Triangulate the Issue

Triangulation uses multiple known points to determine the exact position of an unknown location. When looking at opportunities within a practice, it’s important to use multiple known pieces of information to identify the root cause of the problem. Information can be misleading when analyzed in isolation. Sifting through the mounds of information from a practice management system is overwhelming. It’s vital to know what to look for and how to use related pieces of information.

Here’s a good example—why is my utilization low? Utilization identifies how well operatories are being used, or in other words, how often a patient is sitting in the chair. If utilization is low, then why? There are several possible reasons but figuring out which reason is driving utilization lower requires triangulation. There are several questions that need to be asked to diagnose the problem. Some questions include: – How is utilization in Hygiene versus Restorative? – What is the Hygiene Recall (or Reappointment) Rate? – How many exams have restorative treatment plans? – What is our new patient flow? – How many patients are we retaining? All of these questions help lead down a path to understanding what drives utilization. Looking at one of these questions in isolation will not provide a sufficient explanation of what’s happening. Triangulation helps clarify the problem and identify how to fix it.

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