Establishing KPIs to run your Occupational Medicine Business

Eddie Stahl, Client Solutions Consultant shares the areas of importance in running a successful Occupational Medicine facility and how 1 provider practice positively impacted their net revenue by 207%. 

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For Occupational Medicine, there are 3 areas of importance in running a successful OM facility: Patient Outcomes, Enhancing your margins and Building Volume. To improve patient experience assessing your workflows to determine inefficiencies, bottlenecks in clinical flow that is increasing wait times and any other areas that impact your overall operational process are critical in creating a revolving door of opportunity and cash. Revenue, expenses and productivity must be in line to grow a profitable OM business. Determining the Key Performance Indicators, or KPI’s, that are significant in running your business will allow you to monitor those and proactively head off any hurdles you foresee. To build volume you must have the visits and staff to support an ever-growing business, as well as, a marketing strategy to gain additional business. You may not currently track your referral base now, but having established satisfied clients who refer other potential customers to you is as good as having an excellent marketing strategy. Establishing KPI’s is critical to the success of any business. Without them, you cannot determine areas of focus or where changes need to be made to proactively head off potential issues that may arise. Based on the KPI’s you establish, you will need to delve further into those key areas you can control.

As important as documenting your current Key Performance Indicators, is establishing your goal KPI’s. For example, one client, in particular, determined their goal was to have 3 physicians and/or mid-level providers at all of their locations with 20-minute appointment time slots. This would yield 3 visits per hour, keeping in mind some visits will take longer than others. The productivity target was 75% with a 10-15-minute wait time average. The information provided in this spreadsheet (snapshot at the end) is quite shocking. Based on a 1 provider practice utilizing the state fee schedule in their area, annual net revenue for initial work comp visits only yields approximately $30k. The reason for this is because the practice focused on the revenue generated by follow-up visits only. By changing the focus to initial visits, you can see the improvement in the revenue—close to $350k. With providers and management monitoring the follow-up ratio, providers were releasing patients back to regular duty or referring them out. This freed up appointment times in the clinic to account for new injuries. You will see that this change, positively impacts net revenue by 207%. Cancelled or no-show appointments are missed opportunities that is comparable to throwing cash out of the window. Establishing policies of cancellation recapture and communicating the results to your team establishes accountability. Your team will be willing to work together to get patients back into your office if the information is communicated to them on a regular basis. If you haven’t captured your cancellation percentage, start there and then set a reduction goal. Have you determined your areas of improvement or change? Create a scorecard that outlines your Patient outcome drivers, Financial drivers and Volume drivers. This well-rounded tool will help you establish where you currently stand. Score yourselves often to ensure you have made adjustments to your current workflow, created policies to standardize processes, and created a clear path of communication to your team. Based on the results of the scorecard, you should determine your Action Items and the plan to follow through on those outstanding tasks or items to keep you on track. Periodic meetings will ensure you stay in line with meeting your goal completion dates.

We’ve talked about Operational Outcomes and Growth, so let’s take a moment to discuss the most important outcome—our patients. If we don’t have patients, then we don’t have a business. Having policies in place to account for missed, cancelled and no-show appointments is as important as maintaining a wait time that is reasonable from a patient’s perspective. The last thing you want is to have patient’s walk out the door and alert their employer, your client, that wait times are too long. Remember that 10 minutes does not feel like a long wait unless you are sitting in a lobby with nothing to do but wait for your name to be called. This delay could ultimately result in a loss of business. So now we are ready to call the patient back. What is the flow? Is it efficient? Are the services provided accurate and in line with what your client requires? Are you providing the services expeditiously? From an employer standpoint, receiving paperwork on their employee in a timely manner, filled out correctly, is critical in maintenance of their records, whether for their own corporate standards or for regulatory purposes, such as DOT. In the end, it all comes down to patient satisfaction. Are you surveying your patients after their visit to ensure they received the best quality of care? Receiving patient feedback is the only way to know how your facility is truly performing.

By focusing your Key Performance Indicators on Patient Outcomes, enhancing your margins and building volume, you will lay the foundation for a successful business.