Measuring For Success
Jamie Hughes, PECAA’s Director of Business Development, explains how implementing a production tracking and performance benchmarking strategy in your practice can help increase efficiency and profitability. He answers key questions about practice production – or as he puts it, “the story behind the top line.” This article is part of PECAA’s sponsored editorial series, appearing in the October, 2014 issue of Eye Care Business magazine.
Why is it important for the independent practice to measure and track performance?
Practices today are facing tremendous pressure from declining reimbursements, managed care, increased competition, and healthcare reform, to name a few. As practices respond, it is imperative they measure, track, and benchmark their performance along the way to identify and prioritize growth opportunities and also determine which efforts are working and which are not.
What types of benchmarks should a practice monitor on a regular basis, and why?
There are myriad metrics and benchmarks out there. Every practice should decide which ones best fit their needs and circumstances and, as performance, staff, goals, and products change, so can the metrics tracked. If one metric is out of alignment, however, a deeper dive might be needed. From a revenue production standpoint, here are some examples of key metrics to watch: revenue per patient; average optical, AR, and premium material capture rates; percent of sales from freeform lenses, medical services/treatments, etc. That being said, it is critical to keep the pool of regularly reviewed metrics small. This avoids ‘analysis paralysis’ and allows the practice to target specific areas without other metrics becoming a distraction.
How can benchmarking help improve patient care?
If we believe patients deserve better product, expertise, and overall experience than chains or big box stores offer, then production tracking and benchmarking MATTER. Simply put, tracking production helps a practice determine if it is delivering on the central promise of independent eyecare—better care, better service, better products.
How can staff, opticians, technicians, reception, etc. get involved in benchmarking?
Share the data! Most people are competitive, and virtually all good employees care about their own performance and appreciate feedback—both qualitative and, in this case, quantitative. Tracking their efforts against national benchmarks is one way to keep staff informed, engaged, and working to improve performance. Production tracking is also an excellent way to choose performance areas to focus on, set goals, and then incentivize staff for reaching them. It is helpful to have both individual and practice goals.
How does PECAA’s SuccessTRACK | Financial Performance Benchmarking program help the Independent ECP?
The SuccessTRACKsoftware interfaces directly with the practice EHR system via a simple plug-in and delivers easy to use and understand reports covering all key production metrics within a practice. These reports are updated daily, and stats are broken down by individual doctor, optician, and, for multi-site practices, location. The reports are presented alongside real-time national averages for each measured metric. We feel strongly about supporting our members and offering simple, effective solutions—in this case to “Measure for Success.” We have over 150 practices participating in the SuccessTRACK production tracking program. As we add more, the combined data—which all participating practices have access to via their reports—will arguably represent the most statistically accurate benchmarks in the industry.