Owning or running a medical practice can be quite the task. After a full day of achieving positive clinical outcomes for your patients, you might not have enough spare time to apply the same level of detail in understanding how the rest of the practice is performing. If left unchecked, this may have an impact on your practice profitability over the longer term, which could potentially affect staff.
This is where key performance indicators (“KPIs”) can come in handy. They provide you the power to identify and interpret issues within a business at a glance, making the ability to address these pain points as they arise a much more straightforward task.
As mentioned in Part 1 of this blog series, the KPIs you plan to use should be tailored to ensure the practice’s goals are achieved and maintained. These are the essential items of your practice, not just what others in the industry are measuring.
In this part of the blog series, we have provided four KPIs focusing on the practitioners of the practice. By spending a little time on calculating these metrics each month, they can assist in the financial management of a practice.
Average Consultation Time
A non-financial statistic, that when used in conjunction with other information can provide unique insight on a practice or practitioners patient list. Your practice more than likely views the success of a consult as one where the patient left the practice armed with more knowledge than he/she originally had as well as a potential method of treatment. To ensure this is done correctly, doctors must spend time diagnosing the symptoms before providing their options of treatment.
If you are driven by using the medical practice as a profit-making business, you may think a larger average consult time is poor for profits as there are less patients to bill. More patients give more opportunity to bill; or does it?
To calculate the average consultation time of an entity (be it a doctor or a medical practice), write it as Average Consultation Time = Total time providing patient consultation / number of patients seen. The KPI can be applied across a whole practice or on a doctor-by-doctor basis.
The results from this KPI when used in conjunction with other related results may surprise. You may find that those shorter consultations are not achieving the same levels of financial gain that can be achieved with a larger consult. You may also discover by comparing with other non-financial KPIs that the level of success in patient outcomes may decline with the drop in average consult time. It is the flexibility of an indicator such as the average consultation time that makes it so valuable to be aware of.
Gross Income per Doctor
A metric to gauge the financial worth of a practitioner, the gross income per doctor is a KPI to measure the overall success in a doctor’s billings over a period of time. To use this KPI, simply sum the income earned from patients seen by each practitioner across the period which you are looking.
In isolation the use of this information could be misleading – a doctor working a 40-hour week with a full appointment book will always look better than another doctor working a 21-hour fortnight, even if they are inundated with patients. The key to using this KPI and most KPIs within this guide, are how they are interpreted by you and other users, as well as what insights are drawn as a result of that interpretation.
To take this KPI a step further by using the two doctors example mentioned above, use the Gross Income per Doctor results and divide by the number of hours worked in a week. This will give the average hourly income per doctor and indicates how efficiently a productive hour of the doctor’s time is converted to income.
Number of Consults per Doctor
Yet again, this indicator may sound simple, but can be used to calculate more complex information with the addition of time periods and some maths formulas.
To use this KPI, simply sum the total number of patients seen by each practitioner across the period of time you are looking.
All other things being equal, a doctor with a lower number of consults may not be pulling their weight. By creating a league table between practitioners, this metric can look at the beneficial effects of advertising on a practice and its doctors and provide an achievable goal for those practitioners to aim for.
Practice Operating Capacity
Determining the operating capacity of the practice is an important metric to understanding the overall wellbeing of both the practice and its patients. Results from this KPI can be affected by any number of internal or external causes, including administrative delays, issues related to the number of available practitioners, or patients selecting the wrong appointment type during booking.
Practice Operating Capacity = Amount of time spent seeing a patient / Rostered availability for appointments with patients
If used in collaboration with another metric like the average patient wait time, a practice manager can discern the impact of his/her decisions on providing administrative resources that may potentially affected the capacity and efficiency of the doctors and other practitioners within the practice. A lower capacity may mean reception staff are unable to effectively manage the front desk and wait room, resulting in
dissatisfied patients waiting for longer than they need and minimising the opportunity for a doctor to engage with each patient’s needs.
A lower capacity may also be caused by patient-borne issues relating to rescheduled and cancelled appointments. Doctors waiting for no-show patients are not able to utilise their time effectively. If systems are put in place to strategically engage patients with pre-visit reminders, then the rates of no-show and delay appointments has be reported in certain literature to drop by as much as half within a few months.
In one of the KPIs above we mentioned the use of benchmarking and you may be wondering what that is. Benchmarking is a snapshot of your practice’s current performance and compares where your practice sits in relation to a selected industry or regional standard. Finding results to benchmark against is a little simpler in an industry such as medicine, with the assistance of RACGP and clinical benchmarking applications including the Canning Tool.
That is all for this particular blog post. Keep a look out for Part 3 of this blog series to read the final selection of KPIs we recommend you look at implementing in your practice.
If you have any questions, or would like to learn other tactics to gain a deeper understanding of your business, please contact us today.