Today more than ever, managing a practice is not just about caring for your patients - it’s also about running a successful business. If you lack efficiency, your quality of service will ultimately suffer. To thrive, you need to make informed decisions, but this can be a challenge. As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Without a way to measure relevant financial and operational indicators, you might find yourself relying on educated guesswork. Thankfully, there is an alternative to good guessing: benchmarking -- a strategic management tool that helps evaluate effectiveness and fosters goal-setting.
Essentially, benchmarking provides a snapshot of your business performance and shows where you are in relation to a particular standard. If your accounts receivable are averaging a sluggish 54 days and you’re wondering whether this is normal, benchmarking can show how you compare to your specialty’s average at just 45 days, signifying not only that you’re trailing behind your peers but that a reduction should be achievable. Or, if you find that your patient wait times have increased, benchmarking can help you find the optimal balance between same-day and future appointment openings. Benchmarking can even help effectively manage your successes. Suppose you know your practice is gaining new patients at an astonishing rate. By analyzing this growth will you be able to easily predict whether it is time to hire another full time employee, or if this is just a short-term spike in workload.
So, what exactly should you be benchmarking? In a nutshell, the statistics and trends you need to gather can be broken down into two categories; operational and revenue-related.
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) allocates $19 billion in government funds to encourage the healthcare industry to adopt information technology in the way of electronic health records.
Integrating this technological advance will help medical practices prevent medical errors, cut unnecessary costs, limit paperwork and improve the quality of healthcare across the nation. Both the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs provide financial incentives to eligible professionals who are able to demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology.
For consumers, passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act potentially means new access to healthcare services that may not have been previously available. For providers, implementation of this law requires creativity and efficiency in delivering those new services so that they can temper rising healthcare costs while still providing patients with the top-notch care that they need.