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5 Tips for Making Healthcare KPIs more Actionable
Whether healthcare KPIs for your organization include average length of stay, patient satisfaction numbers, number of days in AR, or other data point
Whether healthcare KPIs for your organization include average length of stay, patient satisfaction numbers, number of days in AR, or other data points, there's a chance you're not using key performance indicators for the highest value.It's one thing to track a number, but here are five tips for ensuring those numbers drive action within your organization.
1. Define an Enterprise-wide Glossary
Healthcare professionals from disparate departments within an enterprise have different vocabularies. Physicians speak differently than accountants; IT staff speaks differently than front or back office clerical staff. Develop an enterprise-wide glossary of essential business terms—especially words and acronyms related to organizational KPIs. Make sure when you talk about DOS and ALOS, everyone understands you're referencing dates of service and how long a patient stayed in the hospital, for example. When everyone understands what healthcare KPIs measure, it makes it easier to get the entire team involved in improving performance.
2. Tie Management Objectives Directly to KPIs
Surprisingly, not all organizations tie management objectives to stated KPIs. The manager of the collections department should be provided goals that relate to bringing down the open AR and days in AR numbers. That manager should provide objectives for department staff members related to the same goal. Although it's important to develop goals for things like communication, education, and employee morale, if all efforts aren't somehow moving toward overall performance goals, departments and companies can quickly lose proper scope.
3. Implement an Infrastructure for Accurate, Timely Reporting
Making the decision to keep something like Days in AR under a certain number is great, but without the infrastructure for accurate and timely reporting, leadership and employees are flying blind. It's not enough to report healthcare KPIs at the end of a month or quarter—everyone needs access to real-time numbers on a weekly, daily, and, sometimes, hourly basis in order to identify trends and take actions before a problem arises.
4. Create Streamlined KPI Dashboards
Overwhelming leadership and staff with an in-the-trench view of healthcare KPIs isn't the best way to keep them informed on a daily basis. Executive leadership and managers should be able to view a KPI dashboard or summary report that gives a quick snapshot of overall performance for the department or enterprise. Consider creating department dashboards that feed an overall report. Identify the most important healthcare KPIs from each area and ensure there is an automatic or manual reporting mechanism in place to deliver refreshed data to the dashboard at an agreed-upon frequency.
5. Communicate KPIs at Every Level
Healthcare KPIs may be something you want to keep confidential to your organization, but most of the time, they aren't sensitive information meant only for the top ranks. Communicate healthcare KPIs at every level of the organization to help team members understand where the company is related to goals. Use KPIs to drive both corrective and reward actions, and create a culture where team members celebrate meeting KPIs each month.
Taking the time to define goals that support healthcare KPIs, creating viable healthcare reporting structures, and educating staff at all levels about KPIs allow you to use performance indicators in a more actionable way. When used properly, KPIs can drive productivity, help to increase patient satisfaction, and motivate employees to excellence.