Operating a medical practice in a manner that is efficient and effective involves a plethora of moving parts. From managing your scheduling system to mentoring employees and ensuring patients receive the highest quality of care, there are a multitude of factors that play into your workflows
As your operations develop from day to day, how can you best see the forest from the trees and vice versa? How can you measure success across a variety of departments or teams without being biased or making assumptions about what your practice’s performance should look like? That’s where the art of tracking medical metrics and a process known as benchmarking is the ace up your sleeve.
By establishing and monitoring relevant metrics for different parts of your medical practice, you can determine your baseline performance and be more informed about how to navigate the future. Keep reading to learn more!
- What Is Benchmarking? Why Is It Important?
- How to Benchmark in 4 Steps
- Track These Metrics to Gain Insight Into Your Medical Practice
What Is Benchmarking? Why Is It Important?
Benchmarking is the practice of creating a standard and comparing something to it in order to evaluate change, whether good, bad, or ugly. The term originates from the field of surveying land where a notch would be chiseled into stone to indicate a “bench” or leveling tool could be used there in the future.
This process of benchmarking can be applied to nearly any facet of your practice—from patient outcome metrics to inventory usage, marketing initiatives, and more—and is a cornerstone of effective medical practice management. While the medical metrics you choose to track might vary from team to team, the process is essentially the same across the board, which helps maintain consistency in reporting.
After all, knowledge is power. If you don’t know where your practice currently stands, then you can’t chart the course forward and create goals built around your determined points of improvement. That’s why benchmarking is so important: it empowers you and your team to recognize current performance and be more informed about what to strive for in the future.
How to Benchmark in 4 Steps
Benchmarking your medical practice can be as thorough or as fundamental as you want it to be; the process doesn’t have to be complicated, though.
Here’s how to effectively benchmark your practice in just a few steps:
- Determine which areas of performance you want to gain further insight into: For example, do you find yourself dealing with a lot of rejected medical claims? Is your practice experiencing a ton of no-show patients? Brainstorm with your team to determine which core areas you want to hone in on.
- Do your research: What numbers should a practice of your size and specialty anticipate seeing in the particular area you’re zooming in on? Performing research can give you context into what figures to aim for; this might look like a simple web search for what an average number of rejected claims should be or networking with other medical professionals to get their perspective.
- Establish your timeframe: Should you check in on these numbers every month, every quarter, once a year, etc.? Understanding how far back to log your sampling and how frequently these metrics should be updated is key to benchmarking in a consistent, effective manner. Bonus tip is to set automated reminders to check on your metrics so that you don’t miss a chance to look into them!
- Create goals for your medical practice: Upon determining your baseline performance and which metrics to track how regularly, where can your practice improve? Where is it already excelling? Celebrate successes but also navigate your team through implementing policies or strategies to address areas of improvement or points of friction in the practice.
These foundational steps to benchmarking can get you and your medical practice staff on the same page now and in the future. Effective medical practice management entails coordinating efforts in a streamlined manner—when everyone’s efforts are aligned moving forward, your practice thrives!
Track These Metrics to Gain Insight Into Your Medical Practice
Benchmarking might feel overwhelming, especially if you’re eager to dig into every single possible metric pertaining to your medical practice. Start with a handful across a few different areas of your practice to establish an overall baseline, then go from there!
Consider these metrics to gain insight into your medical practice:
- How many patients return to your practice?
- How many patients is your practice booking?
- How well do your physicians and staff know your patients?
- How long do patients wait before being seen?
- How many communication options are offered and used by your patients?
- How many patient satisfaction surveys are completed?
- What is the lifetime value for each of your patients?
- What is your cost of your practice operating?
- What is the return on investment for your marketing efforts?
- How many claims get rejected?
- How quickly are you filing claims?
- How many inaccuracies in your claims does your practice have to remediate?
- Which insurances do you accept and do these align with your patient population?
- Who is representing your practice, both in the office and in your marketing efforts?
- What initiatives is your practice developing to best educate your patient population?
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