Leonard – “What are some of your KPIs?”
Dentist – “What is a KPI?!”
These are two questions I come across regularly with dentists – through no real fault of their own.
Many aspects of the business side of being a dentist – either as an Associate or Principal – are rarely mentioned in dental schools.
However, the problem exists, that as soon as you qualify, you are expected and need to be able to operate as a financially viable, self-employed dentist.
So, I have decided to note some of the main areas surrounding KPIs.
What is a KPI?
A Key Performance Indicator is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives.
As an Associate dentist, think of yourself as being that company.
The same obviously applies to practice Principals.
In most cases, you are self-employed and self-indemnified.
A helpful way to think of how you operate is to consider how you work your business, within another business (the practice).
Why you need them?
Put simply, what gets measured, gets managed.
No two ways about it.
And you absolutely have to use numbers.
Results/progress must be recorded with actual objective figures, not subjective feelings.
Remember – targets and goals (whilst being an entire topic on their own) are not necessarily fixed or to be used as a stick to beat yourself with.
But you do need to have something in mind you are hoping to achieve.
The real question is, just what is that?
It’s important to sit down and think firstly, what do you need to earn?
Remember this can change if weddings, mortgages, babies, etc. come along.
Then what would you like, factoring in holidays, cars, etc.
And finally, allow yourself to consider what would be really nice.
Now, this is an important point…
Always measure against where you were, rather than where you are trying to get to
i.e. monitor the progress you have made / are making.
You need consistency when you receive your pay each month.
Be SMART about your KPIs
One way to evaluate the relevance of a KPI is to use a SMART framework.
In other words:
I use this outline for each KPI I have.
What should you have as KPIs?
Below is a list of some examples of KPIs that Associates, and Principals, should consider:
Now, once you have your KPI and initial numbers to measure in place, it is important to continually review these figures and consider what they demonstrate
(Again, so much to cover with how each KPI is relevant – we'll keep that for a separate topic).
For example, if you suddenly start losing patients.
Or do you need to aim higher in terms of hourly rates, gross fees etc.
This may also highlight ways that you can better optimize your appointment diary.
For example, I always prefer to carry out my larger treatment (crown preps, endos etc.) early in the day and keep the afternoon for recalls and families, especially after 3pm when school is over.
But that is what works best for me.
I am definitely a morning person!
KPIs also allows for any changes to be picked up early and handled much more efficiently.
Before they have time to snowball into much more urgent problems.
I know, these are not always the most exciting aspects of dentistry.
But gaining a solid understanding of them will leave you so much better equipped to perform at your absolute best.
Trust you found this a helpful topic, albeit not a very glamorous one!
Dr Leonard J Maguire
BDS MFDS RCSEd MFGDP MDTFEd AFFMLM LL.M MBA PG Cert Med. Ed. CMgr MCMI
General Dental Surgeon
Co-Founder of The Dentists Academy
- “TheComplete Business Toolkit for Dentists in General Practice”
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