When it comes to owning a business, on top of the day-to-day workload you're in charge of making the big, high-level decisions that will impact your practice over time. But, in order to make the right decisions you need to be well-informed on the performance of your practice, how performance has changed over time, and the steps you can take that will lead to better performance in the future.
The ability to analyze data is becoming an increasingly important skill. For large corporations, analyzing data can be a full-time job, but for the important data in your optometric practice you should be able to keep regular tabs on your practice data with a little set up. A simple excel sheet with calculated formulas will make it easy for you to plug in the numbers and see how practice performance is changing. Today we want to look at three different metrics we think are important for practices to measure over time in order to implement important changes in the future.
3 Optometric Practice Metrics You Need to Analyze in Your Practice
New Patient Growth
When it comes to practice growth, the rate at which you are bringing in new patients is critical. For the average practice, a new patient growth rate somewhere between 8-10% is pretty good performance. But, a lot of this also depends on the maturity of your practice. Newer practices will typically be striving for a higher new patient rate than an established practice.
Do the Math: (Number of Patients This Year - Number of Patients from Previous Year) / (Number of Patients from Previous Year) x 100 = Patient Growth %
Building a stronger new patient growth rate will likely come down to the marketing you're implementing in your practice to get the word out and create awareness. Here are a few ideas to get your practice thinking about how to improve this metric:
- Invest in SEO for your website
- Sponsor a community event
- Grow your social media communities
- Encourage word-of-mouth referrals
Optical Capture Rate
Once you're getting new patients into your practice for exams, you want them to visit your dispensary to purchase their eyewear. This is where your optical capture rate comes in. Optical capture rate compares the number of patients you give an rx prescription to and the number of patients who fill their prescription in your practice. Dispensary sales are an important piece of practice revenue so keeping up with the industry benchmark of 60% is important.
Do the Math: (Number of Patients Who Filled their Prescription in Your Dispensary) / (Number of Patients Given a Prescription) x 100 = Optical Capture Rate
The rise of online frame retailers could be affecting your optical capture rate. These are a few things we think your practice can do to help educate your patients on why they should purchase frames and lenses from your practice:
- Educating Your Patients on the Cost of Their Spectacle Lenses
- Top 10 Ways to Combat Showrooming in Your Practice
- 2 Minute Sales Strategies for Closing More Frame Purchases
Now that we've talked about generating new patients and your optical capture rate, let's look at a benchmark that relates more closely to OD performance. Chair cost represents the costs associated with providing care to each patient. A lot of factors can play into your char cost so this formula could vary a little from practice to practice depending on what you want to factor info the equation of your fixed costs. In the end, you want to compare your chair cost to the insurance reimbursement you're generating to cover the cost.
Do the Math: (Fixed Costs / Revenue Generating Visits) = Chair Cost per Patient
While the overall goal is for your insurance reimbursement to be higher than your chair cost, we also believe that the current chair cost per exam should be about $150 per patient.
We've got an eBook that covers these three important metrics, plus five more that your practice should be focusing on. Included with the eBook is an excel sheet download to help you keep track of your metrics for easy calculation. Download a copy for yourself today.