The economy has slowed down and when this occurs, dental practices need to be on the alert to determine if any negative effects are coming. Your goal is still to increase practice production every year, but you’d like warning in the event any changes need to be made.
The first statistic you need to watch carefully in your practice is no-shows. In tough economic times, patients often postpone dental appointments—with hygiene being number one—to save money. It’s not that many of these patients can’t afford treatment, but people become nervous and anxious when they hear about a bad economy.
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The second statistic to watch is your number of new patients. New-patient numbers often slow in challenging economies, and this has a compounded effect on the practice. New patients typically generate two to three times higher production in the first 12 months versus current active patients. When new patients slow down, it’s not simply the loss of a typical appointment; it has a two to three times greater effect on production.
The third statistic to watch carefully is cancellations. Increasing numbers of patients cancel appointments when they’re worried about the economy. If you notice that the number of patients canceling has risen beyond your average from the previous 12 months, you need to tighten up and implement your value-building scripting and appointment confirmation process.
These statistics will allow your practice to carefully track its overall progress. They're leading indicators of what might happen.
The fourth statistic to track is case acceptance. Dentists are often not aware whether patients actually schedule treatment or if they cancel newly scheduled cases. Once again, a slow economy often leads patients to postpone treatment, accept only partial treatment, or seek lower-cost options versus the ideal option.
These statistics will allow your practice to carefully track its overall progress. They’re leading indicators of what might happen. To maintain production and increase it every year, improving your systems now is key when facing a slow or challenging economy.