Perhaps the most important number in your dental practice is that of your active patient count, or your active patient base. This number could be the difference between a profitable and an unsuccessful dental practice. With the importance of this number, it’s surprising to discover that most dentists don’t know the number, or even an estimation, of the active patients they see in their practice.
Your active patient count is the number of patients you see in your practice over a specific time period. The time period can vary from practice to practice, but is usually anywhere between 12-24 months. This count will include any patient seen for any reason in your practice. This number will allow you to determine the success of your practice, map the near future success of your practice, and determine staffing needs.
One of the best reasons to purchase an existing practice over starting up your own practice is the ability to acquire the current active patient base. You may be purchasing a dental business, but the patient base is the most valuable asset that goes along with your purchase. The primary reason to purchase an existing practice is to acquire the active patient base. A new dental practice will acquire patients, but it can take around 5-15 years to develop a dedicated patient base. By purchasing a practice that already has these patients in place, you’ll see instant and consistent cash flow.
There are three simple ways to calculate your current active patient base. The first, and the easiest, is with specialized computer software. However, we know that not all dental practices have this technology in place. Second, you can physically count the charts of patients seen within your specified time period. Third, you can pretty accurately estimate the active patient base by conducting a partial chart audit and using this sample to estimate the total number of charts.
CTC Associates wants to see your dental practice succeed! For tips on what to look for when buying or selling a practice, or for help on calculating your current active patient base, please contact CTC Associates today!