Are you getting better? Are you getting worse? How are you producing in relation to your peers? Are you measuring up with your goals? Find, understand and manage all of this data and more with the information in this episode. A way to benchmark how we are doing in our profession with Dental Intel Data Analysis. Listen in to Dr. John and Rob Bay from Dental Intel discuss how we can increase our bottom line by 17% by utilizing this one tool.
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EP10: Increase your production by 17% with one click; Interview with Dental Intel Transcript:
S1 00:00:02.028 [music] Welcome to the Double Your Production Podcast, with the Team Training Institute, the one place designed for dentists and their staff who want to grow their practices by following in the footsteps of those that have done it, who are in the trenches, who know exactly what you’re going through. And now, your leaders, the stars of the podcast, Dr. John Meis and Wendy Briggs.
S2 00:00:28.122 Welcome, everybody to this Team Training Institute podcast. I am so fortunate to be sitting in an office somewhere in Southern Texas with the co-founder and president of Dental Intel, Rob Bay. How are you doing, Rob?
S3 00:00:40.630 I’m doing good, Dr. John. Glad to be here in this impromptu podcast.
S2 00:00:45.394 That’s right. That’s fun. So do you want to tell us a little about what Dental Intel does?
S3 00:00:52.187 Yeah. Sure. Dental Intel, we’re a metrics-based platform. And we’re a software. We tie into practice management software. And the point is not just to tell a practice what’s happening or what’s going on but why things are happening, where there’s opportunity for improvement, and help or practice use data to make decisions and drive their practice forward, so they’re more profitable, provide better patient care, and have better team performance.
S2 00:01:21.666 So one of the things that I love about your software is that it takes the information that’s already in a practice management software. But it makes it so much more usable. So tell me about some of the usability things that really make your product valuable.
S3 00:01:36.575 Well, you can log in and look into your practice management software, whether that’s Dentrix, Eaglesoft, Open Dental, whatever it is. And it’s hard to extract or extrapolate the things that you really need to or would want to see to be able to help you in your job or in your role. You can go pull reports and look at things. But there’s nothing there that’s telling you how well you’re doing or in comparison with what you’ve done in the past, or where you should be at, or anything like that. Also, when you look at data and information, if it’s graphical, if people relate to it a lot better. And so by having data in that way, it helps drive performance as well as understanding of the information.
S2 00:02:20.582 So the amazing thing that I’ve seen with your product is that metrics allow people to manage their practices. And having the metrics be very simple to find, easy to show, as you said they’re graphical, they’re color-coded. So they’re so useful in team meetings, morning huddles, and things that like it. It just makes it so much better. What are some of the key metrics that you think we should be watching?
S3 00:02:51.207 I ask people all the time what are the metrics that they’re looking at. And there’s three things they almost always say. It’s production, collections, and new patients. And while those are awesome, they’re great things to look at. None of those tell you if you made any money. Not any of them do. And there’s a formula that equals the success in a dental practice. And really, if I was starting with measuring a practice, this is be the place that I would start. And I would measure how many visits or appointments are we having in any period of time, week, month, year, whatever. We’re going to multiply that by how much are we producing per visit. And actually, those two things together will equal our production. But if it’s just– we’re only looking at production. We don’t really know– if it’s not where we want it to be, we don’t know why. If we had our best month ever, also, we still really don’t know why. And by breaking it apart, we can start to see is it a quantitative issue, or is it a qualitative issue? Are we not seeing enough patients, or are we not doing enough on the patients when they’re here? Is it a combination of those two? Then we’re going to take that, and we’re going to multiply that by the collection percentage. So what percentage of that production do we collect? And then subtract overhead. And that gives us our profitability. And those are kind of the four primary levers in a dental practice. And there’s a lot of other things that you can look at or measure, but most everything else boils up to those four things.
S2 00:04:16.809 Sure. One of the things that I’ve been so amused watching in the emergence of large groups or small groups, even, is they tend to focus on their production or collection number. And the profitability number kind of gets lost in the mix. And so the formula that you just gave, gave everything that people needed to really evaluate their success. And you heard me talked before about flow and about how dental practices that do well have a lot of patient flows, or patient visits is really a key number as is all the others. So kind of how do you suggest people look at number? So you mentioned, already, trends and things like that. But how do you suggest people look at the data that they’re getting?
S3 00:05:02.316 Well, I mean, really, that’s a really good question because anything that you look at or measure, the whole point of it is for it to drive some type of action. And if you’re not looking at numbers to be able to actually do something about it or act on it, then there’s really not any point in looking at it. And so first of, you want to start looking at some of the right things. And when you’re looking at data, then you want to start to ask yourself, “Why is that happening? What’s going on? What’s causing it? Who’s good at this? Who needs help? How do I improve in this thing? Or why am I being successful in this area?” And by doing that, we can start to get down to more individualized data and numbers. And when we get to that point, if we’re looking at, for example, a hygienist, and we’re talking about how well they’re [teaming?] up a dentist for successful case acceptance, and that hygienist is looking at their own data and numbers related to that, when you look at data, you need to look at it in three different ways. How am I doing compared to how I’ve done in the past? Am I getting better? Am I getting worst? Is what I’m doing helping me to improve? How am I doing in comparison to my goal or to some type of a target that’s set for me? And then ultimately, how am I doing in relation to my peers? They’re hygienist, maybe in my own practice or in other practices? And that way, we can get some relativity around the data to see if what we’re doing is helping us to get where we want to go.
S2 00:06:30.550 Sure. And you’re lucky, in that, you have how many practices using your product, now?
S3 00:06:36.017 Oh, I mean thousands, thousands of practices. We’ve got several thousand providers setter that are on our data, so we are able to look at and see a lot of them.
S2 00:06:43.596 Right. And so one of the things that makes managing practices difficult is we don’t have a great way of benchmarking how we’re doing compared to our profession. And so if you want to talk a little bit about how Dental Intel, the data that you have from all this practitioners, can help practices benchmark their performance.
S3 00:07:02.199 Absolutely. I mean, whenever a practice works with us, they have a data analyst that works alongside them. And their job and responsibility is to help the practice understand how to utilize data and figure those things out, help them put together a little bit– I don’t mean to say a road map because we’re not, by any means, a consultant. We’re number nerds, but helping them to see, “Here’s where I’m at.” And if they know where it is they want to go, we can start to see where are the places, at least, that they need to get improvement. And we’re able to know if that improvement is available if it’s possible based upon where they’re at in relation with other practices. If we see, okay, you’re having an issue related to this particular thing, maybe it’s related to broken appointments, and your broken appointments are at X percentage, overall, and we know that okay, normal for this is about 15% total unbroken between cancellations and no-shows, but good practices are about at 8%, then we know what’s possible, what we can do. And we share that information so a practice can know what they can do and what’s possible.
S2 00:08:13.923 Yeah. It’s really valuable information. When I go into practices, one of the common things that I talk about is the patient experience. And when I ask practices what their patient experience is, they will all say, “We’re excellent [laughter],” right? And we know that there are some that are excellent. We know that some are poor and some in between. There’s a range, right? And so figuring out where you are on that range, for an individual practice, is really difficult. But some of the data that you just mentioned helps people to understand that, doesn’t it? So tell us about how your software can help people gauge where they are on the patient experience continuum.
S3 00:08:50.845 And that’s a really good question because patient experience is something that’s a little bit less tangible. You can’t quite put a handle on it. But there are a lot of data points that will let us know whether or not we’re having a good patient experience. And it’s are our patients scheduling to come back and see us? Do our patients, when we schedule them, do they show up for their appointments? When we’re offering treatment to them, are they accepting it? And are our patients willing to pay us? And there’s probably multiple other things, but those are some of the key ones–
S2 00:09:21.754 Those are some of the big ones.
S3 00:09:22.257 –that come to my mind. Do they refer their friends to come? There’s a myriad of things that we can see that will all be indicators on whether or not they’re providing that type of experience that they believe that they are.
S2 00:09:34.544 Yeah. It’s really, really good point. So because your software has somewhat of a bridge between accounting software and practice management software, you’re in a very unique position to be able to identify which of the data points you’re looking at correlate with profitability. And I know this is somewhat of a proprietary information, and you’re not going to want to give us all the possibilities here. But could you give us just one statistic that really correlates well with profitability?
S3 00:10:11.593 Yeah. It’s interesting. We love looking at those things and seeing– I mean because there’s thousands of things that you could look at. Case acceptance. Is it new patient flow? Is it retention of patients? Is it because we’re minimizing no-shows or whatever. What is that strongest correlation? Or is it something intangible like the doctor’s personality, or their skills, or their location, or their demographics, or do they accept insurance? We try to look at any and all of these things possible to see what has the biggest correlation. And surprisingly enough, it’s something that you wouldn’t ever expect or ever even think. The statistic that has the strongest correlation towards profits and profitability in a dental office is reappointing hygiene patients. And an average office is about 68% of their patients, they reappoint, they reschedule. A good office will be about 91%. And that is the strongest correlation to the success in a dental office from a financial perspective of any statistic that there is.
S2 00:11:16.524 That’s why the 6 hours that we teach are so critical because if we aren’t keeping patients in the practice. It’s retention that leads to profitability. It’s not new patients which is a common misthought that many dentists have. So what are the things– so you said you’re a dad, a nerd and you’re a number guy. And I don’t think you’re a nerd at all. I think you’re pretty cool guy [laughter]. But one of the things that I’ve noticed with dentists is dentists are usually not numbers people, right? They’re usually heart people. And it can’t be both. So what I’ve noticed is that dentists sometimes come up with mental models that are about numbers. But their mental models are often mistaken. So do you know what I’m talking about when I talk about mental models?
S3 00:12:04.158 Yeah.
S2 00:12:04.565 Okay. So what are some of the mistaken mental models that you see among dentists as a rule?
S3 00:12:11.903 Well, one of the biggest things that you said, to begin with, was the fact that there is such a belief within the dental community that new patients is what drives success or demographics. A lot of times we’re looking at things that are outside of ourselves. I guess it’s natural human tendency that when things go really well for us, it’s because I’m awesome. It’s because I’m great. It’s because people like me. I’m smart. If they don’t go well for us, we look external. And so when we’re wanting to improve, we want to try to find things that are external to us and that we’re going to get better because of marketing or because of demographics, or I just got to get off of these insurances or finding these other things that we feel like are inhibiting our success. But we find that majority of that success is under our own control, and you can be successful, financially successful, anywhere in dentistry, anywhere in the United States, any insurance situation, nearly any demographic and be successful.
S2 00:13:27.409 Even in areas where the competitive ratio is really high, still there are practices that excel and practices that struggle.
S3 00:13:35.124 Absolutely. I mean, we see practices, where in their same building, there are dozens, and dozens, and dozens of dental offices in the same building, and there are dentists that are thriving.
S2 00:13:44.531 Yeah. So one of the things that I love about data is that if we aren’t doing as well as we think we should be, if we aren’t doing– well, we have benchmarking data that we can see if we aren’t maybe not doing as well as we should be compared to other people, we tend to end up making excuses. And we tend to think our excuses are reasons. And we get confused between the two. And one of the things that data helps you understand is what’s a reason, and what’s an excuse. So kind of the breakdown often is – you said so clearly – reasons are the things that we can control. But we tend to focus on the excuses, which are things that we can’t. And one of the things I’ve had the pleasure to do is be in a lot of practices. And the first really highly productive practice I went to, I thought, “Oh, I’m going to come, and it’s going to be this Taj Mahal practice, and there’s going to be Mercedes, and Lexuses, and Rolls-Royces in the parking lot [laughter]. And I’m going to walk in. And it’s going to be movie stars in the waiting room.” And so I get to this super productive practice, and it wasn’t. The office looked very much like mine. It was very nice. But it wasn’t anything Taj Mahal-ish. The cars looked like the cars in my neighborhood. Walked in the waiting room. The people looked just like the people in my room. His team looked just like the people in my team. What I began to understand is that they were just managing their resources a lot better than I was. And part of the managing your resource is really having the data on which to make decisions on what you want to improve.
S3 00:15:20.427 I mean, that’s a really, really good point. It’s interesting. I mean, dentistry, in my mind, it’s an amazing profession. But – and I’ve spent time in other industries – it’s the only industry I know of where, honestly, you could be terrible at business and still make money. But there’s money to be made as a dentist, as a clinician. But just as much as that, in terms of quantity, there’s that much or more that there is to be made as a business owner, as the proprietor of that practice. And if you can harness that power, and use those systems, and gain knowledge, and have the data that tells you where the area is you need to improve, and then get help in improving in those areas, the predictability of your success is far more certain.
S2 00:16:09.449 Yeah, for sure. People can be comfortable and have a really nice life on the income as a clinician. But they can have security at a much younger age and more wealth really coming from the ownership side, but only if they manage it well. And so again, why Dental Intel is one of my favorite technologies. And a lot of people who’ve heard the podcast have heard me speak, one of the things I commonly speak on is brain-dead technologies. What are the things that there’s just no doubt about it, you have to have in your office because it just works, it’s just successful? And Dental Intel certainly is on my list of brain-dead technologies that dental offices really ought to have. Now, one of the things that you can track is you can track the usage of the software. So I want to have you talk a little bit about the people who use it well and the results they get, and people who have it but don’t use it, and how the results drop off pretty dramatically, don’t they?
S3 00:17:15.877 Yeah. I mean, it’s interesting. We look at it on a global basis. We look at people who use our data and they’re using our software. Well first, let me preface this by saying, the primary trend in dentistry is flat. A dental office will get to a certain point, and they’ll pretty much maintain at that point forever. And they may have a good month, or a bad month, or a good year, or a bad year. But they’re pretty much varying around a norm that they maintain throughout their life. And we see, though, that practices that utilize our data, they end up having 12.7 times return ROI, so 1270% annual ROI. And that’s across the board. That’s people who utilize it well as well as people who may not ever even get in there and utilize it, even though they’re paying for it. One of the really interesting things that we see is we have a feature in there that’s around the morning huddle. And in the morning huddle, it will indicate, for the team, where there’s opportunities today with specific patients who are coming in. And those opportunities may be around unscheduled treatment, or family members who are unscheduled, or someone who’s coming in to see the doctor, but they’re not scheduled in continuing care, or an opportunity around who owes us money, I mean, a variety of things. And I can’t necessarily see how much time they spend in there, or I should say, how effective their conversations are around those things, I can just see whether or not they’ve clicked through it. And if they’ve clicked through it, on those days, they’ve produce 17% more. And so it’s huge. It’s huge. Having data at your disposal to help guide your actions on a daily basis is huge. If you think of a typical normal practice, for any of you who are listening to this podcast, take your production and increase it by 17%. And imagine how that would impact you personally in whatever it is that your role is or even in the profitability of your practice, and it’s huge.
S2 00:19:26.042 One of the most common frustrations in dental practice is cancellations and fails and how that impacts productivity. But really, your morning huddle feature is really the counterbalance to that because you’re identifying, okay, if we have a– if we’re not full, we know how to fill it from what’s coming in today. If we are full and we have something drop off, we know where to go. We know where the potential dollars are for this day. So the practices that get very, very effective at same-day dentistry and finding those opportunities and capitalizing on them are really the ones that are having tremendous success right now. And 17% more, if you think on the relative effect of that on profitability, I mean, think about it. All of your fixed cost, you’re already paying. So what if that 17% goes to the bottom line? Well, you’ve got some supplies, and some lab, and I guess a little bit utilities, maybe. But most of that drops right to the bottom line. So it can have a profound effect on profitability.
S3 00:20:32.994 Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, if you have a 17%, you’re looking at about 15% of that likely is additional variable cost, and so 85% of that is profit, which would be somewhere around 13, 14 percent of that production. So if you produced $800,000 normally in a year, I mean, you’re saying 13 or 14 percent more which is going to be going straight to the bottom line, you’re looking at $100,000 in additional profit just by having that meeting and talking about the things that you should be talking about.
S2 00:21:08.037 Yep. It’s all stuff we should be doing, anyway. It’s all stuff that has– it creates a better patient experience, all creates better patient health. And if you’d ever noticed how teams that are consistently busy are happier, it’s when we have those downtimes when people have time to start pecking at each other a little bit? And so if you’ve got downtimes during the day, your practice is bound to have more drama. And there isn’t a dentist in the world who likes dealing with drama, so very helpful on that too, isn’t it?
S3 00:21:40.738 Yeah. Absolutely. One thing about that, when you talk about teams that are busy, they’re happier, it’s especially if it’s built around a concerted effort and they have a system with it because a lot of times people will be busy or– because team members, they want to be helpful. But sometimes they don’t exactly know how, and so they just get involved in frenetic behavior, or they don’t, and then we get involved in corrosive behavior. But yeah. If they know exactly where they need to focus to help the practice be more successful, it will be more successful, and they will be more busy, and they will be happier.
S2 00:22:18.177 Any other words of wisdom for the listeners?
S3 00:22:21.070 So my main word of wisdom is if you are not measuring something, measure something. Anything that you want to improve, you need to measure it. It’s just a natural law. If you’re measuring something, it’s going to get better because you are going to be focusing on it, and it will get– and it will improve. So if you’re not using data in your practice, I’d strongly encourage you to start. If you’re not going to use Dental Intel, which I would recommend that you do, but if you don’t, at least, start looking at how many visits are we having, how much are we producing per visit, what’s our collection percentage, and our overhead percentage? And then start to ask the questions about why is this happening, whether it’s good or bad, so then you can start to drill down to what to do.
S2 00:23:08.489 Yeah. Awesome. Great words. Rob, I appreciate you being on the podcast today. And you’ve got a great product, and I really enjoy using it in the practices that we work with because it allows us to identify low-hanging fruit so that we get the biggest bang for people’s effort on improving their practices. So thanks for all that you do for the Team Training Institute. We sure appreciate it.
S3 00:23:29.485 Thanks, Dr. Meis. Love spending time with you and glad to be on the podcast here.
S4 00:23:36.435 Hey, guys. Thanks for tuning in today. If you want more information on the Team Training Institute or on Dental Intel, find us at www.theteamtraininginstitute.com/podcast. There we can have the transcript as well as a link to the Dental Intel website and YouTube channel. Thanks for tuning in.