by not answering the phone during normal business hours! 

The dental practice that had tracked their phone statistics also measured when people were calling. They learned that the practice was not answering phones during the times people were calling: Friday afternoons and Saturdays. They were losing a significant number of calls because they weren’t available when people needed them.

It’s also important to take very close note of where your new patients are coming from. 

In fact, this is one of the most important statistics to follow for every practice: The number of patients referred by existing patients. There is no better way to self-evaluate how much your patients appreciate your service than by the number of patients they refer.  IF you have a problem with providing a consistent, positive patient experience it will show in these numbers.

Remember, patients take a risk when they refer you: If they’re going to send their friends and family to you, they want to know that you’re going to take exceptionally good care of them. If they don’t have confidence in you, they won’t refer. 

That referral number should be as high as possible. In our consultations with practices, the range is absolutely incredible. We have practices that start with 0% of their new patients coming from referrals. Other practices that have instituted our concepts get nearly all their new patients through referrals. It’s an important number to track.  If you are not satisfied with your current number of new patients from referrals, we teach specific steps to take that can help you dramatically increase it.

Are you making the most out of patients already in your practice?

Beyond the usual metrics of production per hour for hygiene and production per hour per doctor, there are some other numbers to look at to determine if you are making the most of existing patient service. The numbers regarding productivity are important. We find that many practices are already monitoring those numbers. When practices have hit a ceiling, and struggle to move beyond where they are stuck, we look a bit deeper.

When is the last time you looked at the percentage of your patients that have a scheduled appointment? This is our definition of an active patient: One who is scheduled! This number is often incredibly surprising. We have many clients who when looking at this number, often think something is not right with the reporting. When we dig deeper, they realize that too many patients are not currently enrolled in continuing care or leave without scheduling for restorative. Sometimes, it could be both.

Patient Retention is key for practice growth. Usually a significant change can be made here just by a focus on systems. We teach systems that enable a higher level of efficiency in Recall, Recovery, Retention, Re-activation and Referrals. All of these are key areas that can help you maximize your tremendously valuable resource of existing patients.

Another key number that helps us determine how well we are performing with existing patients is Collections. This might seem like fairly basic knowledge, but we take the collections number and dig a bit deeper. How much is being collected on average per operatory? What is a healthy number? We feel that a healthy number for a “Bread and Butter” dental practice (not a specialty practice) is $16-20,000 per treatment room.

If this number is too high, it is also a warning sign of a future problem. Once this number is close to, or over $30,000 per month it means we could have a capacity blockage. Once you are out of capacity, it can have a negative impact on practice growth. Patient experience tends to suffer, wait times increase and referrals decrease. The stress for the team members and the doctors tends to increase as well. None of which are positive outcomes for the patients, or the practice!

One of the services we provide to our members at Hygiene Diamonds is a comprehensive practice audit. Before we begin working directly with your hygiene team or your administrative team in any way, we are taking a close look at vital statistics of past performance. These numbers will help us identify the fastest pathway to increasing your practice profitability.  Once we have this identified, another valuable component of our consulting program is helping your team track and measure the most vital systems that can help to accelerate your growth. If you would like to schedule a complimentary consult call to discuss your statistics, contract your FSC today!


Wendy Briggs is the President of Hygiene Diamonds, an International practice management organization. She is the recommended Hygiene Consultant for Henry Schein. For more than 18 years, Wendy has helped thousands of dentists take control of their practice and uncover millions of dollars of unseen/untapped revenue by serving their patients at a higher level. In addition to her managerial expertise, Wendy has been a hygienist for more than 22 years and has one of the most highly regarded hygiene/perio programs in the industry. Dental Service Organizations and privately owned practices soar when they adopt her protocol.