Recapture Lost Dental Revenue

January 2023 |

Using your practice management software, it’s as easy as 1‑2‑3.

Is your dental revenue on track? Dental income should represent about 3% of annual practice revenue, according to industry benchmarks, yet many veterinary practices do not hit this mark. In fact, a veterinary economist recently reported that, on average, practices lose about $200 per patient per year in unperformed dental services.

How can you recapture that revenue? The key is inputting, understanding and acting on the data in your practice information management software (PIMS), says PSIvet Sr. Manager of Education Melissa Wendt. “PIMS can be hugely valuable to a veterinary hospital,” Wendt says. “It all depends on how aggressively the hospital is willing to use it.” The majority of veterinary hospitals take advantage of very few features in their PIMS, she adds.

Take three simple steps to recapture lost revenue using your PIMS.

Step 1

Create consistent markers.
First, determine standardized codes and terminology for the entire practice to use. “An infinite amount of potentially revenue-generating information can be gleaned from PIMS,” Wendt says, “but if practices are not putting information into the system in a functional way, then they’re not going to be able to utilize the data effectively to generate revenue.”

Most PIMS can pull information based on markers entered by your team. “The trick is consistency,” says Wendt. Create a system so that every team member who inputs care recommendations or other information into the PIMS is using the same terminology, she recommends.

Say you want to market dental care. You might try targeting all clients with pets over a certain age. Consistent markers in your PIMS will allow you to pull a much more efficient and targeted marketing list. “When you have the correct notation in the computer, such as grade of periodontal disease or gingivitis, you can pull for that specific marker and micro-target those clients—saving the practice time and energy by marketing only to people whose pets need care,” says Wendt.

Step 2

Run reports.
PIMS can help your team follow up on doctors’ recommendations for dental services. “Pulling reports from your PIMS on which recommended services were never completed can be a real eye-opener,” Wendt says. Exactly how you run these reports depends on which software you have, but all PIMS allow for this kind of data tracking using specific parameters when fixed codes are entered into the software.

Some PIMS offer a compliance assessment tool that helps practices financially quantify missed opportunities and highlights additional care opportunities based on individual patient histories.

Step 3

Ready, set, track.
Make a list of dentistry-related goals. Decide which you’ll focus on first and set timelines for each. Goals might include a certain number of dental assessment and cleaning appointments, X-rays taken, packages of dental diets sold or dental wellness plans activated for pets over age three. Keep in mind that marketing is usually a long-term process that requires multiple forms of communication, including direct mail, digital messages, phone calls and in-person recommendations.

Once your goals are in place, use your PIMS to generate reports detailing which clients have not yet responded to your marketing efforts, Wendt advises. Then set up a marketing calendar to schedule a series of follow-up reminders for nonresponding clients. Every time a client declines or postpones a service, that information should be entered into the PIMS.

You can further track reminder efficacy and response rates by the method the marketing messages were delivered (email, text, print or phone), Wendt says. This will help you determine which communication methods are most effective with your clients.

Need Help Getting Started?

Put data in the driver’s seat to recapture lost dental revenue. If you’re interested in getting more functional data from your software, contact your PSIvet Practice Consultant.