Dr Mark HassedThere is a figure that management groups and dentists trying to look sophisticated like to talk about that is absolute rubbish.

Totally meaningless. Frequently even harmful.

That figure is conversion ratio. It is the ratio of the dollar value of treatment plans accepted to the dollar value of treatment plans presented.

For example if you tell patients about $100,000 of needed treatment and they proceed with $50,000 of treatment then your ratio is 50%. Supposedly the ratio tells how adept you are at communication and ‘positive' changes in this ratio indicate an improvement.

Why is this ratio meaningless? Because it is open to manipulation!

Let's say you want a high conversion ratio. All you do is diagnose a few cheap, simple things that the patient can see as well as a scale and clean. Voilà — a ratio of 100%.

By contrast, if you diagnose comprehensive dentistry for every patient and give them the option of accepting it then your ratio will be much lower. Maybe well under 50% depending on your economic area.

Why is tracking this ratio harmful to your practice of dentistry?

Chasing a high conversion ratio leads you into under-diagnosing. You are under pressure to keep your treatment plans small so as to not spoil your ratio. It puts a little voice in the back of your mind saying “Don't tell Mrs Jones about the implants because she won't accept and it will ruin my conversion ratio”.

So, my advice.

If you currently track conversion ratio, stop immediately. And if you hear a management consultant talking to you about conversion ratio put your fingers in your ears and refuse to listen.

My program for 2017 will be announced next week.

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