By DR SIMON HOCKEN
When we analyse a practice, one of the most telling indicators is the practice’s average patient value.
We determine this by simply taking an up to date figure for 12 months turnover (your software will tell you) and divide this into the number of patients that attended during this year. If they have visited three times we just count them once. For example, £500,000 turnover, 2,000 patients, £250 average patient value (the average spend per patient).
In NHS practice it tends to be £60-£100. In private practice it tends to be £200-£450.
I’ve visited several private practices recently where the average patient value is around £250 and this immediately sets off my alarm bells. If the check-ups are around £40, hygienist visits £50 and radiographs £20, then the patients are spending £200 on check-ups, hygienists and x-rays and they are only spending £50 a year on everything else… So, not much on restorative treatment, or any type of intervention.
If you find your average patient value at this sort of level, then I suggest that you get very curious about what might be going on and also what you can do to change it. In the example I’ve given, if the average patient value were to lift from £250 per patient to £325 per patient, the gross lifts from £500k to £650k.
So, if your average patient value is on the rocks, here are five suggestions as to what might be going on in your practice:
- The majority of your patients are healthy and restored and your new patients are similar
- The majority of your patients are healthy and restored and your new patients are similar and both groups have little or no interest in: adult ortho, tooth whitening, cosmetic dentistry, facial aesthetics or implant solutions for their missing teeth.
- The dentists in your practice don’t like providing or are unable to provide: private restorative, cosmetic or advanced restorative treatment.
- The dentists in your practice do not feel confident enough to talk to their patients about restorative, cosmetic or advanced restorative solutions.
- The dentists in your practice only ever treatment plan one unit of dentistry.
You may have picked up from my tone that in my experience, items 3, 4 and 5 are the common problems and the likelihood is that if your practice has a low average patient value, it is the dentists who are the problem, not the patients…
Let me know if you’d like help to fix this.