Today we’re gonna be talking about tracking for success. So is your practice on track? What stats should you be tracking? Are you tracking or aren’t you?
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Hi, and welcome to another episode of To The Point. I am Dr. Nell Smircina with American Acupuncture Council, and let’s go to the slides. Today we’re gonna be talking about tracking for success. So is your practice on track? What stats should you be tracking? Are you tracking or aren’t you? What’s really interesting about this topic is I would say out of the practitioners and students that I coach when we talk about stats in clinic or stats in their practice, over 90% don’t track anything.
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So the little bit these nuggets that you’re going to get out of the presentation today, you’re already gonna be way ahead of the game just by going over these three top things that you wanna make sure you’re tracking in your business. So really things to think about. Like I said, most of practitioners out there, at least in the acupuncture industry, are unfortunately not tracking things.
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This can be really problematic because not only is it not allowing us to be really intentional with what’s going on in our practice, but how are we comparing how we’re doing? If we’re growing? There are a lot more things than your bottom line revenue that we need to be looking at because it’s one thing to say, Hey, I need to bring in more income every month.
But it’s very different when you then wanna dive into where is that revenue coming from? Is it mostly new patients? Is it returning patients? Is it supplement sales? If you’re not really sure, then that’s gonna be really problematic when you are trying to decide what steps you wanna take next to continue growing your practice.
So the first thing you wanna think about is are you tracking to begin with? If you’re not tracking, why is that? Is it because you’re just not sure what stats you should be tracking? Is it because we get so swept up in the day-to-day, which is entirely possible, especially since most of us start out as solopreneurs.
You are the only one who is working all of the levers in your business. So I wanna help with some of those. . Maybe why not today And give you just some really easy things that you could take away and say, all right, this feels really feasible for me. I can at least get started with these three things.
And if you are tracking, that’s awesome. I just told you the stats on people I talk to, how often people are not tracking in their businesses. But if you are tracking, what are you tracking? Is it again, just that bottom line what comes into your practice? Is it the top line when it comes to sales before you take out all of your expenses?
Because what we’re looking at from patient count perspective and revenue can make a really big difference in the decisions that we make. So I absolutely want you to be looking at your finances. We need to budget, we need to plan accordingly. But when it comes to those first steps to take for what we’re gonna track when it comes
Two patients. Let’s take a look at these three today. So the first one, . I’m new. How many new patients are you bringing in? We wanna talk about you and your practice. So we’re gonna close up by saying how important it’s to talk to colleagues and how important it’s to compare you to you. But if you brought in four new patients last month, we wanna do better than that this month.
If you brought in 40 patients last month, we wanna see how to do better this month. We wanna start tracking these things so we can make informed decisions, not only when it comes . To how well is the practice doing, but we wanna talk about capacity. When is it important to bring on another practitioner?
When do you need to bring on office staff? When do you get to the point where you say, Hey, I’m doing too many patients. I don’t have time to run the back office at this point, and somebody really needs to help me. And the first easy one to do is just tracking the amount of new patients that come into your practice.
And I really like to look at this on a weekly basis. If you’re, just getting started with it and that feels a little overwhelming. Monthly is great as well. But really to have that weekly check-in and say how many new patients this week. What’s also great about tracking things is you start to identify trends.
When I had my practice and that was in la it was very, seasonal. I had a lot of parents in my practice, so people would be going away during the summer, they’d be going away during holiday breaks. And you need to be able to plan for that and start to see trends. But when are your new patients coming in?
How many new patients are coming in? Is the main thing that you wanna start with? The second thing is looking at return patients. Now I’ve seen this tracked a couple of different ways where I think it’s most meaningful for you to take something really tangible out of it and say to myself, wow, I really learned something from this process.
How many of those new patients are coming back? That doesn’t mean, all right, what percentage of my patients are returning patients? I think when you first start tracking metrics in your practice, you wanna look at . It could also be referred to as your conversion rate. So you have a new patient. How many of them are turning into a patient with an active care plan Who’s coming back for that next treatment?
That’s really important to know because if we look at that kind of staying at the same level, I. That that’s not improving. We wanna then be looking at, okay, what are ways that we can improve that conversation around why someone needs to go from that initial consultation and exam into an active care plan?
And so we can’t really start looking at what are the main things that cause that performance to increase if we don’t know what that baseline number is. So we need to know how many new patients are turning into return patients. And again. Get grounded in a weekly cadence of this. You can just look at a few things per week and that will start to give you a few metrics that make it really evident what’s going on in your practice, and you can always go from there.
I. All right, the last one with all these numbers this is one people don’t often think about, but it’s very important when you’re looking at planning your income and predicting out what your scheduling is going to look like. What is the average number of sessions that a new patient. Who then gets into an active care plan?
What does your active care plan session wise generally look like? And depending on your specialization, depending on the amount of days that you practice depending on, if your cash or insurance a lot of these things shouldn’t make a difference in this number, but realistically they do. It’s a little easier to have a conversation with a patient who’s paying with their insurance that they need to come three times a week.
Maybe that’s not as easy when you’re in a cash practice. I will say, and I’ve done shows on this before, I think that management of expectations and that communication is critical. You need to be telling your patients first and foremost what is best for them, what’s best for their health. And you can always come back to, okay, that’s not feasible for you.
Then this is how we can adjust. And then if that’s not going well, you can revisit. This is why I said this is what the frequency should be. But you need to look at what is that average number of sessions that you are prescribing someone as part of a treatment plan. Is it six for an additional an initial round?
Is it 12? Is it 10? So that when you know how many new patients am I bringing in and that what percentage of those patients are coming back and what is the average number of sessions that those returning patients are going to be engaged in? That really allows you to plan things ahead of time. So you start to see those trends in when new patients are typically coming and the activities you’re engaging in around that.
You get to see, all right, this is my conversion rate. This is who I’m bringing in as a new patient who then becomes a returning patient who’s engaged in an active care plan. And then, okay, what does that care plan look like? Now that they’re converted, and I know that . 50% of my people or 80% of my people are going to be engaged in an active care plan if I know that’s generally sessions.
Those three things allow me to plan very well and have a really good baseline for starting to look at my practice and how it’s doing, how it’s growing and when I need to bring on more help. . Again, like I said, the majority of people are not tracking. So if you just start with these things, you’re really going to have an incredible opportunity to be ahead of the game, like ahead of 90%
Of the practitioners that I talk to just by starting these. And you wanna compare you to you. So I think sometimes when we’re at the beginning of practice or when we’ve been stuck at a particular cadence and we’re trying to grow out of that and not be at a plateau, it can feel a little challenging.
We can play that comparison game with other people. It is important to measure growth. Also U to U. So if you were doing four new patients last month and you’re doing eight new patients this month, maybe that is not the same cadence as the acupuncturist down the street who’s been in practice longer.
But that’s a huge increase. That’s a 100% increase. So we should be excited about that and be able to then look at that and say, okay, something’s working. What are those things that are working? And also this can be a very isolating profession. So you wanna ask your colleagues, you wanna see are other people tracking things, what’s been really helpful for them?
People who are able to convert most of those new patients who do consultations or exams into returning patients. What are things that they’re doing? So really trying to leverage the people around us and create that support system is key. I love talking about this stuff. And this is always fun bringing you guys these bite-sized nuggets for your practice.
But if you ever have any more questions, please feel free to reach out to me at aac and don’t forget to tune in next week for another episode of To the Point. . .