Make Sure You’re Tracking and Analyzing Your New Patient Referrals

Learn how to use Dentrix tools and reports to know where your new patients are coming from and make sure your advertising campaigns are successful.

Dental practices acquire new patients from many different sources. Some offices use advertising mediums such as flyers in the mail, or ads in magazine or on television. Other offices rely on referrals from existing patients and other doctors. Some practices have advertising campaigns, which can include visiting local schools to promote dental hygiene or taking tasty treats to local businesses. Regardless of the method your practice uses to attract new patients, it’s crucial that you track the success of those campaigns because there will be a financial investment required, and your office will want to track the return on your investment.

First, make sure that a referral source is being entered for every new patient that schedules an appointment with your practice. Dentrix has a setting in the Office Manager which requires a referral source be entered so that entering that information can’t be overlooked when adding a new patient into the Family File, or when scheduling a new patient appointment in the Appointment Book.

Once referrals are being entered for each new patient, you can analyze the data on a monthly basis using the New Patient Summary in Dentrix Reports. The New Patient Summary is a comprehensive report which not only provides referral sources for the new patients seen during a specific time period, but also includes other valuable information:

  • You’ll see the patient’s ZIP code and their age, which helps you to understand the demographic that your marketing campaigns are appealing to.
  • The report also displays the total dollar amount of the patient’s treatment plan and the total dollar amount of completed treatment. This indicates how much production the new patients are bringing to your practice and how much treatment is being accepted by those patients.
  • You’ll also see payments made by both the patient and their insurance.
  • You can view the patient’s next appointment, so you can see if these patients plan to return to your practice and continue with any recommended treatment.

When you generate the New Patient Summary, I suggest that you subtotal the new patients by their referred by source. When you select this option, Dentrix will sort the total number of new patients, treatment diagnosed and completed, and payment information by referral source. With this information, you can effectively evaluate which referral sources are the most successful for your practice.

For patient referrals that come from existing patients or from other doctors, you may want to send a small gift as a thank you for those referrals. This is especially important for specialty practices that rely on referrals from general dental offices. You can track gratuity given to referral sources in the Referral Analysis. That way you’ll have a record of what gratuity was sent, when you sent it, and the value of the gratuity.

Acquiring new patients is important for practice growth. There are many ways practices attract new patients. Regardless of the method your office uses to gain those new patients, it’s very important to track how new patients are being referred to your office and which of your advertising campaigns is the most successful. That way you’ll know which are a good investment and should be continued in the future.

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By Charlotte Skaggs
Certified Dentrix Trainer and The Dentrix Office Manager columnist

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for over 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at