Patient Loyalty - Foundation to Dental Practice Growth

Kiltesh Patel
June 8, 2016 | 3 min read
Patient Loyalty - Foundation to Dental Practice Growth

The new dental practice often gets so caught up in patient acquisition and paying monthly bills to meet the ends, that they often miss a critical aspect of developing patient relationship for continuing growth of a business, i.e. patient retention. 

Most new dental practices often will ask about features of cloud dental EHR and dental practice management software but will ignore the importance of patient relationship and loyalty at the beginning.

Let's look at why patient relationship and loyalty are critical for a startup practice and must be measured from the start.

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Let's start with a simple example of a new dental practice acquiring 20 to 40 new patients per month to explain why patient loyalty is extremely important aspect of future success. 

Assuming an average of 30 new patients per month for a 12 month period.

30 patients x 12 months is equal to 360 new patients in a year.

Next, include patient attrition rate of 15% to 20% for a new practice, which most experts agree on. At 20% attrition rate, you'd be losing about 6 patients out of 30 each month, that is 72 patients out of 360 in a year.

Now, let us introduce the revenue of repeat patients. For simplicity, we will only assume production of repeat hygiene procedures, which expects patient returning for care every 6 months. However, in real-life, quite a few repeat patients will have larger production value.

Assuming a repeat revenue of $125 for hygiene (adjust for your average production).

Total revenue of repeat patient is $36,000 for a year, i.e. $125 average hygiene revenue per patient x 288 patients.

Let us consider, revenue for the lost patient.

This is a lost opportunity of $9,000 in revenue for a year, i.e. $125 avg. hygiene revenue per patient x 72 patients that did not return to the practice. 

Let us factor in the cost of customer acquisition. The marketing spread to acquire a new patient requires a wider net without segmentation, which is very costly. Most experts calculate this cost in the range of $50 to $300 per acquired patient.

Considering lowest acquisition cost of $50 per patient multiplied by number of patients lost, i.e. 72, we end-up spending $3,600 on these patient.

Hence, we not only lose $9,000 worth of production but also $3,600 spent on marketing. Add, the loss of potential high worth procedures to it. 

More immediately, it looks like we could have paid month or two month worth of rent, utilities, etc. Expensive, isn't?

However, lets re-think in terms of a Life Time Value (LTV) of a dental patient. Assuming a $1,000 LTV, a quite conservative estimate but should be good enough to explain the magnitude of a problem, we lose the potential revenue worth $72,000 for these 72 lost patients. Further, add multiple years that the patient retention is ignored and now, imagine how continue much that grows.


In a nutshell, patient retention rate is extremely critical for the growth of a new dental practice, which must not be ignored from the beginning. The improvement of 5%-10% from the rate of 20% loss can garner large returns and strong growth over few years. 

There are many types of patient retention software available in the dental market to manage the patient loyalty, which can help address these issues from onset, which will assist in developing strong active patient base. But with tab32, you get the features of patient retention as part of a practice management ecosystem that helps you run an efficient, profitable practice.

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