Does tracking metrics help our practices? Yes!
Metrics are an integral part of every clinician’s life.
Why? I’ll sum it up in one word: Objectivity.
Metrics give us an objective view of our practices. Metrics tell us the results of our work. Without metrics we are telling ourselves stories and sharing anecdotes without gathering real data upon which to celebrate our successes, discuss our challenges, or to make decisions. Tracking our numbers helps us with our budgeting, our ability to identify when to hire more staff, and when to double-up our efforts because we are not making ends meet.
None of us can stay in business without measuring our profit margins. At the most critical and yet the most basic level of measurement is practice profit. Without ongoing profits, we are out of business. On the way to achieving profits, there are metrics we can measure on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to ensure that we are being as productive and profitable as possible.
Practice Metrics: Which numbers should we track? And what do they tell us?
Most clinicians know immediately how many client visits they’ve had each day. However, many clinicians do not know how much money was made for a single visit. Tracking practice metrics helps us make better decisions as practice owners. The better decisions we make, the better our outcomes and the better our practices can perform.
The following chart will help you determine which metrics your practice will benefit from tracking. At my practice, we tracked all of these numbers because they helped provide clarity and support for our decision making. The Automated Practice, Chapter 7, speaks further to this.
|Metrics: Numbers to Track||What these numbers tell us|
|Percentage of Utilization||
|Visits per New Patient||
|Cancellation and No-Show Rates||
|Revenue per Visit||
Metrics are relative to our past performance, our current goals, and to our projected future goals. Metrics are also relative to a reference point such as industry averages, or such as our own practice’s prior measurement of the same tracked item. For one practice, a cancellation rate of 20% may be good because the prior month, the cancellation rate was at 35%. It is all relative to the practice being measured.
Also, numbers in one part of the country might be producing profits for the practice while those same numbers in more costly areas of doing business might not be making the practice any money. Again, it’s all relative to the practice being measured.
We can only compare ourselves to ourselves and where we want to go and we can use industry averages as a way of determining where to start if there is nothing to compare to but very quickly, within a couple of quarters you’ll have your own dataset. It is important to have specific targets and specific expectations so you know what to measure and what your critical metrics and key performance indicators need to be. Identifying specific targets and expectations and establishing metrics lets you know whether you are achieving your goals or not.
Metrics as an Employee Coaching Tool
Without numbers to measure and establish as ongoing metrics, and without clear definitions of position expectations, how do you and your team members know what they are doing well? And perhaps falling short upon?
Most people want to know how they are doing both qualitatively as well as quantitatively. Practice metrics provide quantitative information so that individuals and the entire team know what is working well, what is working moderately well, and what needs immediate attention and improvement. As a practice owner, you can coach employees to ever greater successes by sharing the practice metrics, explaining what they mean, explaining more effective ways to achieve improved metrics, and celebrating the arenas in which the metrics are showing success.
With the clarity that metrics can bring to performance achievements, you can engage team members in meaningful ways about their accomplishments and about their areas for improvement. Remember to look at three or more weeks of data to identify trends in accomplishments, improvements, and areas that may still need to be addressed.
Pearson’s Law is cited in many business sectors. It says “That which is measured improves.” In other words, if we are looking for improvement in individual and practice performance, we need to measure what is happening. Pearson’s Law goes on to say “that which is measured and reported improves dramatically.” Meaning that if we track our practice numbers and don’t share the information with team members, it is unlikely that we will see improvements. Team members want and need the metrics and tracked information so that they can participate in their own success and in the success of the practice.
Do I really need to track numbers and measure metrics on an ongoing basis? Yes, if you want to stay competitive, stay in business, and grow your business!
Ready to create a practice dashboard to track your numbers and to explore your vision for evolving your practice? I’ve made it dead simple and have even automated the dashboard process in an easy to use app. Let’s get into a discussion. I’d like to hear what you have to say. If you’d like to have a conversation, please fill out the Owner’s Profile.