You can't manage what you can't measure: Jarvis Analytics COO on the importance of dental analytics

The old adage "you cannot manage what you cannot measure" is true in every business, and the dental industry is no different, Melissa Marquez, chief operating officer of Dallas-based Jarvis Analytics, told Becker's.

Ms. Marquez has 20 years of experience supporting dental practice performance. Jarvis Analytics, a software company, partners with practices and DSOs of all sizes. Previously, Ms. Marquez served in operations roles at DentalOne for 15 years, the last two years as chief operating officer of the West Region.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: Why should dental practices track analytics?

Melissa Marquez: The right data and analytics can help practices improve both revenue and patient care. Data and analytics have the ability to help in all facets, from dentists and office managers to large-scale DSOs.

Most dentists have a pulse on their data, but no concrete information. Data-driven dentists can refer to measurements and data when creating treatment plans for patients, such as periodontal measurements, bone height and percentage of tooth structure remaining. Analytics tools allow dentists to make treatment plans customized to their office.

Q: What key performance indicators are vital for dental practices to track?

MM: Most offices and DSOs are regularly measuring basic KPIs, such as production and collection by provider, whether that's monthly or daily. With the rising cost of personal protective equipment and supplies, measuring each patient visit has become more necessary. Must-have KPIs are case acceptance, same-day treatment, patient retention and hygiene reappointment rates. That being said, all practices have different targets, which is why Jarvis has a KPI library to choose from.

Q: How do data analytics in the dental industry relate to the COVID-19 pandemic?

MM: For anyone not tracking practice numbers and analytics, the pandemic has been infinitely more challenging. The ability to make quick decisions as information changes hour by hour is much more challenging without data to guide practices. Our clients can quickly assess their schedules, cancellations and providers to determine which locations to keep open for emergencies and which ones to temporarily close. As practices reopened, they used workflow tools to recapture lost patient visits and create more productive days by focusing on high-value, unscheduled treatment.

Q: What trends have you been seeing, and what trends do you think we may see in the future?

MM: As practices and groups started to reopen, pent-up demand created a production increase for most practices. In June and July, many clients saw some of the highest production months all year. Per-patient visit production increased as patients and providers worked with urgency given the uncertainty of service availability. As we head into the fall, we are seeing groups and practices build strategies for combating a predicted slower fall season.

Jarvis believes that visibility into practice performance is key to driving results at all levels. The ability to forecast future months and recover lost patient visits has become even more important for practices and DSOs that want to take control of their results, and we expect that trend to continue to rise.

More articles on dental:
States with highest, lowest rates of adults visiting the dentist
28 new codes for CDT 2021, including new COVID-19 codes
Top 10 dental, DSO stories in July 

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