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Getting new patients, inspiring them, telling them what they need, and having them say yes is one of those things that we live with every day. I feel like the dental community, as a whole, falls far short of its potential when it comes to converting calls to appointments, getting them to show up, and accepting your recommendations for treatment. In a way, case acceptance (or the lack of it) is a clear indicator of the relevance that patients find in your practice. Are you likable? Do you come off caring and compassionate? Will patients show up, pay for their treatment, and refer every one they know?

The average practice sees about a 55-60% case acceptance mark. As you can guess, this is not good. So let’s take a look at what an increase in case acceptance would add to the list of converting calls to appointments and getting them to show up. I like to look at the production per new patient number. The national average is $1,100 per new patient. A great practice would be in the $2,500-$3,500 area. Keep in mind all we are doing is dividing the number of new patients for a particular month or year into the collections for that period of time. So, it is not a number that represents the production or collections “on each new patient” but the “production per new patient”. Increasing that percentage just 5% can mean an exponential increase in production on your schedule and money in your pocket. The ripple effect is that to achieve this you will be doing better at everything. An increase in case acceptance will also mean an increase in direct referrals. The sad fact is that most offices fail to track this key practice indicator. You should take the time to always know your batting average on case acceptance. Every practice software system has the ability to track this as well as provide reports on diagnosed but still uncompleted treatment. The snafu occurs when the doctor and the staff fail to take advantage of their software’s ability to help track and correct our course.

Due diligence in tracking these key practice numbers is the minimum you should be doing each month. Here is a short list:

Numbers to follow each month with goal to hit in parentheses.

• Production by primary doctor (67%)
• Production by hygienist or any other producer (33%)
• Production per employee ($20,000-$25,000)
• Production per op ($25,000-$30,000)
• Compensation overhead (25% all inclusive)
• Facility costs (7%-9%)
• Lab costs (8%-10%)
• Marketing (3%-5%)
• Office supplies (less than 2%)
• Dental Supplies (6%)
• Cost of Lawyer and CPA (less than 2%)
• Number or percentage of direct patient referrals (50%+)
• New patients per month (50-75)
Note: You need about 32 new patients a month for each full-time hygienist. Doctors need at least 40-50 per month and more if possible.

As you can imagine, getting better at getting patients to accept your treatment recommendations is vital to hitting these KPI’s. I have indicated several times in previous posts that Summit has numerous resources available to help you. A small investment coupled with an honest effort to implement the needed changes will result in amazingly improved results. We have had doctors begin to implement the tenets of “100% Case Acceptance” and “The Hygiene Factor” and literally turn their practices around in 6-8 weeks. Hopefully they would also do other things as they increase their momentum.

I’ll finish by reminding you of a few key facts regarding case acceptance. The number one reason patients don’t get dentistry done is that they were never told. So that would be step one: Tell them in a way that does not seem like you’re “selling” them something. Use the “100% Case Acceptance info plus “The Hygiene Factor” to build competence and confidence in case presentation quality and consistency. Secondly, we are a consumer driven business where people vote with their feet. There are no bad patients and I can think of no justification for not having your case acceptance approach 90%. When you keep seeing the backs of patient’s heads as they leave your practice, you are doing something wrong. Finally, you need to assume that every patient accepts 100% of the treatment diagnosed and presented. The problem: They might not choose you be the person who does it.

Michael Abernathy, DDS
972-523-4660 cell
[email protected]

PS. Here’s what I promised above. The answer is go to the Summit website and order two items: 100% Case Acceptance and also The Hygiene Factor. Do this and watch your profits skyrocket while your stress goes way, way down. Just click the link and scroll down the page to find these two items. (