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    Nate Moore
    Nate Moore, CPA, MBA, FACMPE

    The latest MGMA Stat poll asked medical practices what they use for revenue cycle analytics. More than half (52%) reported they use a pre-built report from an EHR, whereas: 

    • 19% said they use a custom or third-party report 

    • 17% said they use Microsoft Excel 

    • Another 12% reported “other,” which most respondents used to say they use some combination of pre-built reports from an EHR or practice management (PM) system, custom reports or reporting/data visualization using systems such as Power BI and Tableau. 

    As one practice leader told MGMA, the practice uses “all of the above and more. 

    “Some systems have great analytics capability, but even a system like Epic works with Tableau,” the respondent said. “Many systems allow you to download and manipulate the data. There are some great third-party solutions which allow you to provide analytics which can promote change.” 

    The poll was conducted Oct. 8, 2021, and had 573 applicable responses. 

    If your main source of revenue cycle analytics is a built-in report, how much have your EHR reports changed in the past 20 years? How much has your practice changed in the past 18 months? Think about moving past traditional charges, payments and adjustments data to look more proactively at your revenue cycle.  

    With the pandemic playing havoc with appointments and scheduling, consider looking for reports that track future appointment availability, unfilled appointment slots or the percentage of new patient appointments that lead to surgeries or procedures. Also look at claim denials for revenue opportunities at the opposite end of your revenue cycle.  

    If your primary source of revenue cycle analytics is a custom or third-party report, like 19% of respondents, how long has it been since you revised your logic or your approach to this data? More practices are adding cost data to dashboards and distributing dashboards more frequently as practice operations fluctuate with the pandemic. Longtime MGMA Stat users may recall an Aug. 19, 2020, poll that found that one in three healthcare leaders changed their practices’ key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Ask yourself: More than a year later, are you reviewing and responding to the right sets of metrics? 

    The key to sharing those dashboards more frequently is automation. Anything you can do to reduce the number of reports you have to run, cut, paste and assemble makes it easier to send reports more frequently. Time saved preparing reports leads to time available to analyze and act on data. 

    If Excel is your main tool to analyze your practice data, like 17% of correspondents, invest in upgrading your Excel skills. Time spent learning new Excel tricks pays back with every report you analyze. Pivot Tables are a great Excel skill to learn. They make it easy to sort, filter, group and drill down to better understand trends in your practice. 

    If you are familiar with Pivot Tables, jump to Power Pivot and the Excel Data Model to go far beyond Excel’s million row limit. Power Pivot also adds several time intelligence features to help you see your data better over time.  

    No matter how you have been analyzing your revenue cycle, changes to practices’ finances and operations in the past 18 months have demanded more from savvy practice managers. It is time to require more from our dashboards and reports. Start by looking for ways to automate your reports and enhance your reporting skills. Use the time you will save to learn new reporting tools and drill deeper into your practice data.  

    Start earlier in your revenue cycle analysis by data mining your appointment data. Properly explored, appointment data has a wealth of information that shows where your practice is headed. You can then act, rather than react to financial opportunities.  

    Look to the end of your revenue cycle, as well. A March 16, 2021, MGMA Stat poll revealed that 69% of responding practices saw denials increase in 2021, by an average of 17%. It is time to go to work. No matter how you have been analyzing your revenue cycle, there has never been a better time to rethink your metrics, your tools and your whole approach to revenue cycle analytics. 

    Do you have any best practices or success stories to share on this topic? Please let us know by emailing us at


    Our ability at MGMA to provide great resources, education and advocacy depends on a strong feedback loop with healthcare leaders. To be part of this effort, sign up for MGMA Stat and make your voice heard in our weekly polls. Sign up by texting “STAT” to 33550 or visit Polls will be sent to your phone via text message. 


    Nate Moore

    Written By

    Nate Moore, CPA, MBA, FACMPE

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