This article was originally published on Dental Products Report on December 1, 2021.
Dental Products Report sits down with Melissa Marquez, Jarvis Analytics’ chief operating officer, to discuss dental practice metrics, and how practices can best use the data captured by their practice management software.
Q: What does Jarvis Analytics bring to dental practices?
MM: I think the easiest way to think about Jarvis Analytics and what we do is that we are an intelligent layer that can tap into your practice management system and pull all kinds of actionable data from that system without any manual effort on the part of the practice or the group. We have been supporting primarily group practices, DSOs and DPOs, since 2017 on all their analytics and reporting needs. We are also going to be bringing that same powerful data and dashboards to the solo private practice market. Whether you’re in 1 practice or you’re helping lead many practices, you really need to know what you’re doing well and where your opportunities are. Jarvis Analytics helps anyone in the practice no matter their role. It identifies opportunities and is a much easier way to visualize the data that’s most important to them in their specific role.
Q: Why is it so important for dental practices to track analytics and how do you put them to use?
MM: I think the traditional way of looking at practice performance has been looking at it on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis and really sort of measuring it with the lag measures, things like production and collections and your (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization). All those are still very important, but I think what everyone is discovering, especially over the last year and a half, 2 years that we’ve had is that you want data in a more real-time fashion. By the time you see your month-end report, or your P&L for your practice, or a group of practices, you’ve missed that opportunity to course-correct on any areas where you can actually influence some really powerful change in the performance of the practice. So instead of waiting to see what production and collections were for last month, and then kind of meeting with your team and trying to identify what your strategy is going to be to improve that, Jarvis is going to show you—from more of a lead measure perspective—how you’re trending on all types of KPIs and data points. So you’ll know, pretty much in real-time, how you’re doing with things like case acceptance or how full your hygiene chairs are coming up in the next week so that you can really be proactive about how you lead and manage your results in the practice instead of the alternative being very reactive and basing what you do off last month’s numbers.
Q: Why is it important for Jarvis to be something that can work with more than just 1 practice software platform?
MM: The primary reason is that when you think about how the industry is changing, it’s very common for even a private practice doctor to have a second location. The way many groups or private practices add locations is through acquisition. Many times, when you acquire a practice, they may not be on the same practice management system that you’ve chosen in your other practice or group. Even if you plan to transition all the practices to the same system, there’s a period of time where you’re leading up to that decision, you’re going through the change, and even after conversion, there’s transactions happening in the previous system for a period of time-related to your collections and your AR. So, you’re still flying blind for a period of time until you’ve gotten all the way through that conversion, which can take an average of 9 months with trailing insurance aging. I think 1 of the most important reasons we integrate with multiple practice management systems is so that you can operate on disparate practice management systems and have the data you need without disrupting the practice.
Q: What are some of the ways that Jarvis Analytics surfaces and presents practice data?
MM: Jarvis Analytics is composed of multiple different modules. Because we have front office, team members, hygienists, doctors, as well as executives and functional leaders using Jarvis Analytics, those different modules are intended and directed to serve that individual the type of information they need to see. So while many of those same personas are using the same type of metrics, like production, collections, new patients, and retention, they can customize the way they want to view them. Do they just want to see data for 1 location or at the provider level? Or do they want to see it across multiple locations in a way that highlights the bottom 20% of their organization? If you’re responsible for more than 1 location, you typically want to do a lot of comparisons. These various modules really are intended to give the user the right type of information in the right way, no matter what role they serve. The way this information is displayed is where Jarvis can make decisions much easier and where we cater to all different types of users.
Q: How does Jarvis benefit multi-location practices?
MM: I would say Jarvis Analytics brings a lot of efficiency and flexibility to users. Just think of Jarvis Analytics as someone that’s doing the work for you. It’s going in and it’s using technology to tap into those data points, and then running it through some queries and your custom definitions across all your locations to normalize it in 1 place. Even if you have an analyst on your team to take the time to manually pull these reports together in your own custom dashboard, they usually don’t have the ability to normalize that data into your custom definition. I would say it brings efficiency, and a lot of flexibility, and that’s what people in the industry want today. I think every group wants to be a little bit unique and have their own sort of secret sauce to how they approach things. They don’t want to all use the same definitions when they’re measuring things like case acceptance.
Q: What are some of the things that individual practices, whether they’re part of a group or they’re a stand-alone business, really can get out of working with Jarvis, and what are some of the things they should be looking at when it comes to the data they generate?
MM: Well, again, I’ll stick to the efficiencies. Number 1, I’ve always been of the belief in my prior life—whether it was working in private practice or in DSOs, and various roles—is that a great month is built 1 day at a time, and the most important days are today and tomorrow. What Jarvis Analytics does is it gives them some tools to use at specific times. So in the morning, you have your morning huddle that really allows you to start the day in a strong fashion with your team without having to come in an hour early and gather up a lot of information. It will also automatically send you an end-of-day report delivered right to your email box that really shows you how you did at the end of the day. So it takes that same philosophy of let’s build a great month and a great year 1 day at a time through these reports. And that’s how practice managers and doctors have got to start thinking about their results. If we have our daily goal and we’re managing the day in a way that allows us to achieve that goal, at the end of the month, we’re going to be in a really great spot. And so I think, growth year over year if you’re setting goals that are maybe 5% to 10%, higher than what you achieved last year, and then strategically looking at each day, that’s where Jarvis—specifically that front office module that we have—allows you to really look at the next 5 days, identify the days below your plan or your goal, and then give you some actual tools to help fill the schedule on those days. I would say for the private practice, it really surfaces some of those things that they may already be doing that are really cumbersome. A lot of times, people don’t have huddles and they kind of give up because they have to actually put a lot of effort and work into gathering that data. So Jarvis does the work for you so that you can spend part of your huddle time focusing your team on how to achieve your daily goal, and the other part of your huddle time can really be around team bonding or however you want to motivate your team.
Q: Is there a single metric KPI that practices could start with to begin measuring success?
MM: Absolutely, I think every group, even every private practice, needs to have their own North Star of what they want to achieve and how they measure success in their business. I can’t give one that everyone should use, because as I mentioned earlier, you really need to have your own unique sense of why and what you’re doing with your team and why they come in every day. Maybe it’s patient care-focused. Maybe your goal is to make sure every patient that comes to the practice that day has at least some type of procedure, you know, even if they’re just scheduled as a new patient exam. Most people are busy, even though we know we have to measure their health first and identify what type of cleaning or periodontal treatment they may need. If we can just get started on 1 thing with those patients every day, maybe that’s your North Star. So you could use the same-day case acceptance measure to really understand how we’re doing with that. Maybe your North Star is patient retention, and you just want to keep as many patients as you can. I think it might be a little bit different for everyone, but I would encourage everyone to use 1 of those leading measure KPIs, like retention or case acceptance or new patient referrals, to really drive and align with the goals and the values of their organization.
Q: If you’re the leader of a dental organization, what metrics should you start with?
MM: You definitely don’t want death by metrics, analysis paralysis happening. Every leader I’ve worked with has their own favorite metrics and KPIs they use. But they all had their go-to daily report. Jarvis Analytics has that. You can choose what metrics to display, so you can really make it your own. There’s over 100 different KPIs and metrics to choose from. I would say pick your top 10 and every day you’re going to be able to get in and see how you’re tracking to the benchmarks you’ve established for your group. We also do a lot of color coding in Jarvis. We really want to draw attention to anyone that’s in the bottom 20% or the top 20% of a metric. You can draw some commonalities and really understand if a practice is struggling to meet their production goal, and then use some of those supporting KPIs to identify why that may be. Then you have a game plan before you even step foot into practice.
Q: How can Jarvis help you determine if a potential practice acquisition is going to fit in with your organization?
MM: I think the word diligence just kind of strikes fear into the hearts of a lot of people because by nature, it’s work. It’s a lot of effort, and your goal and objective there is to fact-find and understand as much about that potential acquisition as you can. Unfortunately, the common way to do it is through requesting that the owner send you a bunch of reports that they may or may not run with the correct criteria and parameters. A way that we’ve supported growing groups in a seamless, painless way, is to plug Jarvis into the practice management system in the same way that they use it to measure their existing practices. As you convert that location into your own systems, it’s going to tell you the opportunities, but it’s also going to tell you how they’re currently performing. The data doesn’t lie. Plug Jarvis in and within 24 hours you can see all the same metrics you use in your other locations to measure how that practice is performing, both from a clinical perspective and also from an operational perspective on things like how they’re doing right now with case acceptance.
Q: Are there disconnects that you see within the data that practices gather and the way that DSO leadership communicates to their practices? What Jarvis can do for these organizations?
MM: Well, I think the biggest disconnects that sometimes we see is that there’s a lack of agreement around what those important KPIs are for that organization. The organizations that have really strong alignment from the practice team all the way to the CEO agree on things like how we measure success in our organization, the metrics that we’re going to use to say a practice is successful or that they need help. All that has to be communicated and shared and then put up for everyone to have visibility. Sometimes dashboards are used at that executive level and the information isn’t distributed to the practice level, or it’s distributed in a way that isn’t really conducive to a partnership type of relationship. Maybe the regional manager is going in with their reports, and they suddenly become the report person. We’re there to grow that relationship and help that practice be successful. Why not take your driving KPIs and put them up there for everyone to see? It really can motivate people to be at the top of the list and receive some recognition. It also aligns everybody around the common goal. In any organization that’s really important. Secondarily, is using Jarvis to help the practice define what good looks like, what is a good benchmark for us, what should we shoot for in terms of the KPIs we’re going to measure, but also how are we going to define success within those KPIs?
Q: Are there things that Jarvis can unearth that will help DSOs move past the pitfalls that come from managing a large group and not always being on the ground in the practices?
MM: Absolutely. I think most people have a really good sense of what’s happening in a practice from what they know about the providers and what they know about the historical information with the practice. But it’s really easy to just look at the data and try and make some assumptions there. What sometimes they don’t understand at that level is the old adage of garbage in and garbage out. So what we’re able to support them with is helping them understand what’s valid in the data. For example, they may be looking at a report showing them that 50% of their patients are coming in and leaving without a future visit. What Jarvis can do is it can help unearth some missteps that may be happening in the practice with how they’re using their practice management system. If they’re creating appointments for patients but not assigning any procedures to the appointment—which we find still happens quite often today—the report the executive may be looking at is going to be very skewed because the system may not recognize that person indeed does have an appointment; there’s just no procedures attached to it. When you first pull that information up in Jarvis, we can help explain with the detail needed. For pretty much every metric, you can click on it and see the detailed breakdown behind how it was calculated. It really helps highlight where some of those opportunities might be to use the practice management system appropriately to get more valid data, so you actually spend time working with the practices that have opportunity. Jarvis really helps you understand the why behind the data, and you can see that detail and you can make sure you’re putting some standard operating procedures in place across your group that ensure accuracy.
Q: As a data company does Jarvis Analytics have any insight into industry trends?
MM: Absolutely. We do have all types of data points. We’re going to be looking at introducing the option for groups and practices to opt in to an anonymized data dashboard that would basically allow them to build comparisons with other groups so they can understand if what’s happening in their practice or group today is related to changes within the organization or to industry changes. I think having the ability to have that data is a great honor, but it still belongs to the customer, and so it would only be an opt-in situation where if they wanted to contribute their data in an anonymized fashion, they could also then have access to this data in ways that help them understand and make distinctions about what the data is showing for the industry.
Q: Now to circle back to the Henry Schein One purchase. They recently took a majority ownership stake with Jarvis Analytics, and I’m wondering what that relationship means going forward?
MM: Well, primarily, it means being a part of the largest dental tech company in the US. And we also have brands outside of the US, so it’s an international company that’s really a leader in dental tech. You think about the practice management systems that people are utilizing today; it definitely has the lion’s share. With Dentrix, Dentrix Enterprise, and Dentrix Ascend, it’s a leading force when it comes to practice management systems. But there are also other groups within Henry Schein One that are similar to Jarvis. They may not do analytics, but perhaps they help with patient relationship management and with communicating with patients. So Jarvis really brought to Henry Schein One that additional pillar they needed, which is analytics. And I think over the last few years, we’ve seen this increasing desire to have not only analytics that really speak to the solo practice, but also analytics that solve some complex problems for DSOs and groups. You don’t want to log in to 2 separate dashboards to see information. Even if you just have 2 practices, you want to be able to compare them in 1 place and align your whole team around them. So I would say as far as what it means for Jarvis Analytics moving forward, it means that alignment comes with some resources and some infrastructure. We’ve always been a very small team. We’ve always had a dedicated team of developers over 40 team members that really know the practice management systems in and out and know how to gather and retrieve the information that we need to have a really powerful dashboard. But now we have this larger structure in place and resources that will really help us grow at a larger scale and bring Jarvis to more people than we ever have before.
Q: Is there anything specific with Jarvis that I haven’t asked you about that you want to make sure that our audience knows and understands?
MM: I think your questions have been great. And I think a lot of you know, people have these types of questions. As they’re thinking about which analytics platform to use, I would say, visit jarvisanalytics.com. If you’re considering instituting some data and a dashboard to your practice, or more than 1 practice, we’ve put together some really phenomenal resources, whether it’s e-books or even just previews of what Jarvis can do. We are always ready to support a group or a practice through training and understanding to really get the most out of your data. We also measure the utilization of Jarvis, so we want to know that people are using it, and if they’re not, we want to be proactive about that. Jarvis really combines the leading analytics dental dashboard with a really great support and customer success team. So keep those things in mind as you’re working to consider what dashboard to institute into your organization.