It’s Hard to Make Data Lie

In a world that is tracking so much of our daily life, data is being collected almost every second of our lives. I recently purchased a Fitbit. It is designed to track my activity during a day and can even track how well I sleep. I am collecting data on myself every minute of the day. While a little scary, it’s also incredible helpful. I know how many steps I take a day. I try to get 10,000 steps in a day and with the Fitbit, I know how effective I am in reaching that goal. The measurement is precise and it’s impossible to tell myself I reached the goal for the day when my Fitbit actually only says 7,214 steps. Data doesn’t lie.

The same is true in a business like dentistry. When I meet with dental managers, staff and doctors, I train them on Hygiene Recall Rate. This tracks the percentage of hygiene patients that are scheduled for their next hygiene appointment. In almost every case, everyone in the office thinks that just about everyone gets scheduled for their next hygiene appointment. As we look at a 78% Recall Rate for that office, we dig in deeper to see the patients that haven’t scheduled. Someone on the team inevitably points out that someone on the list was scheduled. We then jump into the practice management system to confirm and sure enough, they are not found on the schedule. Data is a great tool to help us confirm what’s really happening rather than relying on what we think is happening.

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