The electronic health record (EHR) system may act as the proverbial backbone of a physical therapy operation, delivering the structure and meticulous organization needed to help the team succeed. But what physical therapists might not know is that in addition to keeping the wheels on the wagon, EHRs also actively collect valuable data about operations and patients.
Often, though, this data isn’t leveraged to its full potential in the outpatient physical therapy and private practice settings. While not ideal, it’s completely understandable, as there’s a lot that goes into running a successful practice, and digging through data might be the last thing on the priority list.
With the right direction, though, driving actionable change and delivering impactful benefits through the use of EHR data is easy. And when you start to see what it can do for your operations, it might find a new spot higher up on the priority list.
Here are some ways to consider getting started.
1. Analyze Your Referral Sources – Resource Allocation and Overexposure
The lifeblood of many practices in the outpatient setting is referrals. The more people you have in your corner sending you business, the better. But there are three things to keep in mind—not all referral sources are created equally. Diversity is critical, and it takes resources to support your sources.
By collecting and analyzing referral data from your EHR, you can tackle all three of these things. First, you can identify which of your referral sources are sending you the highest number of referrals. You can (and should) take this a step further by tracking the consistency of the referrals as well as their quality. For example, 100 referrals with a 5% conversion rate is not the same as 20 with a 50% conversion rate.
Second, you can use this data to make sure you’re getting referrals from a diverse group of sources to protect against overexposure. If all of your referrals are coming from one person, location, or type of source, what happens if they close or stop sending you business?
Last, supporting your referral sources with resources is critical to help them succeed. As we all know that resources are not an unlimited supply item, EHR data can help you know where to allocate optimally to drive the most business.
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2. Better Understand Your Customers – Identify Gaps and Targeted Marketing Messages
Through your EHR, you’re most likely already collecting data on things like where patients live, demographics, what they’re being treated for, and the quality of those patients. Not only does this data help you to have a clearer picture of your operations, but it also gives you some opportunities to see huge benefits.
Here are some questions you can ask that this data can answer.
- Are there areas of the city where you’re under- or over-performing?
- Are you seeing growth in patient demographics or patients with certain conditions? Are there opportunities to alter your marketing efforts to target these trends?
- How effective is your therapy revenue funnel? Are there opportunities between referral and completion of treatment where you can improve?
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3. Focus on: Outcomes, Outcomes, Outcomes
At the end of the day, the chief goal no matter if you’re in private practice or a hospital setting is to deliver the best care possible for patients. And thankfully, this is where healthcare analytics shine. By taking the time to look at the raw data that your EHR is already collecting, you can identify areas of success to build on and places where you can work to improve.
Some ideas of areas to start here include:
- Internal benchmarking between different locations
- External benchmarking against the industry
- Outcome-based key performance indicators (KPIs) like readmittance rates, average number of visits by condition, treatment success rates, alternative treatment success rates, intake assessment success, and patient satisfaction
What’s My Next Step?
Getting the most out of your data doesn’t have to be hard or a drain on your time and resources. And it’s certainly not something that you have to do alone. If you’d like to see just how Net Health Therapy can help, we’d encourage and invite you to set up a time to chat with someone about your goals.