12 Sep 2014  •  Practice Management  •  3min read

Measure This, Measure That – But Does It Really Matter?

Do you measure the success of everything you do in your dental practice? Is measurement a way of life for you and your team? Do you think it’s important?

Here, Nigel Jones talks about the topic of business measurement and whether it really is important.

Although debates about the real cost of living are continuing, the long anticipated economic recovery is well underway. This will be good news for businesses everywhere including dental practices, many of whom have seen the impact of wage freezes and job insecurity impact on patient attendance and treatment plan acceptance. Running a dental practice successfully in such an environment was very tough for many people and for some it has been the catalyst for becoming more business savvy with the introduction of tighter control over important business activities through the use of key performance indicators (KPI’s) and dashboards.

Measurement is nothing new in dentistry as it underpins the achievement of successful clinical outcomes but applying the same rigour to the business aspects of dentistry is not as widespread as it arguably should be.

“The completion of monthly management accounts that compare your actual financial performance, income and costs, with a budget will help you feel in far more control and in a position to make, with confidence, decisions about purchasing equipment, pay rises for the team and even investments in marketing campaigns. Talking of marketing campaigns, whilst capturing information about where potential new patients heard of the practice has become standard, it’s rare to see analysis of which source of new patients brings in the most income or how effective the front desk is at converting enquiries to appointments.

It was Mark Twain who popularised the phrase, ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’ and it’s a useful reminder of the need for care to be taken to ensure the right data about the right things is being collected in the right way. Also, think about how best to present the data. Sometimes a table is right. Other times, graphs and pie charts enable you to see the important things more quickly.

“Embedding measurement into the practice so that it becomes a routine part of daily practice life is not without its challenges and there is always the risk that after an initial burst of enthusiasm, measurement systems fall into disrepair and cease to add any value. However, engaging the whole team and looking at ways to make a measurement culture a way of life, such as monthly management meetings involving all or at least some of the wider practice team to discuss and review current KPI’s, is a great start!

If you’d like to find out more about what and how to measure, read ‘Key Performance Indicators – unlocking the answers to business success’ from our Resource Library.

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