2020 Year-to-Date Performance Lags

As part of a collaboration with business analytics provider, Gaidge, after each calendar quarter and full calendar year the AAO receives and shares with members key metrics compiled from a subset of Gaidge client practices. This subset includes:

● More than 300 single-doctor practices under $1 million in quarterly productivity; and
● More than 200 multiple-doctor practices with up to 10 locations.

The purpose of the collaboration is to aid members with assessment of practice health, short-term and long-term goal-setting and other key practice processes.

Q3 Highlights and Insights from Gaidge

Key takeaways from Gaidge’s 2020 third-quarter report for July 1, 2020 – September 30, 2020 (linked below) include:

● Net production was up compared with the third quarter of 2019: 11.8% for single-doctor practices and 10.9% for multiple-doctor practices.

● Adult exams were up compared with Q3 2019: 17.7% for single doctor practices and 19% for multiple-doctor practices.

● Clear aligner starts were up compared with Q3 2019: 28.3% for single-doctor practices and 24.8% for multiple-doctor practices.

“Several factors might be contributing to those significant increases in the adult category,” says Ryan Moynihan, CEO of Gaidge. “Pent-up demand following re-opening could account for part of the Q3 increase. There has also been speculation about the impact of adults working from home and spending hours every week looking at themselves in Zoom meetings. Some people may not have liked what they saw when they smiled.”

● Child exams were down for Q3 compared with 2019: -7.7% for single-doctor practices and -6.8% for multiple doctor practices.

“Some parents may have had safety concerns about starting their kids in treatment this year,” says Mr. Moynihan. “It is interesting to note, however, that while child exams in July and August were flat compared with 2019, the numbers picked up substantially in September. Since many schools were starting later than usual, the pre-school year boost that occurs in many practices may have taken place a bit later.

“An additional concerning metric from the Q3 report is the ratio of new patient calls to total patient exams,” adds Mr. Moynihan. “The numbers are 241/189 for single-doctor practices and 380/303 for multiple doctor practices. Ideally, the drop-off should not exceed 10 percent. At the 20 percent range and up, those numbers warrant close attention from practice owners. It is not clear what is causing the issue, but it may be that some callers decide against scheduling consultations due to safety concerns. We advise owners to make certain that everyone who calls is informed about how infection control is being addressed in your practice.”

Resources from the AAO that may help practices with these issues include shareable blog posts. Recent posts on the blog at our consumer website, aaoinfo.org, help educate consumers about the importance of orthodontic exams for children and the infection control protocols commonly being used in orthodontic practices:

● “3 Reasons to Take Your Child to the Orthodontist Today

● “What Your Orthodontist Wants You to Know During This Time

● “My Orthodontist’s Office Has Reopened, Is it Safe To Go?

Conversion Rates Are Rising

The third-quarter report also shows an increase in conversion rates. Conversion increased in single-doctor practices by 6.1 points to 70.4% (over 64.3% for Q3 2019). Multiple-doctor practices’ conversion increased 6.9 points to 74.9% (from 68.0% for Q3 2019).

“Some of our clients who are incorporating virtual tools into their workflows are reporting that patients respond well to virtual appointment options, for reasons of both safety and convenience,” says Mr. Moynihan.

“Both before the pandemic and since many practices re-opened, we have also been hearing that people are less likely to be ‘shopping’ at the consultation stage,” says Mr. Moynihan. “They are doing their research online in advance and may already be inclined to choose the practice with which they make a consultation appointment. During the pandemic, those who pursue consultations may also be more likely to be very serious about starting treatment.”

Year-to-Date Performance Lags 2019 Due to Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Gaidge’s year-to-date report for January 1, 2020 – September 30, 2020 (linked below) will contain few surprises for most orthodontists:

● Net production is down as compared with the first three quarters of 2019. Gaidge user practices in the categories outlined above were down: -9.2% for single-doctor practices and -10.3 % for multiple-doctor practices.

● Collections have not lagged so far behind 2019, however: The collection metric showed decreases of -1.9% for single-doctor practices and -4.3 percent for multiple-doctor practices.

“The relatively stronger collections numbers may mean that many orthodontic patients and parents have not been impacted by employment issues and have been able to continue making payments,” says Mr. Moynihan.

As COVID-19, the 2020 election outcomes and other factors that may impact orthodontic practice evolve during coming months, the AAO will continue intensive effort in our unique role as a unified voice advocating for the specialty. As always, development of timely resources and tools for members will also be a top priority.

Click here to access the Gaidge 2020 third-quarter report.

Click here to access the Gaidge 2020 year-to-date report.