AHRA: Effectively using metrics can net significant revenue

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MINNEAPOLIS—Information is critical and tapping into performance metrics can save hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Rick Divers and Nicole Faucher, MS, of MedQuest Associates, Alpharetta, Ga., who spoke July 28 at the annual meeting of AHRA.

“You have to access [information] at the right time and the right place,” said Divers, the vice president of development for MedQuest. “You’ve got to have a mechanism to take all that information and access it when you need it… You’ve got to be able to dive down into the data and pull back out.”

This sort of data mastery can be achieved by leveraging dashboards and balanced scorecards of metrics. While most institutions already dabble in these sorts of analytics, Divers offered some suggestions of key metrics to track. Pre-authorization denials, cancellations and the rate of cancelled patients that wind up returning can all make a big impact to the bottom line because of the associated fixed costs that providers must eat when a scheduled scan doesn’t occur.

How big of an impact can this make on a practice’s financials? If tracking these metrics leads to an initiative that results in a modest 2 percent improvement at a practice or department that has a relatively small $5 million revenue base, the initiative would yield an extra $100,000 per year. If one MRI scan is lost per day, by the end of the year, that’s $150,000 to $300,000 in lost revenue.

“The environment in healthcare is going to be such that that can’t happen anymore,” said Divers.

Faucher, MedQuest’s vice president of sales and marketing, noted that marketing departments can have their projects evaluated effectively using key metric analysis. She said her organization began tracking sales call activity designed to stimulate referrals to actual scan volume and they were surprised at how closely they tracked, indicating that the efforts did make a difference and increased call activity during slow periods could boost volumes.

In addition to a marketing dashboard, Divers and Faucher suggested a number of other dashboards and reports, including:

  • Detailed profit and loss statements;
  • Physician dashboards that track call notes, affiliations and referral potential;
  • Patient payments;
  • Write-offs and bad debt; and
  • Monthly executive dashboards with summary metrics.

“Making decisions without using this information is like driving blindfolded,” said Divers. “If you don’t have access to a bare minimum of information, how are you making your decisions? You are making them in a vacuum.”