Now, if you are anything like me, the words key performance indicator make your blood run cold. You can almost feel the stupor of the corporate world descending upon you. It is often the very thing that most people wanted to avoid by becoming a healthcare practitioner. However I would ask that you look past the words and consider how these can help your practice.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are just that, indicators that tell us how we are performing on the things that we think are important, or key, in our practice. As such you will probably find that you are already using KPIs in your practice, but perhaps you don’t realise it.
For example, every time you assess a patient you are using KPIs. Things like range of motion, visual analogue scales, health questionnaires. All these give us data upon which we can make decisions about the effectiveness, or not, of our therapy.
Our practice is no different. If you are in business you will have some KPIs whether you know it or not. They may be quite basic, like “do I have enough money in the bank to pay my staff today?”, or complex statistics that you extract from your clinic management software. To actively set a course for success in your practice you have to measure your progress, and make sure you are measuring the right things.
For example you may decide that you need to measure the number of new patients coming into your clinic. I would agree and encourage you to continue, however you also need to measure other factors. Lots of new patients that cost a lot to acquire that then stay for only one visit may mean that you are actually losing money per new patient. Failing to identify this could lead to the closure of your business and bankruptcy.
Define What You Want to Track
So you need to make a list of things that will help you determine if your business is succeeding in its aims. They can be broad or specific. For example:
- I want to help people achieve the best health they can
- I want my practice to grow
- I want to achieve a certain revenue target.
- I want to have x number of referrals per month from GPs
Now let’s work through this. To achieve point one above I would need to clarify that further. What are the characteristics of someone who has achieved the best health I can help them with? They would be:
- Motivated by their success
- Following your treatment recommendations
- Being proactive
Points 1 and 3 you could measure through outcome measures and health questionnaires in the consultation. You could measure point 2 at an individual level, or you could look at averages within your practice to assess your effectiveness overall. This will give a clearer picture. Statistics you may want to measure are things like:
- Numbers of cancellations and DNAs – high numbers could suggest that you are not educating your patients well enough about the importance of their care, or that the type of patient you are attracting is more disease and symptom focused rather than health and wellness focused.
- Number of people who do not book follow up appointments – again high numbers could suggest a symptoms focus to care rather than health promotion and wellness.
- Patient visit averages – low numbers could suggest that patients are dropping out of care too early. Higher numbers suggest you are educating your patients well about the importance of their care.
From these 3 KPIs you can gauge how well you are achieving your health promotion goals. Your practice management software should be able to provide these figures. If not consider changing to our iconpractice clinic software (click for more information).
So the first step is to take some time to sit down and think what you want to achieve in your practice. Health outcomes, wellness goals, patient numbers, revenue targets etc.
Secondly, think about how you would measure whether you are achieving each of these. Make a list of measurements that you can make and how you would create them. Good practice management software can do much of it for you.
Lastly, create a schedule for generating and reviewing these reports. Don’t make the timeframe too short as you may not get meaningful data from a brief time period. Busy larger practices may be able to look at figures weekly, but quieter 1-2 practitioner clinics would do better looking at monthly data.
Track the figures over time and watch whether you are improving or getting worse. If you’re improving, do more of the same! If things are getting worse, take steps to correct things now. Implement changes, then track the effectiveness of those changes using KPI’s.
Some Key Performance Indicators you should be tracking in your clinic:
- New patient numbers
- Total visit numbers
- Patient visit average
- Average visit value
- Total patient revenue
- Outstanding debit and credit account balances
- Cancellations and DNAs
- Number of patients who do not follow up appointments
- Marketing channel effectiveness
- Cost to acquire a new patient overall and per marketing channel
- Patient visit average per channel
- Average visit value and Total patient revenue per channel