Smile Source Private Dental Practice Blog

7 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Private Dental Practice Growth

In the world of private dental practices, success isn't just about filling chairs or fixing teeth. It's about growth, both in terms of patient satisfaction and practice revenue. New dentists tend to be overwhelmed with how to gain control over their practice performance so they can work on the business rather than just in the business.

How do you measure that growth?

How can you tell if your practice is thriving or merely surviving?

What metrics will help you drive the growth you want?

The answer lies in understanding and tracking the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Smile Source recommends these seven.


1. Patient Retention Rate

This KPI measures the percentage of patients who return to your practice for additional treatments or appointments. For example, if you started with 1,000 patients at the beginning of the year and ended the year with 1,000 patients but onboarded 100 new patients during the year, then your patient retention rate would be 90%. You want to bring on more new patients than you lose, and you want to simultaneously grow the percentage you keep. 

A high retention rate indicates satisfied patients who trust your practice, leading to long-term relationships and steady revenue streams. By focusing on strategies that enhance patient satisfaction and loyalty, you can build a strong patient base. 

NOTE: According to the American Dental Association, dentists retain on average only 41% of patients who come to their practices. Smile Source providers achieve much higher PRR than that--on average, over ##%!


2. No Show/Cancellation Rate

What percentage of your appointments are no-shows or cancellations? A low attendance rate can indicate scheduling inefficiencies, communication issues, or patient dissatisfaction. Monitoring this metric helps identify areas for improvement and reduces revenue loss due to missed appointments. 

TIP: Strengthening relationships with patients must be a goal of every appointment and even between appointments. Do you spend quality time with your patients, demonstrating an understanding of them as individuals and building rapport that leads to trust? Do you remind them of appointments more than once? Do you include high-touch human outreach among your reminders? Do you ask for confirmation they will keep their appointment? Do you intentionally build value for your appointments? 


“At Bizrok, our philosophy is that numbers are not where we start, but they are where we end. As a practice owner, you must have a coach that holds your team and organization accountable to the practice metrics being produced.”

3. Case Acceptance Rate

Track the percentage of treatment plans presented to patients that are accepted and scheduled. A high case acceptance rate demonstrates effective communication, patient education, and trust in your expertise. Improving this KPI can significantly impact practice revenue and overall growth.

TIP: What factors go into developing high trust? Primarily, patients need to recognize that you are an expert who understands them as individuals, for example, you understand:

  • what they value
  • their health circumstances
  • how to help them receive the care they need


4. Average Revenue per Patient Visit

Calculating the average revenue generated per patient visit provides valuable insights into your practice's profitability. By increasing the average revenue per patient through the acquisition of patients who want higher-value services, you can boost revenue without necessarily increasing patient volume.

TIP: Identify the services for which you can charge your highest fees. Craft marketing campaigns to attract new patients who want those services and interest current patients in what you can do for them with those services. Solicit stellar reviews from happy patients who have received those services. Prepare your front desk to easily answer patient questions about the services and to easily explain financing.


5. Production and Collections

Tracking both production (the total value of services provided) and collections (the total amount of revenue collected) is fundamental for financial management. Discrepancies between production and collections can indicate billing issues, delayed payments, or ineffective revenue management processes.

TIP: Assign your administrative team to report to you weekly on production and collections, so you can set target objectives to improve them. Request the help of your Smile Source mentors and vendors to recommend solutions to problems you identify. Remember, your colleagues have had to solve those problems or are facing them now. There is zero shame in discussing them on Smile Source chats.


6. New Patient Acquisition Rate

The acquisition of new patients is fundamental for the growth and expansion of any dental practice. However, it's not enough to merely attract new individuals; it's equally vital to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing and referral initiatives. By closely monitoring the rate at which new patients are acquired, you gain valuable insights into the success of your marketing endeavors and can subsequently refine your strategies.

TIP: Utilize Smile Source’s marketing benefits, including reputation analysis, demographic and geospatial analysis, and discuss with our Marketing consultants your ideal patients and the tactics you should use to best attract them 


7. Profit Margin

Ultimately, achieving a healthy profit matters. Calculating your practice's profit margin (the percentage of revenue that represents profit after expenses) helps you understand your financial health and sustainability. To calculate your profit margin as a percentage, simply subtract total expenses from total revenue to obtain the gross profit; then divide the gross profit by the total revenue and multiply the result by 100

Tip: Improving the profit margin involves optimizing operational efficiency, controlling costs, and maximizing revenue streams. Based on the previous six KPIs discussed, you can see that maximizing revenue streams is extremely important for not only sustaining a practice but making it ever more profitable.


Regularly Monitor These 7 Metrics

When you track these metrics, you can set benchmarks and implement targeted strategies to improve their performance. Aiming to improve performance results in better performance. Continuous performance improvement will help you ensure the growth and long-term success of your practice. Remember, though, that measuring success isn't just about improving your numbers; it's about building a thriving practice that benefits patients, practitioners, and practice team members. Ultimately, this is the result of delivering exceptional patient care that your patients and team rave about.

“At Bizrok, we focus on helping our practices deliver an Exceptional Experience. An Exceptional Experience increases your Re-appointment rate and reduces barriers to get patients back on our schedule when creating a lost patients marketing campaign.”

Additional KPIs You May Want to Monitor

  • Lost Patients - Most practices do a great job tracking how many new patients they receive monthly.  But do you know how many patients you are losing out your back door? Lost patients are patients that have not been seen in your practice for the last 18-24 months.  If you are seeking to increase the number of patients you are serving, you may want to create a marketing strategy for your lost patients.
    • Tip:  Internal marketing campaigns built around scheduling lost patients can be very effective and often a more cost-effective marketing strategy for your practice. You have already built trust and a relationship with them during a previous appointment.  Create an internal marketing strategy that targets your lost patients to increase the number of total patients you serve this month.
  • Overhead costs encompass all the expenses required to operate your dental practice, excluding direct labor and materials. Overhead costs include rent, utilities, staff salaries, equipment maintenance, supplies, marketing expenses, and administrative costs. Keeping overhead costs in check ensures that the practice operates efficiently without unnecessary expenditures.
  • Average hourly earnings are the average revenue generated by each billable hour of clinical work. By analyzing the average hourly earnings, you might identify opportunities to increase the revenue generated each hour by optimizing staff and patient scheduling, improving operations efficiency, increasing team performance, improving case acceptance, and more.
  • Workflow compliance measures how closely your team adheres to established protocols and procedures for patient care, scheduling, billing, and administrative tasks. Consistent adherence to workflow standards improves operational efficiency, reduces errors, and enhances patient satisfaction. Monitoring workflow compliance enables you to identify bottlenecks, streamline processes, and implement training programs to ensure consistent quality of care and service delivery.
  • Hygiene production ratio compares the revenue generated from dental hygiene services to the total practice revenue. It reflects the contribution of preventive and periodontal services to the practice's overall financial performance. A higher hygiene production ratio indicates a focus on preventive care, which not only improves patient outcomes but also generates recurring revenue through regular hygiene appointments. Increasing this ratio involves promoting preventive services, educating patients on the importance of oral hygiene, and implementing effective recall systems.

By incorporating these additional KPIs into your performance measurement framework, you gain a more comprehensive understanding of your practice’s performance and will likely be motivated to collaborate with your team on strategies to meet the practice’s higher potential and greatest profit margin. But just like the caveat above was to remember that ultimately it’s all about exceptional patient care, when it comes to improving performance don’t drive results too hard too fast because you want the people working in the practice to enjoy their work. Trust they will make continuous efforts and progress as they develop an understanding of why and how.

Tip: Familiarize your team with Smile Source team training opportunities. You can find events in your area or online. Smile Source members also enjoy the collaboration of their local chapter members and online forums where they can feel comfortable asking tough questions and trust that they will get honest, practical suggestions from like-minded dentists.


Bringing It All Together

Knowing how your practice is performing can be challenging. Connecting with dental peers that you trust and comparing your performance to KPI goals can help. Smile Source connects private practice dentists and allows them to tap into a network of high-performing dental practices so they can grow faster by learning from each other. Learn more about how Smile Source could help you reach your practice goals.