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Is Your Active Dental Patient Count Really That Important?

By Choice Dental Solutions, Jul 5 2018 01:00PM

If you’re a dentist, there’s a good chance you read articles all day long proclaiming that active dental patient count is the single most important statistic that indicates the success of a practice. However, is that really the case? Here’s what you need to know about active dental patient count and what it can mean for a practice.

What Is Active Dental Patient Count?

The active patient count is the total number of patients you saw in your dental practice over a set time period. Depending on your practice, the time period might slightly vary, but it’s generally 1-2 years. This patient count includes any patient seen for any reason, not just people seen for cleanings or fillings. This number is a baseline for the health of your practice, financial success, future success and staffing needs.

If you purchase a practice, you are also purchasing the active dental patient count and the opportunity to retain those patients. A patient base can take 7-15 years to build, on average, so purchasing that base is a serious value to you.

Calculating Patient Count

There are three simple ways to calculate this number:

1. Using practice management software

2. Physically counting the charts of patients you have seen within the specified time period

3. Conducting a partial chart audit and use the sample to estimate the total number of charts

The Role of Active Dental Patient Count in a Practice Purchase

The active patient count represents an instant and ongoing cash flow coming into the practice. The dollar value that is assigned to all of the active patients is called goodwill, and it’s typically one year’s adjusted net practice income. This can be worth far more than just the dollar value since these patients will return to your practice and immediately give you a base to start from.

The Role of Active Dental Patient Count in Practice Management

The active patient count is one way to calculate the potential of a practice. For example, an active patient base of 1,000 patients spending $450 a year would gross receipts of $450,000. The normal attrition rate is about 17%, as patients move, pass away and insurance changes. Active patient count also allows you to see what staffing needs are. Most hygienists can see 10 patients in a day. If you have far more patients who need to be seen than hygienists, you should hire additional staff.

Monitor Your Active Patient Count with Choice Dental Solutions

Are you looking to expand your practice? Give Choice Dental Solutions a call at (410)773-4460.

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