This article is somewhat ironic, or at least contradictory, as part of our business is focused on helping Dentists bring on new patients by allowing them to pay per referral, but we wanted to focus on the important aspect of leveraging your current patients to increase your revenue.
Dentists usually want to know how they can get new patients in order to grow their businesses. But it’s important to not forget that optimizing the patients you do have can lead to an optimal revenue per patient number.
Can small process changes lead to widespread positive changes related to current patients that will greatly affect your bottom line? We think so… and here’s a few ideas to help start the shift in the right direction…
Where Should You Start?
The best place to start is to understand your current situation. These will be the first indicators that there might be a problem, as well as a baseline to see if any changes you make are positively affecting your patient retention.
Patient Retention Rate - Without patients who are sticking around for a while, it’s hard to optimize them. Are you keeping track of the number of patients you have monthly? How many are new vs returning patients? As per the ADA, the average retention rate is 41%, so you definitely need to shoot for beating that.
Revenue Per Patient - The easiest way to calculate this is to take your monthly revenue from patient services and divide that by the number of patients you have to see the average per patient revenue. It's best to use active patients (patients who have visited in the last 24 months) as your total patients number.
Increasing Patient Retention
To positively impact retention, what are you doing to keep patients happy?
Are you keeping up with the latest technology and techniques to make sure patients are happy and not looking at competitors for those services. This can obviously also affect your revenue per patient.
Do you have the right financing options in place to help your patients say yes to treatments? You could ask patients as part of a survey if their financing requirements are being met, or simply ask your staff if there are trends of financing issues.
Are you actively engaging current patients with social media, showing both your available services as well as your brand and culture through your posts?
Increasing Revenue Per Patient
To positively impact revenue per patient, what tweaks can be made?
How many patients are due for a visit this month, but are not yet scheduled to be seen? Make sure your staff can review that number and have a process in place to reach out to those patients to schedule a visit. You could even offer a free additional service or discount if they come in within a certain amount of time.
Are you reviewing your fees annually and raising them at effective rates? During an annual review of fees, look for opportunities to raise fees 5 or more percent instead of the average 2-3%.
Have you created strong relationships with your patients built on trust? As long as that type of relationship is intact, use your charts as the gateway to increased revenue per patient. How are you explaining the benefits and drawbacks of each treatment as well as creating urgency to have it completed?
Are you letting patients know about optional services? Make sure patients know the supplementary services you provide that can benefit them. You could even make a service of the month to drive promotion of the supplementary services you do offer.
Being knowledgeable about your Patient Retention Rate and Revenue Per Patient, in addition to implementing some of these procedures, will enable you to leverage your current patients for an increase in revenue. Make sure to share the data and plans with your team and your practice can grow effectively for years to come.
If you have any questions about this post, or dental practice growth and marketing in general, don’t hesitate to reach out to us via our contact page.