Front Desk Collections:— A Statistical Snapshot

Monday, September 12, 2011

AVG 75%ile 95%ile
Front Desk Collections
as a % of Production 33% 38% 59%

It’s not just about the money! Our client base averages 33% front desk collections. Collections at the time of service can reduce billing costs and of course eliminate completely the chance of not collecting! However, the real benefit in increasing front desk collections is in increasing patient commitment. Low front desk collections are a sign that conversations are not happening about treatment costs and insurance at the front desk.

In every office there are situations where the Doctor and hygienist recommend treatment and then are surprised to find out later on that the patient didn’t schedule or cancelled. “I thought they understood completely why they needed to get this stuff done now…” So sometimes the Doctors can feel that the front desk isn’t able to field the treatment they are sending their way.

Of course, the front desk isn’t the only possible culprit here. It’s a matter of getting the patients to the front desk with the right information at the right time so they can do their jobs. If your front desk collections are under 33%, they can be better. We can help! We coach teams on this all the time. As front desk collections go up, watch, your crown and bridge will too!

$25 Million per month in Perspective:
(from the APM Database)
Each month we collect data from offices all over the Upper Midwest. The collective productivity of these offices is over $25,000,000 per month. That’s a lot of data. How do we make it useful? We can look at Hygiene Production per Hour, Doctor Production per hour, Crown and Bridge, New Patients, Down Time, etc. All of these statistics give you a very real perspective on how much you can expect from you and your staff. What is possible and what is a stretch.

Here are some key statistics from the recently compiled 2010 data:

Metro Area
Average 75%ile 95%ile
Dr. Production per hour $589 $665 $825
Hygienist Production per Visit $138 $148 $167
Collection Percentage 85% 87%
Accounts Receivable Ratio 1.04 1.22
Front Desk Collections 30% 35%
Production per Active Patient per Year $677
Outstate Area
Average 75%ile 95%ile
Dr. Production per hour $453 $509 $681
Hygienist Prod. per Visit $117 $130 $138
Collection Percentage 91% 95%
Accounts Receivable Ratio 1.1
Front Desk Collections 36% 40%
Production per Active Patient per Year $519
Obviously, if you increase your and your hygienists’ production per hour, all things being equal, you’ll make more!

You can increase your production per hour (capacity) by looking at the main factors that go into determining it such as:

1. Staffing, Delegation and Teamwork: Presumably, with more staff working together that you delegate more to, you can do more than with less staff not working well together that you don’t delegate to!

2. Treatment Plans and Procedure Mix: If you’re doing Quadrant Dentistry or higher end procedures, you’ll produce more than if you’re doing patchwork all day. If you went to CE for cosmetic, ortho, implants, etc., use the techniques.

3. Facility, Equipment and Technology: With more rooms, better equipment and more advanced technology, you can get more done than with fewer rooms, less equipment and less technology.

4. Clinical Speed: Not the biggest factor. The “time on tooth” for dental procedures between dentists isn’t all that different. There are exceptions though, for example, with Cerec. Some Dentists (through delegation, training and experience) can complete the whole procedure in 1 hour. Others need 2-1/2 hours.

5. Appointment Book Control/Scheduling: In most offices, the schedule is simply a list of patients coming in. Make your schedule a planning tool and you’ll profit accordingly. If you take care of each day, the months and years will take care of themselves!

This can involve setting a production per day goal. I’m sure that you’ve all heard of this many times. The goal has to be realistic though and really designed to leverage the resources you have. For example, often Doctors have two assistants but don’t make full use of them. For that second assistant, you have to comfortably see at least two more operative visits per day than you would if you only have one. If you don’t, your overhead is going to be above industry standards.

You don’t have to be booked out a long way to increase your hourly production.
Good planning can make sure that every day is more productive. Plan your “Perfect Day” and block it out accordingly. Sure, you’ll rarely attain “perfect” but if you start putting together each day with a plan you’ll end up with more good days!

If you haven’t already worked with us to do so, it’s time to set your statistical targets for the year. Then we can work back to your and your hygienists’ production per day and hourly goals. Let’s give your staff a little direction on how to put those days together the way you want them.

Posted by Bill Rossi at 8:26 AM 0 comments
Labels: Advanced Practice Management, Bill Rossi, collections, cost control, dental office profitability, result control