Use benchmarking to take the emotion out of your decisions and increase buy-in

By Shannon Geis, MA
September 26, 2017
Body of Knowledge Domain(s): Operations Management, Financial Management

Comparing your practice to industry benchmarks can be a vital step in making decisions for the future of your organization. But if you haven’t spent much time benchmarking before, it can be difficult to know where to start.

“In order to manage different workflows, processes within your organization, you kind of need to know where you’re at. And the ideal way to do that from an objective standpoint is to look at the data, analyze the data and then compare it against what could be considered a recognized benchmark,” says Greg Feltenberger, PhD, MBA, FACMPE, FACHE, MGMA member, chief executive officer, Idaho Urologic Institute PA, Meridian, Idaho, in the latest episode of the MGMA Small Talk podcast.

To start, Feltenberger recommends doing an assessment to understand where you can get your data — including your EHR, practice management system and billing software — and then extracting that data into a spreadsheet.

Of course, the numbers that are important to you might be different from others. “What are the most important metrics in the practice is somewhat subjective,” says Feltenberger. “I think you could come up with a rather healthy list that a majority of administrators would agree are important, but it honestly could be any type of mixture of metrics depending on maybe a specific initiative or program a practice has.”

Step two is figuring out where you can get industry benchmarks from, such as MGMA DataDive, explains Feltenberger. Once you have your data collected and standards from across the industry, you need to find the right formulas to help you interpret the information you’ve gathered. The difficulty in finding formulas is what prompted Feltenberger to write a new book about benchmarking with David N. Gans, MSHA, FACMPE, senior fellow, MGMA.

Once you understand how you stack up to others, you can start using these numbers to make changes. “Ideally, you need that data so that you’re not making a purely emotional or subjective decision,” explains Feltenberger. “You still need to make sure you are establishing value in that change in order to develop the buy-in.”

Listen to the full episode to learn more about how to make sure you are using benchmarking to your advantage and comparing apples to apples.

Learn more about benchmarking during Feltenberger’s session, “Benchmarking Tools to Increase Efficiency and Practice Profitability,” at the MGMA 2017 Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif., Oct. 8-11.

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Shannon Geis, MA, Staff writer/editor, MGMA

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