Impact Patient Retention


Earlier this year, research from the CDA indicated that the average dental practice in the US had 65% of active patients scheduled for a future appointment.

Of the 1,000 or so dental offices that we have analyzed using Practice ZEBRA™ over the past year, on average, only 50% of patients were scheduled to return.

Can you imagine not having HALF of YOUR patient base connected?


Do you know your stats?


Maybe you’re feeling this challenge without actually knowing that scheduling is your problem. You may be feeling a dip or flatlining of production. You may notice an operatory (or two) empty throughout the day. Maybe you feel like you need more new patients.

The answer to these concerns could be right in front of you. You might not have your patients properly scheduled. You need to know your numbers.

If you have Practice ZEBRA™, your Account Success Manager can point the way to your metrics. Clickable reports allow you to take action. I’ll add a tip at the end of this blog. If you don’t have Practice ZEBRA, sign up for a free demo today!

Practice ZEBRA has revealed that the top 25% of practices reviewed are well over 70% scheduled and the top 10% are hitting 90% and above. These offices are killing it when it comes to maximizing production.


Once you know your metrics, you can work on improvement.


Make sure you have strong check out processes in place. Who has the primary responsibility to schedule patients before they leave a current appointment and is there a cross-check to ensure it’s done? Is there a daily audit to confirm, and if appointments weren’t scheduled, are you capturing why? Bad patient experience, staff oversight, staff training?

When it comes to new patients, that’s where it can get interesting. While most practices do a great job of scheduling a second visit with an average of 65% new patients returning at least once, overall, only 40% of new patients get scheduled to come back. When you combine this knowledge with the fact that a new patient is almost always worth double that of an existing patient, it makes it that much more important to have a superior new-patient experience and to always ensure they’re being scheduled for another visit.

I can tell you, when our clients get connected to Practice ZEBRA and see this data for the first time, they are amazed, shocked, and sometimes just sick. But the important thing is to get the knowledge and then get moving. If you’re sitting out there reading this and are not connected to ZEBRA, we’ll bet the percentage of patients you think you have scheduled to come back is probably ½ or ⅔ of reality. Take us on. Get ZEBRA and find out.


Here’s how one of our clients uses the data in Practice ZEBRA.


Each Monday he prints out the list of non-scheduled patients and divvies them up between his reception team. On Friday, he collects the lists, and for each patient re-scheduled, the team member gets a $3 bonus. This adds up for his staff, so it motivates them to go for it, and because he knows his average patient value is $1,727, and new-patient value is $3,568, the investment makes a lot of sense.

Another piece of important data Practice ZEBRA gives you – the number of guarantor email and cell-phone numbers on file. Another easy-to-use, clickable report so you can update records. The average dental office is missing over 35% of patient emails and almost 15% cell phone. That means your reminder program can only do so much if (a) patients aren’t scheduled in the first place, and (b) you don’t have complete contact data on file. Another area Practice ZEBRA can assist with. And one final no-brainer: launch the automated monthly email patient newsletter to help improve retention and increase referrals and start getting invalid emails cleaned up (ZEBRA does that too)!

Just like you know that the patients who avoid dental visits shouldn’t – we know you shouldn’t avoid getting this check up on your scheduling rates. Talk to your Account Success Manager today to review how you’re doing and talk to your Marketing Consultant for a free demo and retention strategies that will work for your practice.


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