Making Good Data-Driven Decisions in Your Dental Practice
There’s much more to running a successful dental practice than what happens in the chair. Practices that want to grow and flourish must keep accurate data, as making business decisions based on gut feelings is risky.
Simply collecting data is not enough. You need to know what to do with it once it’s captured.
What kind of data should you keep?
There are two major types of data that all practices should be keeping: quantitative data and qualitative data.
Quantitative data includes monthly revenue, costs, and the number of patients coming through your doors, among other things. This is data with hard figures. All practices should keep this information within their management system.
The other type of data is qualitative data, which is just as important as quantitative data. Qualitative data includes questionnaires sent to patients, to understand how they feel about their experience at your practice. Without proper records of the qualitative data, you may have an inaccurate understanding of how your patients feel about visiting your practice.
The dangers of keeping inaccurate data
Failing to capture data, capturing incorrect data, or not knowing what to do with correctly captured data risk two major problems.
The first is to your patients’ dental health. Imagine the following scenario: When a patient comes for a check-up, a follow-up appointment date should be entered into your dental records system. The patient will be sent a reminder near that date. If the patient is unable to attend that follow-up appointment, many practices will just shift the date forward to another time and replace the old date in the patient records. A six-month check-up might be pushed back to seven, eight, or nine months.
Failure to attend a follow-up appointment on time for any reason should be marked accurately. If a six-month follow-up actually takes place at nine months, your dental records must reflect this. Otherwise, the dentist doesn’t have the correct picture of the patient’s situation.
The patient may be risking more complicated, expensive treatment that could have been prevented.
The second major risk of keeping inaccurate data is to the growth of your business. Failing to capture the correct data could lead to inaccurate assumptions that may cost time and money.
Accurately capturing the data could save you money and help refine your marketing efforts.
If your practice has been spending money on social media advertising, you may assume this is where your new patients are coming from. However, they may actually be finding you through referrals, and your social media advertising may not be doing much.
What should you do with the data?
Keeping accurate data and patient records and knowing how to handle that data, however, are different things. You may have flawless systems for capturing both quantitative and qualitative data and yet not have effective data analysis procedures.
The top 20% of practices who participate in the Customer Success Programme have seen their revenue grow more than 40%, on average.*
To learn more, register for our webinar, How to Make Better Data-Driven Decisions. Or, talk to one of HSO’s experts about solutions to your data analysis problems. Take the guesswork out of managing and interpreting your data.