Content Dam De En Articles Print Volume 107 Issue 1 Practice Eureka Are You Mining Your Data For Hidden Gems Leftcolumn Article Thumbnailimage File

Eureka! Are you mining your data for hidden gems?

Jan. 16, 2017
You might have hidden profit sources that can impact your dental practice health—you just need to prospect the right places. Learn more from Kevin Burniston of Henry Schein Dental Business Solutions.

You might have hidden profit sources that can impact your dental practice health—you just need to prospect the right places.

Gold sat in California's rivers and streams for thousands of years before the Gold Rush of 1849. The first miners to pan for gold found it easily, but as more and more miners descended on northern California, it became increasingly difficult to find. Miners had to go back over canvased areas. They had to resift overlooked soil to uncover missed opportunities.

Similarly, the dental market has changed, and profits are harder to come by. Decreased PPO fee reimbursements coupled with lower treatment acceptance by financially strained patients means dentists must resift their practice data for overlooked opportunities. You might have profits waiting below the surface that could have a major impact on your practice health—you just need to prospect the right places.

The hygiene department is an area of the practice that can be flush with opportunity. Ideally, how often would you like your patients to visit the hygienist? The average hygiene standard of care is at least two visits per year. Your practice data can tell you how many of your patients actually visit your hygienist every six months. Knowing which patients are active and which aren't is the first step to excavating profit. Many inactive hygiene patients slip through the cracks, and a simple phone call or letter can get many of them to return to your practice.

Radiography is another area of the practice that can have incredible returns. What is your standard of care for major films? How strictly is your staff following that standard? A few years back I went to a new dentist, and the hygienist explained to me that all new patients receive panoramic x-rays. After looking at her watch, she decided it might be better to skip my x-rays as she was running a little behind. One missed pan a day at $100 per pan over 200 days is $20,000 in lost production per year. If this is your standard of care and you feel it is clinically important, making sure your staff complies with x-ray protocol could be the pay dirt you're looking for.

I've heard many consultants say that for every five years a dentist is in practice, at least $1 million in unscheduled treatment is sitting in the charts. How often does a patient decide to "think about" treatment or cancel a procedure without rescheduling? Imagine if you could dig into that opportunity, reminding patients of the dental work you've discussed and why it is so important they address it—before it escalates into something worse.

The California Gold Rush was a chance to grow rich while the rest of the market was slow. As the dental landscape changes with greater influences from insurance companies and corporate dentistry, practices must mine their data to maintain growth while the market slows. You've worked very hard to attract patients to your practice and provide exceptional clinical care. Take time this year to discover the riches you've left uncovered.

Author's note

Our goal at Henry Schein is to focus on practice care so you can focus on patient care. The average Henry Schein Practice Analysis uncovers more than $100,000 in opportunity within a private practice, and in one year the average practice realizes $90,000 in increased production. Reach out to your local Henry Schein sales representative to learn how the Practice Analysis and Dental Practice Pro can help you mine your data for unnoticed fortunes.

Kevin Burniston helps dental professionals across the United States create a better quality of life for themselves and their families. For more than a decade, Kevin has studied the business of dentistry and worked to develop innovative and effective strategies to overcome common pitfalls. His training methods have empowered thousands of dentists to reach and exceed their goals. Contact him at (800) 372-4346 or [email protected]. Learn more at

More Dental Business Solutions from Kevin Burniston

Improving the lives of those we touch (August 2016)

What's your name again? How smart introductions can lead to more dental patients (February 2016)

What's the difference between an online review and referral? (August 2015)

Say no to satisfied patients (June 2015)

Negotiating insurance fees (May 2015)

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