Why are practice trends important?


Simply put, trends are a key analytical tool in helping to identify and confirm the patterns that are vital to your practice.  Representing your most important metrics, trend lines can be compared and measured against one another over time.  In the end they tell an illuminating story about the health of your busy practice and help you to fine-tune and maximize your plans for success.

Here’s a real-life example so you can see this concept in action. In a recent analysis of the practice data of one of our members we looked at three key performance indicators:  unique client visits, revenue per unique client visit and practice revenue.

Notice the September spike in unique client visits and the dip in revenue per client (see charts below).  This really stood out from the norm and we knew there had to be extenuating circumstances that caused this anomaly.  When we probed a little further with the practice manager and looked at the data in context, the story emerged.

We asked the PM if she could figure out what could have caused this jump in visits and corresponding drop in revenue per visit.  She told us that the only out-of-the-norm occurrence that month was that one of their DVMs started her maternity leave.  We asked her if they had brought in a relief vet, and it turns out that they hadn’t.  As a result, the other doctors ended up having to pick up the slack from the DVM who was out.  Each doctor took on additional cases etc., which led to the decline in average revenue per visit.  Why? The doctors didn’t have the optimal amount of time to spend with each patient and were unable to make as many recommendations as they normally would have.

This is a classic example of how tracking, analyzing and managing the reoccurring trends in your practice will not only help you to clearly predict the bumps in the road, but will guide you to growth. In this particular case, advance planning for adequately staffing the practice during the maternity leave would ensure that the practice continues to thrive and grow!

Of course this kind of key learning about your practice’s trends will influence many other business metrics.  For example, business-building initiatives such as new client acquisition and lapsed client reactivations can be planned and implemented with a more critical eye to maximizing service levels and profitability.

Take a look at your latest Practice Overview Report. Does your practice have trends that you have learned from? What questions do they answer or problems do they address?

Charts -Why trend lines are important

(Click image to enlarge)

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