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Pardon our French but, what the h3%l is a KPI?

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Pardon our French but, what the h3%l is a KPI?

Sep 4, 2020

We all use the term “KPI” colloquially, but using KPIs to measure your business success has become table stakes. Using KPIs and finding the right ones to assess the health of your business may be a challenge, but in this series WTH is a KPI?, we will set out to determine :

  • WHY establishing your set of key performance indicators is important 
  • HOW to go about deciding which ones bring the most value to you and your practice or group.
  • WHAT the top performing dentists and DSOs in the country are using to measure their performance and drive practice growth. 

The healthcare industry has used key performance indicators or KPIs for decades to provide a quantifiable measure to enable healthcare providers to evaluate and improve their performance. Dentistry is no different, but we have found that KPIs are not widely used.

These indicators show the practice’s success in achieving an identified goal/target and can help the practice determine the various metrics that need to be achieved in order to achieve that goal/target.

A practice cannot manage what they cannot measure. Here’s a good example: a practice can use a KPI to see the production of one practice versus another based on hygiene recall or treatment acceptance. If one practice lags another, then management can refocus on these identified KPIs by reaching out to those who have missed hygiene appointments or those who have not accepted scheduled treatment. Managing without KPIs is like building a house without a blueprint. Without a way to measure success, practices have no idea how close they are to achieving their goals/target or how to adjust their focus for a better outcome. 

If a dentist is leading teams at one or more locations, or a dental support organization does not have clearly defined KPIs that can be measured in real time, they are not managing their practices as effectively as their competition is. 

By now, you know WHY using KPIs to manage your business is important. Next, HOW do you determine which KPIs are the right ones? 

Good KPIs should:

  • Align with your organization’s strategy and goals.
  • Use accurate and reliable data.
  • Create ownership of performance from office managers and front desk staff to providers. 
  1. Determine your most important goals. Write down your top 5 goals for your practice, some easy-to-achieve, some should be reachable goals. Once you have three to five wildly important goals established, identifying the right KPIs will be easy. Some examples might include, increase productivity by x in the hygiene department, add an associate to the practice or improve daily production overall by x
  1. Select KPIs for each department that drive your goals forward. Establish separate KPIs for doctors, the front office team, hygiene and specialists to create accountability and ownership by the respective teams. Some of the most common KPIs we see among our clients are production per day, patient retention and production per visit. For example, if you have a goal to improve hygiene productivity, there are several KPIs that may top your list, including Perio to Prophy % and hygiene reappointment.
  1. Implement a scoreboard and display it clearly for your team. KPIs only support growth if they are communicated to critical team members and updated frequently. Imagine a game of football where only the coach knows the score, but not the players. Teams that want to win play much harder when they know where they stand and how far they are from the goal.  

Now, hopefully, you have a clear understanding of what a KPI is, how to establish them and further leverage them at your organization. We’ll continue the conversation around KPIs in this series to help you and your team understand exactly how to implement and what is best.

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