A friend of mine was checking the KPIs and Me article and giving feedback when she mentioned how difficult it can be to get orthodontists to understand the value of increasing absolutes at the expense of diminishing relative or even irrelevant measures. To demonstrate her excellent point, allow me to ask you…

Would you rather start 20 cases a month with a 99 percent conversion rate OR start 100 cases a month with a 65 percent conversion rate? Hopefully the answer to this comes easily for you. Let’s try again. Would you rather start 20 cases a month with a 99 percent conversion rate or start 25 cases a month with a 40 percent conversion rate? A little tougher to choose right? I mean that’s a lot of extra work and a lot more non-starting new patients you have to weed through for just a few more starts right? Who wants to deal with that? Plus it’s pretty sad when you can only start 4 out of 10 new patients isn’t it??

Let’s try the same question with a different subject. Would you rather start 25 cases a year with a 99 percent collection rate for the life of those contracts or start 100 cases a year with a 90 percent collection rate? Easy right? What about this one… Would you rather start 20 cases a month with a 100 percent collection rate for the life of the contracts or start 25 with a 95  percent collection rate? Tougher call right? There’s work involved in collecting from non payers and that takes effort and employees right? Easier to just make sure you only allow in people who you know will pay you right??

What do you think about this? What were your answers here? Are they the same as they are in real life? Do your actions bear out what you say you believe? I sincerely hope you chose option B in every scenario above but severely doubt you did (or if you did then I doubt your office operates in this manner). We see it a great deal – orthodontists lose sight of the goal and the real KPIs and chase conversion rate or collection percentage over number of contracts and dollars collected. That’s unwise in almost every possible way and my friend’s point in her comments on the KPI article! Think about it and do what it smart not what everyone else does!

What’s the point of these extreme examples? They are only to make a point. Obviously you’d rather have better than a 40 percent conversion rate and probably will – but you’re still better off with more starts and even a much lower conversion rate. What we see in practice and what my friend was alluding to is that many times we help people vastly increase their volume of starts and make a ton more money but all they can focus on is that their conversion rate and their collection percentage dropped by a couple points! This is as silly and crazy as it is commonplace. Don’t be that orthodontist who loses sight of what is important to focus on what everyone else who isn’t doing volume worries about. It’s easy as long as you don’t get trapped in the ortho groupthink that is so common these days.

You got this!

PS And by the way the trap about having to have effort and employees mentioned above… don’t fall for it. You have plenty of employees with plenty of time to collect that money if you just decide to make it happen and follow up daily.