ADIA is the peak business organisation representing manufacturers and suppliers of dental products. Our vision is for an industry that empowers oral health professionals to advance the health and wellbeing of all Australians...................... — ADIA Strategic Plan

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Dental practice business conditions stable says survey

Dental practice business conditions stable says survey

14th Sep 16

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Summary —

The most recent edition of the ADIA Bite Magazine Dental Practice Business Conditions Survey suggests current business conditions are stable with slow but sustained growth in patient numbers; however, there is sentiment of strong growth going forward with expectations of a significant rise in the number of patients that a practice will see.

Key Issues For Consideration —

To allow dentists to better understand sentiment on current business conditions and future expectations across dental practices in their state / territory and nation-wide, the Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA) in conjunction with Bite Magazine compiles the ADIA Bite Magazine Dental Practice Business Conditions Survey. Undertaken on a quarterly basis, the survey’s results produce key indicators that assess the commercial environment in which dental practices across Australia operate.

The most recent data from the survey of business sentiment for the fourth quarter of FY2015-16 suggests largely stable business conditions, albeit with slight positive sentiment.  The full report can be downloaded online and the key findings are:

Number Of Patients Seen —

This index provides an assessment of sentiment on whether the number of patients seen over the past three months within a practice increased, decreased or stayed the same compared to the previous quarter.  The national index reading for the quarter was 53.4, providing sentiment that patient numbers were stable, with some minor upward movement and is consistent with the previous quarter’s index reading, suggesting slow but sustained growth over the past three quarters.

A recurring theme amongst survey respondents that reported an increase in the number of patients seen attributed this to being proactive in attracting new business and also engaging with previous patients.  A recurring comment offered was that the introduction within a practice of software-based patient management systems that automated patient reminders about forthcoming appointments and / or reached out to patients not seen in some time was a positive factor in boosting business.  Many survey respondents that reported a decline in patient numbers attributed this to the opening-up of a new and competing practice in their immediate vicinity.

Number Of New Patients Seen —

This index provides an assessment of sentiment on whether the number of new patients (i.e. patients that had not been treated in the practice before) seen over the past three months increased, decreased or stayed the same compared to the previous quarter.  The national index reading for the quarter was 54.1, providing sentiment that patient numbers were stable, with some minor upward movement and suggests slow but sustained growth over the past three quarters.

Survey respondents that provided commentary as to the reasons for an increase in the number of new patients seen stated that it was a direct result of marketing activity, although there was no clear preference in the marketing channel as radio, local newspaper, letterbox drops all received numerous mentions.  An interesting recurring theme was that many survey respondents reported that with their practice having previously experienced a decline in patient numbers, they decided to undertake new marketing initiatives – as one respondent said “the days of waiting for patients to come to us is at an end, we now need to go out and find them”.

The full report also contains sentiment on vacant appointment time over April 2016 to June 2016 (inclusive) along with sentiment on whether the volume of products purchased from dental product suppliers increased, decreased or stayed the same compared to the previous quarter.

Future Business Expectations —

The ADIA Bite Magazine Dental Practice Business Conditions Survey data for expected dental practice conditions for the first quarter of FY2016-17 provides sentiment of moderate to strong growth in patient numbers, with the indices for expectations of the total number of patients seen and the number of new patients seen both recording their highest-ever readings across the survey series.

The ADIA Bite Magazine Australian Dental Practice Business Conditions Survey is produced using feedback from dental practices nationwide and the survey is unique in the Australian context insofar as it is the only quarterly assessment of business conditions.  Further information on the survey and the report (available for free) can be found via the links below:

Survey information and editions —

ADIA Bite Magazine Dental Practice Business Conditions Survey - Homepage
ADIA Bite Magazine Dental Practice Business Conditions Survey - Methodology
ADIA Bite Magazine Dental Practice Business Conditions Survey - Download current edition

This survey and the analysis provided in the report is undertaken by ADIA in order to allow stakeholders from across Australia's dental and oral health community understand business conditions across dental practices.  The survey is undertaken each quarter and the report is made available free of charge.

Member engagement —

ADIA provides leadership, strategy, advocacy and support. Our members set our agenda, fund our activities and directly benefit from the results.  With respect to matters associated with industry statistics, ADIA staff responsible for industry research receive advice and guidance from members serving on the ADIA-BAC Business Affairs Committee.

Currency of Information —

This update was issued on 14 September 2016 and please note that changes in circumstances after the publication of material or information may impact upon its accuracy and also change regulatory compliance obligations.

Disclaimer —

The statements, regulatory and technical information contained herein are believed to be accurate and are provided for information purposes only. Readers are responsible for assessing its relevance and verifying the accuracy of the content. To the fullest extent permitted by law, ADIA will not be liable for any loss, damage, cost or expense incurred in relation to or arising as a result of relying on the information presented here. 


This publication is available for your use under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence, with the exception of the ADIA logo, other images and where otherwise stated. 

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