Owning a practice in today’s competitive world is challenging. Growing it is even harder. With endless obstacles, from managing insurance collections to competition on virtually every street corner, the industry is more complicated than it’s ever been. That’s why I say that the ‘devil is in the details,’ or in this case, ‘in the data.’ Your practice data holds all the information you need to effect positive change in your business, but getting to it – and making sense of it – can be a major challenge. Fortunately, there are readily accessible tools and resources that can turn the chaos into opportunities.
Practice information is critical to managing the challenges and creating successful strategies. But you still need to bridge the gap between ‘having the data’ and using it to make smart choices in managing your business.
STEP ONE: CHOOSE THE RIGHT METRIC
First, ECPs need to determine which specific metrics from their patient data are the most important and actionable. Practices conform to a wide variety of concepts in terms of regional demographics, medical model, available diagnostic instrumentation and product offerings; what is critical data for one practice may be markedly less important in another. So, identifying what should be measured and having the ability to modify those selected metrics as needed is very important. It’s also critical to benchmark your metrics against prior performance as well as comparing to other practices and national statistics.
STEP TWO: MAKE SURE YOUR DATA IS ACCESSIBLE
The next item to consider is the ease of capturing information. If it’s too tedious to collect the key metrics, then it will be far too easy to procrastinate or avoid altogether. A good dashboard that is simple to review and understand will go a long way toward determining the strengths and weaknesses of your practice as well as highlighting the most impactful opportunities.
Collecting information and structuring it in a usable manner is a big step in the right direction, but converting that intelligence into actions that can change results is truly where the ‘rubber meets the road’. So that brings us to the third piece of the puzzle: using practice intelligence to improve the performance of your practice – implementation.
STEP THREE: IMPLEMENT
If you have identified the key metrics, collected the data and have it presented in a usable manner, and know what is actionable then you’ve reached the stage of implementation. This is the biggest challenge and opportunity. Implementation is also the most time-consuming and rewarding step, as you move through the process of making incremental improvements for maximum profits.
The amount of time and effort you will spend in executing your initiatives makes steps one and two even more critical – your efforts must be spent where they will make the most impact. I encourage you to take the time to evaluate the methods and tools that you use to collect and analyze your practice data. The right tool takes the devil out of the data, and gives you the power to improve your business – and take it to the next level.