Blog: Keep an eye on meaningful metrics in the new year

December 26, 2018

The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of

The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM.

Every year we celebrate the great things that were accomplished at our practice while thinking about what can be done for the next year.

We are at that point again. As we look at our practices, there are several things that we want to make sure we focus on, as well as things we are keeping an eye on.

But we would also like to hear from you what metrics mean most to you.

Revenue per eye exam
One of the most tracked metrics in eye care is revenue per patient metric. Take the total amount of collected revenue and divide by the total number of eye exams.

This metric shows what is occurring within eye exam ODs conduct. It shows how well you are doing in your optical, the number of medical encounters, the success of contact lens conversion as well as the volume of private pay versus insurance exams.

Previously by Dr. Brujic and Dr. Kading: How to accelerate success through goal planning

The more revenue an OD collects per exam, the higher overall revenue will be.  Although this number will vary geographically and depend on the type of practice, we have heard that most practices find between $350 to 400 is normal.

However, it should be the objective of every practice to increase this number to a target above $600.

Revenue per encounter
Divide the total revenue collected and by the total number of encounters seen.

This metric has become favored in many medical offices because it speaks more to the amount of money made with each encounter seen.

It can help practitioners with determining their chair costs. Revenue/encounter helps ODs see the value in maximizing every moment they are seeing patients.

While revenue per exam highlights the exam encounters, this metric places emphasis on every visit, whether it be for contact lens follow-ups, exams, medical visits, or quick refraction checks.

If your revenue per encounter is low, consider looking at what services you are giving away, if you need to see patients for those types of encounters, and whether you should be charging more for those types of visits.

Perhaps you are undercoding your visits and collecting a small amount for some medical visits. Practitioners who value revenue per encounter look to complete as many things as they can in one single encounter.

Related: How to calculate the value of your practice

Again, this number has many variabilities, but we often hear this visit type is $150 to 250.  A target should be at or above $350. 

Distinguish between patients
Revenue numbers vary depending on the age of a practice. However, it is important to consider the number of patients returning to the office.

Ideally, 100 percent of the patients you saw last year should see you again this year. But that doesn’t always happen. If the patients who did not see you last year or two years ago come in this year, they should be considered established patients.

The percentage of established patients compared to the total patients from the prior year should be 90 to 100 percent in order for the practice to grow. If new patient percentage of total patients sits at 15 to 35 percent, it shows that you are still relevant.

More than 30 percent of total patients would ideally be new patients. But if that trend continues and you are seeing established patients at a high percentage, you may grow too fast to handle - which is a great problem to have.

Wrapping up
These numbers are a few of the metrics that we like to track. We use a management software to track our numbers, which helps with accessing them easily.  As you look to the next year, we are curious what metrics you find to be most useful in your practice’s growth.

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