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Increasing Case Acceptance

Increasing Case Acceptance

What do your reports tell you?

Dental practice owners are virtually drowning in data. As a business owner, you are required to make hundreds of decisions, both large and small, every day.

Some decisions are small and of little or no consequence. Some decisions can make all the difference between your business either thriving or failing.

Under the heading of things that matter, let’s talk about case acceptance. Is this something you are tracking? If so, how so? Or do you wonder if it’s even possible to track case acceptance within your existing practice management software?

Why is accurately tracking case acceptance difficult? There are at least two reasons.

First, dentists and hygienists aren’t consistently documenting in the treatment planner when they offer treatment to patients. Gathering that information and linking it to acceptance is not offered in current reports. It’s impossible to measure something when you don’t have data with which to measure it.

Second, there’s no way in practice management systems to accurately capture the dollar amount of the offered treatment as compared to the percentage of those that accept the offered treatment. The most common solution to this problem is manual entry. In other words, spreadsheets. “I love Excel!” said no dentist ever.

One of the risks of this manual entry system (in addition to the amount of time and repetition required) is the natural tendency to skew those numbers to make things look better than they actually are. This shouldn’t be surprising. Human nature being what it is, we all want to succeed and to feel good about our performance. Thus, the manual entry of case acceptance may bring a smile to your face, but it likely won’t accurately portray how you’re performing in your case acceptance percentage.

Even if you are accurately tracking case acceptance, the insights you gain from such effort may be limited. For example, if you currently show a case acceptance percentage of 100%, that likely won’t reflect the possibility that you only presented treatment to 10% of your patients.

The real solution lies in practice intelligence. Using the power of cloud-based software, Dental Intel is now helping thousands of practices to not only view actual case acceptance percentage, but to more importantly, make plans and goals around improving this percentage.

Dental Intel does this by showing you your average dollar-to-exams score. We do this by taking the number of exams and dividing that number by dollars completed, not by what may have been accepted. In other words, we’re taking the opportunity and dividing it by the end result. If this number is going up, you can know that case acceptance is also improving. Interestingly, when dental offices do manually track case acceptance they often stop at acceptance. Have you ever had a patient not show up for treatment that they scheduled? Dental Intel tracks this metric by calculating both the beginning and end result.

In order to increase this number (average exams/dollars) there are 3 numerical ways to improve patient case acceptance. These 3 metrics will also help you give the best oral care to your patients.

1- Diagnostic case acceptance. For example, if you saw 100 patients, how many of them did you present treatment to? The average among all the practices we track for this metric is 46%. Some offices are as low as 10-20%, they think that this % is higher, which indicates this isn’t something that offices aren’t tracking. Believe it or not, the provider is the only member of the production team who can improve this percentage. Sometimes we think that the person scheduling controls this metric, and that’s not accurate. When the provider presents the need for treatment to the patient in a way that appropriately stresses the benefit of that treatment, acceptance percentage absolutely increases. As with all performance, this metric improves when monitored.

2- Acceptance percentage. For example, if you present treatment to 100 patients, how many of those patients are accepting treatment and are then also scheduling that treatment? We are seeing that this averages 40-50%. However, once it is tracked this percentage can be 80% or higher.

The crucial measurement here is to improve the percentage of those scheduling treatment while still in your office. From experience, you know that the number of patients scheduling treatment drops after they leave your office. This metric helps you to focus on and then improve that percentage.

3- Dollar acceptance percentage, meaning that X amount of dollars are presented and on average, patients are accepting what percentage of dollars for that treatment? For example, if I’m on average presenting $1,000 of treatment, and on average, patients are accepting $100 of treatment, then my dollar acceptance percentage is 10%. Dental Intel is helping clients to average 20% or better in this metric. Many may think this number is higher for them, but the data says otherwise. The goal is at least 30%.

This all leads to average dollars completed per exam, meaning, out of all of my exams, how many are actually completing treatment? This metric is inclusive of those that do call back after leaving the office to schedule treatment as well as any other treatment that actually gets completed. This measurement is more valuable to you than case acceptance percentage because it’s measuring treatment dollars you actually completed versus merely scheduling them.

We help dentists to set goals in each of these areas, for both restorative and hygiene cases. Recently we helped a dentist to set goals for improvement of hygiene case in these four areas. This resulted in their average of hygiene visits to dollars completed improving from $80 to over $150! When averaged over a quarter, this would result in an additional $35,000 in new revenue for this practice - without adding new patients. Although this might be an extreme case, even a small increase in this average can yield significant dividends.

For example, as a provider focuses on increasing these three percentages (diagnostic, acceptance, and average dollar percentage) by only 10%, they’ll see a 125% increase in production. You read that right. Meaning, if you’re doing $1,000,000 each year, that can be increased to $2,125,000 simply by making these three percentages a priority.

Even increasing just one of these measurements by 10% will result in a substantial increase in revenue, without needing to add a large amount of new patients or to spend additional dollars on marketing.

There are really only two ways to increase production dollars: Increase the number of new patients, or increase the amount of production being performed on existing patients. It’s not too hard to decide which of these is more attractive.

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