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Indicators of a Healthy Practice

"Understanding the KPIs that will move your organization forward and finding a platform that delivers those in a clear dashboard is the first step but it can be complicated, especially for medical and dental practices."

By Eric Schulz, MBA

The last few decades have been defined by technological innovations that have made our personal and professional productivity measured in seconds and minutes rather than hours or days. As a result, both businesses and individuals produce colossal amounts of data that can further help provide a glimpse into their well-being. That is, of course, if you know what to look for and how to find it buried in volumes of raw data. The good news is, the right Key Performance Indicator (KPI) producing software can make this undertaking as easy as checking your email. Understanding the KPIs that will move your organization forward and finding a platform that delivers those in a clear dashboard is the first step but it can be complicated, especially for medical and dental practices. We hope to shed some light on the broad subject of KPIs so doctors like you can stop flying blind when it comes to making decisions for your business. Just because yours is among the most difficult of businesses to run does not mean you should have access to fewer insights.  

There are three main KPIs that will give you comprehensive viewpoints into your practice operations and help you move your business forward strategically. They are: 

  1. Lagging Indicators allow you take a look at previous months and years to track periods of growth or loss against the backdrop of past events. You can mix and match data points to obtain a specific picture of which decisions had an impact on profit. In a healthcare practice, this could look like a certain number of patients seen or which procedures were billed for the most in a given period. You can see a compilation of all your demographics and how different trends have affected your patients or the business side of your practice. From there, you can begin to make informed decisions for your organization and set goals for the future. 
  2. Current Indicators show your practice what is happening right now in the moment. It is quite valuable for any business to be able to see how they are doing today so they can switch gears immediately if trends are shifting. These KPIs could tell you information like how many patients were seen today versus the same day last year or how many procedures were performed this month versus six months ago. Getting a clear indication of how your practice is doing in the present instead of working from outdated information will help you catch an issue right away before it becomes a problem. For example, if you can see that billing a certain CTP code is routinely being rejected for payment by one of your payors in real-time, you can fix the error before you miss any more reimbursements.  
  3. Leading Indicators help an organization foresee what is coming down the pipeline based on the data available right now. These KPIs measure trends in your business that create internal benchmarks to predict your needs for future growth. For a healthcare practice, this data may help determine equipment that should be ordered, patient demographics worth marketing to, scheduling opportunities, or upcoming staffing needs. For example, leading indicators could show that bringing another doctor into your practice will be necessary to stay on track with your goals. No matter what or how many objectives you and your partners have for your business, leading indicators will help you uncover tactics to achieve them. 

"...by the time the KPIs are ready to review, the information is already over a month old at best."

Even though they bring immense value to any business model, KPIs are still widely misunderstood and underutilized. Independent healthcare brings extra challenges to this process because dentists and physicians have so many compliance requirements and regulatory guidelines to follow with multiple platforms to manage. Not only do practices have their accounting, billing, and payroll software producing data like every other business but they also have the electronic health records of their patients to include for the full picture. Most healthcare administrative staff are bombarded by the different reports these various platforms produce and the many hours of work it takes to manually input those numbers into a spreadsheet to make sense of the data. Not only is this process a labor hours nightmare, but by the time the KPIs are ready to review, the information is already over a month old at best. You might wonder why not just invest in a software platform that can provide a dashboard of your EHR, Accounting, and all the rest of your data put together in real-time? The answer is, until DataDx developed our platform, none existed.  

Our company was born from the expertise of those working in the field of healthcare who understand the needs of an independent practice. DataDx gives you a user-friendly dashboard of KPIs that help you paint the picture of a successful business. We understand that doctors who own their practice have the unique responsibility of being a good business owner and an even better clinician simultaneously. Every minute that a practitioner doesn’t have to make educated guesses in the guise of business decisions with limited and outdated data, they are able to focus on patient care. That is why DataDx took on the challenge of empowering independent physicians and dentists with the KPIs to answer their business questions immediately rather than months later when it is no longer relevant. You deserve every innovative tool possible to give you an advantage with some of the most important work there is; healthcare. 

As the first SaaS available for independent practices to bring together all their platforms into one dynamic dashboard, DataDx is always looking to improve their products. We have equipped our software with features like anomaly detection so that you can trust your data and are hoping to expand our usefulness much more. In the future, we hope to bring more functionality like the ability to check your days cash on hand (DCOH) which is a feature unseen before in healthcare practices. DataDx is committed to expanding our KPIs so that independent physicians and dentists thrive for generations to come and we are just getting started.  

With over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry, Eric Schulz is recognized as a healthcare leader who is committed to organizational development, improved services, cost controls, and operational efficiency.  Eric received his Baschelor of Science from University of Oregon and a Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management from OHSU. He also servces as Adjunct Faculty for OHSU and Portland State University teaching healthcare executives in both the MS and MBA in Healthcare Management programs.

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