Practice dashboard

January 1, 2006

The dashboard won't tell you why something is going wrong, but by identifying variances it will give early warning to potential problems.

Is there a better way to handle important practice management reports? Is it possible to create reports on practice operations and financials that you can review faster while getting out more of them? Indeed, there is. Take a little time to establish a "practice dashboard" - daily, monthly and annual indicators that can quickly reveal critical management trends and issues.

Do it daily

Scanning this report while the information is still fresh allows you to quickly spot any coding errors (e.g., the 9 a.m. appointment listed as an established patient was actually a new patient visit). You'll also be able to recall any services that may have been left off the report.

A daily review of outstanding account balances isn't intended to make you feel bad about what you haven't collected yet. Rather, it's an opportunity to make recommendations to your billing staff. For example, you notice that there is a large outstanding balance from Ms. Smith's procedure. When you open the record, you see the authorization paperwork for the procedure that appears to have been recently filed. Anticipating that a missing authorization may be the cause of the outstanding balance, you are able to review the situation with your billing staff.

If you do this review daily, outstanding charges and inaccurate billing won't hamper your practice.

Watch indicators monthly

Your monthly version of the dashboard should show data representing your cash flow, productivity, receivables management and patient access. For your dermatology and cosmetic surgery practice, review the following data to spot month-to-month trends and, ultimately, year-to-month patterns in:

This last category - service line analysis - is important for dermatology practices. This analysis should include any services you've established separate from your practice, such as cosmetic services and products. Monitor each service line on the variables listed above. Make sure the report also shows what each service line represents as a percent of your total business. Service line analyses allow you to quickly see which services are growing and which ones are flat or declining (see Table 1: "Service Line Analysis").

If you practice out of several sites, consider monitoring your productivity (i.e., patient encounters) at each site.

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Practice Management