Why Your Practice Should Care About Key Performance Indicators
When it comes down to it, a medical practice is a business, and it should be run like one. The era of being able to stumble into running a successful practice is in the past. With more and more large hospital systems and corporate practices than ever, every doctor’s office must operate with their bottom line in mind.
Now, running like a business does not mean that caring about your patients becomes less important – to the contrary! The more efficient your practice is run, the better equipped you will be to provide quality care to each and every patient that walks through your doors. All that this talk about business means is that your practice must measure and manage itself based upon performance in certain key areas of your business model. This is where Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) come into the picture.
A KPI is a quantifiable measure that can be used to determine how well company goals are being met. They normally measure intermediate processes and activities and can signify future trends and offer insight into how you can improve. There are many ways to go about creating, setting, measuring and monitoring KPI’s for a medical practice, and you just need to find a way that works for you.
If you are confused, or this seems like a daunting task, there is no reason to get overwhelmed – your practice can start slow. Choose a couple of manageable KPI’s to begin measuring monitoring on a monthly basis. We recommend thinking about the main stages of patient interaction that occur during an appointment to choose those KPI’s. After all, patient appointments are at the center of medical practice operations.
We break a patient interaction down into 5 main steps:
- Before the appointment
- Making an appointment
- The waiting room
- The exam
- Check out
Following check-out, the process begins again. The final KPI category you should track is overall practice profit. When you look at that list, does one step stand out to you? Maybe that is an area where you think you could stand to improve, or you really do not have any information about how you are doing. That is a good indicator that you should choose that as your first KPI to track.
By using KPI’s, you will collect the information required to determine and explain how your practice will progress to meet its business goals. KPIs help you understand if things are headed in the right direction—and if not, where changes needs to be made so that the outlook can improve. No matter what you measure, a KPI’s one and only goal is to help leadership in your practice improve overall organizational health. Think about it like taking the vitals of your medical practice so that you can see what the treatment plan will be.
Once the KPI’s are decided upon, assign one person to take ownership of that KPI. They will monitor and report what happens. With just a little bit of research, or help from a practice optimization organization, practice leadership can set an optimal target to measure success against. Once a target is set and baseline data is collected, you can define small and achievable goals to improve your metrics (take a look at this document about how to write SMART Goals if you need help).
Measuring and monitoring KPI’s is only the beginning (and if you want more information on the importance of measurement, download our guide “Measurement Breeds Improvement”).
The information that your KPI’s provide will display deficiencies that you can now address. There are a multitude of practice solutions that address all main concerns that practices face, so it just comes down to choosing the right solution for you. For more information on both KPI’s to track and solutions to common issues associated with them, download our guide Prepare for Success in 2019 and subscribe to be alerted when our next blog posts!