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Un-complicating Healthcare IT

5 Community Healthcare Metrics You Can’t Afford To Ignore

Aug 11, 2015 1:09:00 PM Posted by Dixie Fank | Clinical Applications Team Lead

5-Community-Healthcare-MetricsGreat leadership decisions are based on data, not intuition.

It sounds a little robotic, but it’s true. Your community healthcare organization – whether it’s a bustling hospital or quiet, local clinic – should be using metrics and analytics, not “best guesses,” to make strategic decisions.

Today, though, many healthcare organizations lack the strategy, processes and tools necessary to cultivate and use the right metrics.

If your healthcare organization is in that camp, here are some quick tips on setting up an effective data management tool, prioritizing metrics to track and using those metrics to make positive, strategic changes to your organization.

First, Think About Your Data Management Tool

Before you make a big technology purchase just to acquire analytics, figure out what you’re going to use it for (read on for some helpful ideas) and consider your current database and skill sets. With a little coding and optimization, you might be able to get what you need without investing huge sums in a shiny, new system.

Any tool that queries data (when leveraged by an IT expert with appropriate skills) can be used to generate contextual, graphical reports in an information dashboard. Your revenue cycle software, for instance, might be used to reveal the percentage of patients discharged but not billed in a given time period.

Then, Track These 5 Key Metrics

Once you’ve set your end goal and started thinking about your reporting systems, your community healthcare organization should begin generating these five metrics that are directly tied to efficiency and revenue:

  1. Missed charge rate. Missed charge metrics help you reconcile charge codes and corresponding trigger events. Compare expected use to actual use in order to inform your spend. For example, you might compare chargeable items used by nurses to purchases recorded by materials management.
  2. Billing process time. Tracking the average time it takes to bill and receive payment is crucial for ensuring your fiscal health and making strategic decisions that drive revenue. Tracking and identifying inefficiencies could help you make process changes that shorten accounts receivable time.
  3. Reconciliation consistency. To help reduce costly patient care and billing errors, keep a close eye on reconciliation. Medication, IV and wound care reconciliation are all areas that you should be measuring.
  4. CPOE consistency. Figuring out the percentage of physicians using CPOE in your organization is crucial for assessing compliance readiness and securing important incentives.
  5. User adoption. If your clinicians and staff aren’t using your technology correctly, you’re prone to data gaps and workflow disruptions. There are actually several metrics you could look at here. You can monitor and analyze the time that users spend in the system or the average time it takes them to complete critical tasks in your EHR, such as medication reconciliation or chart completion.

Implement Analytics The Right Way

Once you’ve determined the metrics you want to track and measure, it’s time to make robust analysis a core part of your organization’s decision-making process.

Make sure your metrics reflect progress toward specific financial and operational goals. Key performance metrics are nice to have in general, but ideally, you want every analytic to reveal progress made toward a specific organizational goal. So, if you’re looking to increase profitability by 5 percent next fiscal year, you should be tracking every revenue cycle metric possible.

Recognize that success with analytics isn’t just a matter of tools, but also a matter of culture. If your users aren’t entering information in a consistent, disciplined fashion – as in, they’re relying on personal preferences instead of best practices – your information will inevitably be skewed and you won’t realize the full value of your analytics.

To get more value from your metrics, as well as ensure operational discipline and make the best leadership decisions possible, scrap the guesswork. Instead, create a strategic roadmap for your community healthcare organization – one that aligns goals, implementation and spend with patient and organizational value.

Start following the data today, and we promise: Your organization will grow stronger.

Learn how to measure your community hospital’s IT effectiveness.

Measuring-IT-Effectiveness-Your-Community-Hospitals-First-Step-To-Operational-Excellence

Dixie Fank | Clinical Applications Team Lead

Dixie is immersed in the planning, organizing, directing, and coordinating of clinical implementation and optimization projects for many hospitals and clinics. She is always helping clients understand and use their EHR systems so that patient care is kept #1 priority. Dixie has been an RN for 35 years and has been in analyst work since the early 2000's.