PPO/Tech/Economy Survey Highlights


Metro Area:

More Metro practices said Production was up this year (56% vs. 40% last year). Collections were up at 53% of the practices (vs. 48%). However, only 28% of practices saw New Patients increase vs. 34% last year. 43% of Metro Area practices have or are planning to give raises to their team this year.

Outstate Practices:

62% of the practices reported that Production was up this year (vs. 46% last year) and 62% had increased Collections (vs. 48% last year). New Patients were up too (48% of the practices saw an increase in New Patients vs. 41% last year). 68% of Outstate practices have or are planning to give raises.

So all in all, the balance of the Dental Economy is on the plus side.

Trends in Technology:

Well, we are the home of Patterson and it shows with 28% of respondents saying they have a Cerec machine (3% E4D).

For the first time this year, we surveyed “Online Bill Payment” – 18% of offices now have it. Patient Registration Online – 27% and Digital Impressions Scanner -11%.

56% of offices now claim to be chartless. 36% offer Invisalign (or like). 11% of reporting practices said they had a Cone Beam Imager.

83% of practices now have Digital Radiography but that still leaves 17% to make the transition. This number had been stuck around 70% for a couple of years so the hold outs are finally upgrading.


Eaglesoft continues to be the dominant player in our area with 32% of the market (vs. 30% last year). Dentrix is still holding its own at 21%. Softdent is holding at 18% with PEB XL Dent closing in at about 17%.

We hear a lot of talk about Open Dental but it is still less than 5% of our regional market according to our survey respondents. Dentrix, Open Dental and EZ Dental (an old system surprisingly) have the highest ratings by their users.

PPO Participation:

Delta Premier (the “regular” Delta) participation is holding at 86%. Delta PPO has made a slight increase from 30% to 33% of reporting Doctors. Delta 216 has gone from 33% to 40%. (216 fees are better than they need to be). Health Partners is gaining providers from 43% last year to 46% this year. Premier PPOs (a collection of over 25 various dental insurances) has 42% participation of the providers reporting.

11% of Dentists said they dropped a PPO in the past year and 7% are planning to leave one this year. 9% have joined a PPO.

If you are considering joining or leaving a PPO, please get in touch with us. We have helped many Doctors make smart “PPO Plays” which can add $1,000s to the bottom line or save a loss of $1,000s.

There is no blanket statement on this. It really is a matter of each practice’s situation and too complex a subject to go into much detail here. I almost hate to say it but the average Collection percentage in our area now is about 85%. That low a percentage would have been unthinkable 15 years ago. However, if you are collecting less than 80%, chances are you are deeper into PPOs than you need to be. If you haven’t given this a serious look, do!