Business Rants Diabetes

Measuring metrics properly to increase revenue

Most physicians are not business people, so running a business is hard. Most physicians just want to see patients and leave the business side alone. I have outlined some of the things we have done in the past and what we are doing currently in our office to increase revenue.

We have to start with measuring stuff. What “stuff” are we going to measure? Questions to ask before you start measuring things are:

Can I make a change to what I am measuring?
Can I measure it on a regular basis?
Is this measure a leading indicator?

If you can’t change what you are measuring, what’s the point? Key message to this point is that what you are measuring can be changed quickly. You don’t want to measure how many people like your EMR. You can’t change that.

You also need to measure things that are ongoing. You don’t want to measure how the clinic waiting room feels. You can’t measure this over and over again on a regular basis. Just one time is probably good enough every several years.

A leading indicator is something that starts everything. The opposite is a lagging indicator. The lagging indicator is the end result of what you are trying to accomplish. So, a leading indicator is where did this originate? You don’t want to measure how much collections you have every day. This is the end result of what you want. You want to measure things that are leading up to this.

Here are some examples of what we are doing:

We are tracking how many phone calls we are making and how many are making appointments from several lists that we have generated from the EMR. The “not seen since” report. This is a report of all patients with diabetes that have not been here in six months. The second report is a “no show” report. We are tracking daily and weekly appointments made by doing this. This will eventually lead to patients coming in and lead to collections. This is very easy to track daily and weekly. This is easily changeable. I can reduce or increase the number of people we call. We can get more staff involved if needed.

A second example is voicemails left at the end of the day. This is also easily measurable. Also easy to change by hiring more staff or changing things around within the phone tree. This is a leading indicator to patient satisfaction. Patients hate leaving a message, so we strive to reduce the number of voice mails everyday and try to make sure that patient are talking to people when they call.

We are measuring where our patients are coming from. Most patients leave this blank or ignore it on their new patient form. We are having staff ask this and make sure we get this information. We then put this into a spreadsheet. Now we have a list of referring doctors, friends or family, internet, insurance or something else. Now we can focus our marketing on these metrics that we measure. The key is that after you market, follow up on this spreadsheet to see if it made a difference. This will help you focus your marketing.

We are monitoring quality metrics for our diabetes patients.

Long time ago when patient portals where starting out, we wanted patients to start using the portal and our end result was having patients make appointments via the portal to save staff time.

Another major take away is to involve your staff. Let them come up with the solutions. I tell them what we are measuring and why. Then weekly or monthly, we get together and ask them for solutions. You will be very surprised with what they come up with. They are on the front lines, so listen to them.

I have no marketing or business degree of any kind, but these are some of the things that worked for me in the past and I’m sure I can improve on it, so let me know if you have any suggestions or let us know what you have done in your practice that worked.

Rakesh Patel
Houston, Tx

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