The Medical Group Management Association’s most recent MGMA Stat poll asked healthcare leaders, “Is your practice changing its KPIs/metrics amid COVID-19?” The majority (67%) responded “no,” while 33% said “yes.”
The poll was conducted Aug. 18, 2020, with 472 applicable responses.
Many respondents who indicated changes in KPIs and metrics noted a focus on tracking telehealth and phone visits. Other respondents mentioned updates for productivity, frequency (tracking measures weekly instead of monthly or annually) and care gaps.
Amid COVID-19, savvy practices are changing what they measure and how often they measure key metrics as normal business routines have changed dramatically. Practice managers I work with are asking for dashboard data in weeks instead of months to measure the drop in charges and forecast the resulting change in collections. The type of data practice managers are asking for has also changed.
Better data on your new patients
For example, a July 7 MGMA Stat poll revealed that 55% of healthcare leaders say their organization’s new patient volume has decreased. Fewer new patients for many practices means fewer future surgeries and procedures. With limited appointment slots, concerned practice managers have analyzed historical data to find which new patients are most likely to need future procedures and have tried to prioritize them.
Consider capturing your 2019 new patients by rendering provider, referring physician, practice location, primary insurance, ZIP code and more. Look ahead to see how many patients in each category had a procedure and how soon after the new patient visit the procedure happened. If, for example, you discover that Dr. Jones’ patients are twice as likely as Dr. White’s patients to have a procedure within 90 days, you might prioritize Dr. Jones’ patients when allocating new patient appointment slots.
Similarly, a May 21 MGMA Stat poll indicated that 55% of healthcare leaders reported more than a 50% decrease in ancillary service volume since COVID-19. Gather similar data for 2019 as you did for new patient procedures and look for ancillary charges:
- Which providers, referring physicians, etc., were more likely to result in an ancillary procedure?
- Which providers had the fastest time between patient visits and ancillary procedures?
As practices maintain social distancing and reduce patient volume in the clinic, maximizing total revenue from those appointments becomes increasingly important. To understand how your revenue totals measure against comparable practices in your specialty and region, using benchmarking data (e.g., MGMA DataDive Cost & Revenue) can ensure you’re keeping pace with the market after returning to pre-pandemic levels.
Better decisions on measuring productivity
Practices are also focusing on productivity. Many other industries are dramatically increasing work-from-home arrangements, a difficult task for most medical practice employees. Since medical practices have a smaller percentage of staff working from home and those staff are typically some of the lowest-compensated staff in the practice, measuring productivity may not be as focused as it should be.
Pre-pandemic 2019 data is helpful here, as well. Compare historical data about charges entered, claims posted, appeals made, phone calls returned and more. Ensure that staff working from home are as productive as they were before, even if daily hours and work routines may have changed dramatically. The last thing a medical practice needs is for patient visits to decrease and then have the billing office slow the revenue cycle down even further.
Would you like to join our polling panel to voice your opinion on important practice management topics? MGMA Stat is a national poll that addresses practice management issues, the impact of new legislation and related topics. Participation is open to all healthcare leaders. Results of other polls and information on how to participate in MGMA Stat are available at: mgma.com/stat.