The electronic health record (EHR) system is 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 outpatient physical therapy and private practice settings. While not ideal, it’s completely understandable, as a lot 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 EHR data is accessible. 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 remember—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 sends you the most referrals. Then, you can (and should) take this further by tracking the referrals’ consistency and quality. For example, 100 referrals with a 5% conversion rate differ from 20 with a 50% conversion rate.
Second, you can use this data to ensure you get referrals from diverse sources to protect against overexposure. For example, if all of your referrals come from one person, location, or source, what happens if they close or stop sending you a 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 understand where to allocate optimally to drive the most business.
2. Better Understand Your Customers – Identify Gaps and Targeted Marketing Messages
Through your EHR, you’re most likely already collecting data on where patients live, their 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?
3. Focus on Outcomes, Outcomes, Outcomes
Whether you’re in private practice or a hospital setting, the chief goal 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 your EHR is already collecting, you can identify areas of success to build on and 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 vital performance indicators (KPIs) like readmittance rates, the 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 complicated or drain 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. Visit us at https://www.nethealth.com/solutions/hospital-outpatient-therapy/
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