Buying a Dental Practice? Tanner Management can help with dental practice transition

6 Must Have Metrics


Six Must-Have Metrics to Request Before Purchasing a Practice

by JoAnne Tanner, MBA

1. Study the Procedure Code Reports

Are you able to perform the same procedures? Can you provide some treatment that the seller was referring out? In addition,  study the ratios of: prophys to x-rays, periodic exams to crowns. Recently, we discovered a seller was taking BWX & anterior PA every 6 months. Since the buyer & most dentists take checkup x-rays annually, we felt that the hygiene production was inflated.

2. Accounts Receivable

Even though you may not be purchasing the AR, we recommend that you obtain the AR aging report including a credit report. Credits are a liability of either money or dentistry that is owed to the patient. In addition, since the seller most likely does not have student loan debt & very little, if any, practice debt, they may be able to afford more lenient in-office patient financing. This is an important management system for establishing positive relationships with your patients.

3. Patient Retention

Of the new patients seen 12 months ago, how many returned to the practice? It’s important for a practice to have new patients, but patient retention is essential to sustained growth. We have seen practices use Groupon, LivingSocial or other social media which may bring in a new patient–but that patient may not return for treatment. You will want to note the first & last visit dates to determine the strength of the relationship.

4. The Hygiene Department

It is essential to determine if patients are being pre-appointed for their next hygiene appointment. You will want to implement systems that will make this a smooth & successful transition.

5. Treatment Acceptance

Generate a pending treatment plan report–this will provide you a list of treatment presented & not completed in the last 18 months. This will also give you an idea of the seller’s treatment philosophy.

6. Understanding Trends

The practice prospectus will most likely give you data for each year. However, we strongly recommend that you obtain each month’s gross production, adjustments, collections & new patients for the last 24 months.

For example: A practice was listed & noted 20 new patients per month. However, when we generated the report we noted 30   new patients in January, 23 in February & 18 in March. By the end of the year, the last three months saw only 13, 15 & 10 new patient respectively (an average of 14 new patients per month).


JoAnne Tanner of Tanner Management is an excellent practice management consultant for dental practices. Her professionalism, integrity, and dedication are second to none. Most importantly, she truly cares about her client’s success. With each area, whether it is working with the marketing/SEO group to optimize the results, the staff with training them on selling or efficiency, or the business plan and strategy for the next several years, to name a few areas of expertise, JoAnne is very knowledgeable and intuitive. Having worked with many different types of general dental practices and all of the dental specialties over many years, she is very resourceful and the consummate professional.

Gerald M. Marlin, DMD, MSD

JoAnne worked with my team and brought my practice to a level of success I never thought I could achieve. I have increased production and net collections by over 24%. Even in these tough times, JoAnne has shown me success is very attainable.

Paul Fillet, DMD, San Ramon, CA

I wanted to thank you again for our meeting. I think it went really well and it would not have been anywhere as effective without you. I really believe you are, as I thought you would be, the perfect fit for what our needs were and are at this time, not a cookie cutter consultant. I know how important it is to keep the positive momentum going and continually working to make it better. Again, thanks for all your help and expertise.

Anne Becker, DDS, Oakland, CA

Very informative! JoAnne is very enthusiastic and knowledgeable on every aspect of dentistry and success in the office.

Today’s Dental Care, Jerome, ID

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