What Top Performing Practices Know About Analytics That You Don’t

Wondering what it takes for your medical practice to reach true financial success? Two words: data collection. A top performing medical practice can be defined as one that achieves profitability, month after month. Not only to pay the bills but to invest in the right people, proper clinical tools and business assets to maintain their financial success. Here's what these practices know about analytics that you possibly do not.

What Top Performing Medical Practices Do Differently

A 2012 report from Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) titled "Performance and Practices of Successful Medical Groups: 2012 Report Based on 2011 Data," uncovered what top-tier medical practices did differently than their underperforming counterparts.

The best performers exhibited a few key traits: data collection and internal benchmarking.

The important news is that it's possible for you to do the same with your medical practice - here are a few tips on how to leverage analytics to revitalize your medical practice.

Metrics Your Practice Should Measure

Of course the key is to measure your practice against industry benchmarks but how do you know where to start? Comparing your practice is only helpful if you are using the right metrics. Your medical practice won't stand a chance if you are concentrating on metrics that don't really matter.

Make sure that the data you will rely on to assess your performance supports your objectives: profitability and patient satisfaction.

Some useful metrics to benchmark include:

  • Patient visit times
  • Accounts receivable (A/R)
  • Charges and visits per physician
  • Net collection rate
  • Ability to collect payment quickly
  • Staffing costs and
  • Total operating costs

Each of these measures provides great insight into how your practice is running today. If you aren't benchmarking your practice in these areas, I strongly suggest starting.

Document Processes to Lower Operating Costs

The financial success of your practice also hinges on how productive and effective your internal systems are. Optimizing back-end business processes like billing, collections, contracts, and even hiring and compensation can result in lower operating costs overall.

Once you evaluate the most effective way to get tasks completed, document each process so it is done right, every single time.

Better performing practices know that documenting processes and building standardized operational processes across their practice helps not only identify gaps that exist, but also helps them improve on processes over time.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself today:

  • Are you investing in your staff for ongoing learning and education?
  • Do different processes exist for each provider?
  • Are collection policies documented?
  • Does your practice have a set financial policy that is followed for every patient?

Recognize the Need for Continuous Improvement

The common thread among top performing practices is that they prioritize surveying patients. Why? Because discovering how satisfied patients are with overall experience and quality of care is truly beneficial - what works today, may not work tomorrow and the only constant in life is change.

And what's the point in measuring your net collection rate if you are consistently losing patients? 

By routinely evaluating your operations and asking for feedback from patients, you can identify areas that need improvement. Top performing practices share those communications with physicans and staff because they recognize the need to continually adapt, learn and grow.

Continue to Track Progress

In the interest of keeping your medical practice on the pathway to profitability, you need to keep up with the analytics. External benchmarking can be an excellent way to quantify your progress against the objectives you set for yourself.

While you may have satisfied or even outperformed your internal benchmarks, measuring yourself against the industry's top performers could uncover that there is still work to be done. But be sure to investigate the most relevant external benchmarks - without the right context, there is no use in measuring or comparing.

Top performing practices achieve financial success by focusing on key attributes that allow for prosperity, positive patient outcomes, and continuous improvement of operations. All of that is gleaned from data, and the analysis of it.

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