Where there’s no shortage of data there’s no shortage of opportunity.
That might sound like an overstatement. But that’s precisely why it’s vital to use data mining in your dental practice or dental organization.
It’s true, there is no shortage of data. Even so, you have to be willing to look, read between the lines, and be diligent to leverage it.
It’s a new day for data
Gone are the days of having to peruse paper charts and stacks of handwritten paper notes. At least, we hope that’s the case.
Consider the amount of valuable data that was “buried” in those hardcopy formats.
Things have changed!
The migration to EHR (Electronic Health Records), updated dental practice management platforms, dental dashboards, and the use of data analytics is creating a fast, easy, and time-efficient way to mine your patient data for opportunities.
- Opens new dental marketing pathways
- Helps you scale your business of dentistry strategies
- Provides analysis for your front-office and clinical workflows
Those and more though are at the mercy of knowing how to locate, analyze, and use the data you discover. It’s no surprise that some are unsure or ill equipped about data mining.
Gary Kadi, Founder of Next Level Practice, confirms the challenges you might be facing with data discovery –
”Many (dentists) are frustrated that they have really great clinical skills, but now they’re staring at this monster called their business. So, the doctor needs to look at the measures and metrics, and reverse engineer what they need to do to be a successful practice.”
Follow a data mining “primer” for your dental practice or dental organization
Get acquainted with your patient-base
This is a core dental marketing metric. It’s easy to be routine about patient numbers especially when your production schedule is (hopefully) somewhat consistent.
But patient data can reveal additional insight that can help you refine your marketing strategies. For example, mining your patient data provides some useful demographics.
- What area/regional zip codes are patients coming from?
- How did they find you (e.g. online search, direct mail, social media, etc)?
- Who referred them and when?
These questions (and subsequent data mining processes) are among those that enable you to analyze your dental marketing strategies. You might have increased your social media reach and then noticed an uptick in new patient calls.
Or you could determine that your most recent mailing to a particular zip code resulted in a low call ratio. This mined data gives you some demographic insight you can use to reduce direct mail spending or make changes to your mailer(s).
The more real-time your data mining the better. Targeted marketing strategies (thanks to your data) help you know what channels work best for the varied demographics represented in your patient base.
Know your KPIs
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are an essential dental practice evaluation tool. Data mining uncovers the numbers that are most relevant to practice and/or organizational growth.
It’s common to focus high amounts of energy and attention on new patient acquisition. And while that’s a useful KPI, there are other “veins” of information to explore.
- Production to collection ratios
- Insurance reimbursement pace
- Treatment acceptance ratios
- Patient retention
- Patient referrals
You can (and should) add to these the more you begin to mine your dental practice or dental organization data.
Look for gaps and trends. KPIs are useful for measuring how well your departments, workflows, and strategies are performing.
Monitor your care standards and clinical outcomes
Production and profitability get a major share of database attention. Even so, the quality of care that drives both of those metrics deserves attention as well.
Care standards and treatment outcomes can be monitored for ongoing improvement. Data mining at the clinical level reveals the treatment protocols that produce the best outcomes, those that require improvement, or protocols that produced less than optimum results.
- Track outcomes across patient demographics within your practice/organization.
- Compare your data with national data for relevant treatment/procedural protocols.
- Pinpoint zones of treatment (e.g. restorative, perio, cosmetic) and monitor related outcomes to improve diagnostic processes, etc.
Mining your care and clinical data gives you insight for improvement and for tailoring your care solutions to patient demographics where need is high.
Before we wrap up…
Data mining is a team effort. It’s important to inform, train, and invest in your team(s) relative to how they access and use data.
Most team members have their hands on your practice management platform. Introduce them to the available data and raise its value so everyone contributes to success.
The following resources are on-theme for vale of data mining:
Data mining relies on effective analytic tools
The Jarvis Analytics platform helps assure that you’re tracking the important metrics and staying on-track with your goals as your dental practice and/or DSO grows and expands.
Experience Jarvis in action. Request a demo today!
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