Practice analytics

Untitled-1Nick Davies explains why data-driven insights can help improve patient care and increase your practice revenue.

Data collection and analysis permeates all aspects of the modern world. The drive towards more efficient data collection and processing has all originated from the value that your data can create.

All dental practices generate huge amounts of data that may be stuffed away in paper archives or it could be tied up in a database that is frustrating to access. If you’re using practice management software, getting the data and analysing it will be far easier than sifting through your paper archives!

Here, I cover some of the best reports and KPIs (key performance indicators) that we’ve identified to help improve patient care and increase practice revenue.

Invoice timeline

Figure 1: Total number of unpaid invoices
Figure 1: Total number of unpaid invoices

It is fairly common for patients to just forget to pay for treatments and walk straight out of the practice leaving invoices unpaid.

Firstly your practice should aim to ensure this doesn’t happen, so make sure the front desk does their best to coax them over to pay for their treatment.

Unfortunately this can’t always be avoided and you end up losing money for that month. Monthly ratio of unpaid to paid invoices is a very important KPI to stay on top of, because quite simply if invoices aren’t getting paid or are getting paid late you are missing out on revenue for that month.

An invoice timeline report is a really straightforward report that can give you a quick understanding of how much you are invoicing and how much revenue you are missing out on due to non-payment. The stacked bar graph is perfect for this, as it gives us a very easy to understand view of the proportion of invoices that are unpaid (Figure 1).

By regularly updating the invoice timeline and reviewing it you can set goals for the practice such as ‘no more than X% of invoices should be left unpaid each month’. If you are looking for the quickest way to raise monthly revenue, chasing down these unpaid invoices is it.

Open treatment plans (OTPs) with no future appointments scheduled

Every practice has a fraction of patients who cancel scheduled appointments that are part of an ongoing treatment plan, and frustratingly these appointments are not rearranged.

This KPI is directly related to ongoing patient wellbeing, as the work is often essential to maintain their dental health. It’s much more simple and cost-effective to generate revenue from existing patients rather than trying to acquire new patients, so with that in mind you should aim to ensure all patient treatment plans are completed. This KPI can become difficult to track due to the sheer volume of patients you deal with, but it is essential to manage this area as effectively as possible.

For this report, simply track the number of OTPs with no future appointments scheduled each month and plot it as a line graph. This will give you a sense of your team’s performance in reducing the OTPs without booked appointments and allow you to set a benchmark for future improvement.

When drilling down into the data of the report it should become apparent which patients need to be contacted. Patients lead busy lives and completing treatment plans will be very beneficial to them, so don’t be afraid of repeatedly following-up. Communication can be made via SMS, email, phone calls or even letters, although the data we have at Dentally shows that SMS consistently drives the highest patient engagement.

New patients per month

Figure 2: Total number of new patients
Figure 2: Total number of new patients

There are two very important reasons to track new patients per month:

  1. A healthy practice has a steady stream of new patients to replace those that leave
  2. Empty chair time needs to be filled by new patients.

New patient numbers can be difficult to track, but fortunately most practice management software can report this. The KPIs to look out for are ‘total number of new patients per month’ and ideally a breakdown on the patient’s method of payment, NHS, private or DPAS Dental Plans etc (Figure 2).

Capitation plans overview and audit report

Capitation plans are a sound way to generate predictable and sustainable revenues through the year. However, the challenge is to tightly manage which bands your patients are segmented into to make sure you are providing value for money to your patients and charging them appropriately.

The capitation plan audit report is extremely valuable in negating the difficulties with maintaining correct patient banding. Specifically, the audit report provides data on income from a specific band, per hour of occupied chair time by patients in said band. When this hourly income is monitored for all the bands, you can easily adjust the practice pricing for each band to ensure you are generating enough income and being fair to the patient.

Furthermore, the audit report can highlight patients that are occupying the wrong band and need to be moved. This is extremely useful for the practice as incorrect banding can cause issues for practices and patients alike.


Reporting is essential to keep your practice on target for the year to come. Understanding key metrics that relate to business performance gives you a good indication of your practice’s health and can enable you to set goals for the practice staff to aim for, which can then be tracked. These KPIs and reports allow, at a glance, everything from tracking of invoice payment for the year to your team’s efficiency at completing treatment plans, making sure your practice income is sustainable for many years to come.

Dentally is a beautiful and functional dental practice management application that enables practices to take control of their data to drive new insights and improve patient care. Built with modern web technologies, Dentally is based in the cloud so your data is right there when you need it, wherever you need it. Take a tour and book a demo today at

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