As a dental professional or practice owner, you have likely been contacted by your dental practice management software provider about the development or implementation of a dashboard. Does this leave you asking, “Exactly what data does the dashboard collect and how can this information improve my practice?”
A dental dashboard extracts data directly from the software around such things as: active patient count, number of patients due in a date range and not scheduled for hygiene, provider downtime, revenue by dentists and hygienists, accounts receivables and much more. As practice
management consultants we regularly work with clients developing and implementing practice monitors to assess performance. We’re fully convinced that when it comes to helping dentists and team members improve their practices, this software tool is invaluable. If you currently do not gather or assess practice performance on a regular basis, consider the dashboard as your gateway to real time measurement.
The best route to take before becoming a user is to determine, along with your team members and advisors, the specific data that will be collected on a monthly basis. The dentist who will ultimately review and use the data should define the amount of information. Remember that the most significant value of collecting practice data is not the volume of information compiled, but rather the selective data gathered, interpreted and used. Simply collecting and displaying data in an interesting format has little value.
Once you have this criteria established, communicate your preferences to the dashboard provider along with your willingness to expand the information at a later date. Next, determine who will have access to the dashboard and set aside time to evaluate and discuss the results.
The final step in this process is interpreting the data and creating an improvement action plan. Who and how will the data be evaluated and how often? We suggest assessing the information monthly and examining practice trends over time. Trending information is an asset to anyone managing a dental practice.
To avoid the “hype” factor of being wowed by the sheer volume of dashboard information, focus on the areas of data mining that illustrate if performance is at, above, or below industry norms for your type of practice. For absolute accuracy, you can connect with us to review those specific areas in your practice. We have a unique vantage point at TMFD Financial because we assess practice financial performance on a regular basis, utilize actual client data and calculate industry benchmarks.
Our practice consulting team members also work directly with clients to identify KPI’s (key performance indicators) and train business owners, managers and team members to collect and interpret data directly from the dental software. As an example, one area may be identified to improve over the next month(s) with corresponding actions and resources. Once outcomes show consistent improvement over a three-month period, then another aspect of the practice may be selected and marked for improvement.
If your dental practice already collects and reviews practice performance metrics and KPI’s, you probably find you’re able to utilize the dashboard more readily, especially if the dashboard software replicates the information being gathered. However, some of our clients have shared feedback about feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information being collected. In such cases, we recommend scaling back the data to focus on specific areas of practice management to improve, and then develop an action plan.
For users of QBO (Quick Books Online), a dental dashboard that features this information, allowing clients to view practice and financial performance, is a significant advantage. The breadth and depth of information expands the dentist’s knowledge and – Knowledge is Power!
Whether you have a desire to improve your practice performance, or you’re comfortable with your current results, performance assessment is a necessity. Dashboards provide actual, real-time feedback for owners, their managers and team members, enabling them to make decisions based on factual information. And it’s hard to argue with this fact – the speed and accuracy of the information provided by the dashboard is a real timesaver.
At TMFD Financial we have engaged in thorough research related to dashboard efficiency and value, and will continue to keep our clients updated about new findings. As always, we welcome your emails or calls to discuss the vast benefits of this powerful tool and how it can work for you.
DALE TUCCI Dale is President of Consulting at TMFD Financial. She and her team offer a wide variety of custom practice management services featuring transition planning, business coaching, associate recruiting, marketing and human resources. Dale has a 25 year record of success, trusted by thousands of clients for providing hands-on solutions.