Using Big Data to Drive Big Decisions and Grow Your Group of Dental Practices

With technology becoming more present in the delivery of healthcare services, more data is being collected than ever before. Playing a huge role in the future of dentistry, Big Data is becoming more important to measure the quality of care provided to patients.

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t change it” is a famous mantra in business, and something Mortenson Dental Partners is taking to a whole new level.

At the 2018 Scaling Up event in Louisville, KY, November 14-16, Dr. Will Engilman, President of Support & CIO, and Corby Ewing, Director of Projects and Analytics, provided attendees an in-depth look at the analytics Mortenson Dental Partners uses to drive business results and improve quality of care for patients.

Historically, common measures in dentistry have been new patients, production and accounts receivable. Today, there is more data available than at any time in history. Utilizing it can help create an even deeper understanding of your dental business. Now, through a sophisticated data aggregation and analysis system, Mortenson Dental Partners is using data to change how they operate.

A few highlights from Dr. Engilman and Corby’s ‘Analytics: Using Big Data to Drive Big Decisions’ presentation include:

  • Measuring the Patient Experience and forecasting future patient flow based on patient feedback.
  • Optimizing payer networks and predicting the accuracy of fees allowed for procedures.
  • Are practices scaling their operations to provide the optimal patient experience at the right operating cost?

Measuring the Patient Experience:

The business of dentistry is built upon having patients in the dental chair, and ideally, a healthy mix of new patients and loyal patients. One of the best ways to predict the behavior of both is through the feedback of your existing patients. Through the net promoter score (likelihood that existing patients will refer friends and family to your practice), a dental practice can evaluate their patient experience and use that metric as a leading indicator of future appointments. 

Promoters not only reappoint at a better rate, but they are also more willing to tell others to come to your practice as well. However, the detractors are not to be overlooked. Detractors are equally as important because they are providing feedback on how to make the experience better. Teams should connect with detractors to learn more about their feedback and to see if there is an opportunity to make the situation better. When detractors feel heard and have their issue resolved, they can turn out to be more loyal than promoters!

Optimizing Payer Networks:

For dental practices that accept a variety of dental insurance plans, knowing and understanding how claims are paid is critical. There have been many changes in the way payers partner together, how fee schedules are determined, and what networks are best for providers to participate with. Knowing your insurance mix is the first step, but beyond that, knowing what networks and partnerships your payers are in is the next step to truly maximizing your efficiency.



Business Scale:

The analysis of staffing statistics is one way Mortenson Dental Partners can evaluate each practice’s operations to determine if they are scaling in proportion to the care delivered. By comparing staffing hours to dentistry produced in the office, the chart below illustrates an “optimal” scaling relationship, offices on either side of the line may have an opportunity to improve operating efficiencies or care experience. For your organization, how do you develop general guidelines for measuring scalability that are consistent from practice to practice and easily measured over time? Comparing labor and dental care completed is one way, but there are many others that work as well.

These are just a few highlights from Dr. Engilman and Corby’s ‘Analytics: Using Big Data to Drive Big Decisions’ presentation. The deep dive into data analytics has given Mortenson Dental Partners holistic, objective tools to measure performance and results. Connecting data points in a cross-functional way has opened up the organization to innovative solutions and fostered a sense of ownership among all team members in the organization. It has added a layer of accountability to each role and the personal development of each team member in the organization. And most importantly, these analyses have improved the care and experience teams deliver to patients every day.

Mortenson Dental Partners is the largest employee-owned DSO in the country, operating over 138 dental practices in nine states, and host to the annual DSO conference, Scaling Up Group Dental Symposium. The 2018 event brought together hundreds of dental professionals for two days of learning and idea sharing, and hosted over 350 attendees representing 66 dental service organizations and 2,310 dental offices from 30 states.

Save the date for the
2019 Scaling Up Group Dental Symposium
August 21-23, 2019 

Registration will open soon. Stay tuned to Group Dentistry Now for
registration information, the complete agenda, and the speaker list!

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