Dentists – Do You Take Your Own Advice?

Dental Treatment

Time for your 6-month check-up?

We’re halfway through the year, so it’s time for a 6-month check-up on practice performance.

Is everything healthy and thriving? What’s under the tongue or along the gumline? Any spots or weaknesses?

Just like a 6-month dental check-up, your business should have a good examination. It’s so easy to get into the weeds of the demands of your daily operations and what just needs to get done versus taking the time to step back and examine where things are. This process will help you act more quickly to ensure you’re on the right track to achieve your goals for 2021.

There are many key indicators a dental office has access to, so what should you monitor and benchmark to ensure you’re where you should be? It can depend on what is important to you … for clients of Patient NEWS, it’s practice security, growth, and a positive valuation down the line.

Here are 7 questions you can ask yourself…

  1. Is production growing?
  2. Are visits strong?
  3. Do we have a steady and increasing new patient flow?
  4. Are we holding attrition at a minimum?
  5. Is patient spend at or above industry average?
  6. Is the team happy and productive?
  7. Could we be improving in any revenue-generating area?

New from Practice ZEBRA is our ZEBRAbite Benchmark Report. At the click of a button, a dental office can pull key performance metrics for any time frame and see industry comparables and trend charts.

  • Gross production
  • Patient/new patient yearly value
  • Current active patients
  • Active/new patients scheduled
  • New patients per month
  • Lost patients per month
  • Hygiene capacity
  • Production by provider/department
  • Procedure mix
  • Patient demographics
  • New patients & production by generation

ZEBRAbite report provides fast and easy visual pinpoints of opportunities for growth. It’s there in black and white and will help you stay ahead of the curve and identify any possible issues stalling practice growth. Regular benchmarking will provide clarity on what you’re doing that’s working and what isn’t and needs to be tweaked.

For example, to write this blog, I pulled up an actual ZEBRAbite benchmark report, and I’ll try to describe how this might feel when you look at your own practice. The report I’m viewing is for a successful client with a $1.4 million practice. That’s great, right? But then I notice the industry average is $1.55 million, and the Top 10% are at $4.45 million … so what other metrics could positively impact their revenue?

Well, ZEBRAbite shows their active patient count is lower than average; they have less than 50% scheduled to come back and 27% of patients in danger status. That’s a lot of patients not connected and in danger of lapsing and never returning. On the positive side, their active patient count is growing. So, if they continue to work on new patient acquisition and also add a push on scheduling and reactivations, they could easily realize a lot more production.

So that brings me to the next question to ask yourself.

Are you being thoughtful about the modern dental patient journey and your marketing and patient communication strategy? There is a lot of focus on new patient acquisition, and that is critical for practice security and growth, but once those patients are in, they need to come back over and over!

PATIENT RETENTION. If you don’t have one already, implement a patient newsletter program. It may seem old-fashioned, but it isn’t. It’s a highly effective way to stay visible with patients, to add value to your patient experience, and to keep patients coming back and referring. Our solution is the best in the industry and includes quarterly print mailings and monthly email newsletters. It’s a “just do it” for the benefit of your patients and your practice kind of thing!

SCHEDULING: To keep patients scheduled, they should have their next appointment identified before they leave the last. We have a process at Patient NEWS that the next call or meeting must be scheduled on the current call – even if things need to be rescheduled, at least you’re visible. And then make sure you have a sound appointment reminder system in place.

APPOINTMENT REMINDERS. Practice ZEBRA features a terrific Appointment Reminder system for the dental office. Depending on what system you’re currently using, you may want to shift over to ZEBRA Reminder and save on your monthly expenses – it’s included with everything else in ZEBRA. Our reminders are branded like your other marketing with us, and with auto-sync right into your practice management system, it does the trick.

Now, an automated reminder system only works when patients are scheduled. So, what about the 27% of patients who aren't scheduled and haven’t been in for nine months? Or the 990 patients past due for hygiene? Call blitzes are good – and you have easy-to-pull, non-scheduled patient reports from ZEBRA to make that easy. Plus…


We have a great reactivation program. In Practice ZEBRA, you’ll find an automated reactivation cadence for patients who haven’t been in for 9-24 months. When we created this reactivation system for dental offices, we looked at the solutions available, all with their boring, conservative standard messaging. And we said, we’re marketers, let’s create something that will have a positive impact on these patients who are lapsing and not really engaged with the practice. I’m so proud of our solution. Not only is it fun, but patients respond! Beta users had an increase in daily scheduling of 70% after implementation. Try something new, switch up your boring old reactivation program, and try our Reactivation BOOSTER.

So, that’s just a little blog about your 6-month recare appointment for your dental office. Always benchmark where you’re at, look at trending, do more of what’s working, and change or slightly adjust what’s not. Your Account Success Manager is available to help you review your key indicators and help strategize on what to do next.