The ADIA third quarter dental practice business conditions survey results are here:
The current quarter
This quarter’s survey results saw a marked decrease in the number of patients seen by dentists across the nation. Numbers dropped from 60.9 to 51.1 in the last three months. New patient numbers also saw a similar drop from 60.9 to 52.3.
Dentists are attributing the changes to an increase in dental practices creating price wars.
As one survey respondent said: “Oversupply of dentists and increasing number of new clinics and community centres treating private patients for lower prices as their purchasing prices for materials is cheaper since they’re buying as a public clinic” is affecting patient numbers.
Sentiment on numbers for patients funded by government programs saw an even larger drop, going from 48.7 down to 36.9. Respondents ascribed the negativity to a lack of education on the continuation of government programs. In particular, the CDBS, due for completion in December 2015 is still available but many parents may be unaware.
The sector was also slightly disappointed with vacant appointment times that many said seem to becoming longer. However, those that had decreased vacant time found their best weapon was advertising.
Product purchases were on the up-and-up for this quarter, regardless of dropping patient numbers. This is likely a result of this year’s ADX Sydney.
What’s to come
For expected patient numbers—both new and existing—practitioners are mildly optimistic. Though of course numbers are expected to drop as students return to school.
Respondent’s opinions varied quite widely with one finding that their “books are already at capacity,” while another sadly thinks “my business is going downhill. Eventually we’ll have to close down.”
In the current climate of fear created by dismantling of the CDBS the numbers for expectations on patients funded by government programs are down sliding from 45.1 to 38.4.
The respondents’ answers were placed into a statistical model that rates sentiment on upwards or downwards pressure—measured on an index of 0 to 100. With 0 being entirely negative sentiment and 100 being that the sentiment is entirely positive. An index reading of 50 indicates stable conditions.