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The secret to using physical therapy KPIs to manage your practice

Learn more about how to harness KPIs (key performance indicators) to track the progress of your physical therapy practice. It's easier than you think.

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How is your practice doing?

When you first read the question - was your quick response "good", "so-so", "not so good"? Was your answer based on hard data or just your feeling about how things are going? You should use key performance indicators (e.g. KPIs) to track your practice. With KPIs, you'll be confident in your answer and confident in the foundation for that answer.

What are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?

Ok, it's a little bit cliche but let's start with a dictionary-type definition:

a quantifiable measure used to evaluate the success of an organization, employee, etc. in meeting objectives for performance. Google
A performance indicator or key performance indicator (KPI) is a type of performance measurement. KPIs evaluate the success of an organization or a particular activity (such as projects, programs, products and other initiatives) in which it engages. Wikipedia

Let's simply that a bit. Bottom line is that a physical therapy KPI is a specific, numeric measure that you can use to to measure your performance. It's really that simple. Fancy business term for something that you already intuitively knew. You can read a lot more about KPIs on Wikipedia (Click Here). Now that you know what physical therapy KPIs are - you can move forward!

Picking KPIs for your practice

Before we get into picking KPIs that are specific to your goals and your practice, it's important that you know that there are certain things you should be looking at (and probably are) on a regular basis. Some of them include the following:
Baseline KPIs:

  • Monthly Insurance Revenues
  • Monthly Patient Revenues
  • Total Visit Count

Picking KPIs is actually a secondary question. The primary question is what are your goals for your practice. Where are you trying to go? Here are some examples of goals that one may have for a practice:

  • Massive growth
  • Moderate growth
  • Steady growth
  • Stay level
  • Wind down for a retirement

It may seem like everyone wants massive growth but is that really what you want? Are you ready to hire many new PTs and is your staff ready to handle a huge influx of new visits? Give some serious though to where you want to be in 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years and that should give you a good idea of what you should be aiming for. With competent physical therapy software, you should have a lot of reports to choice from. Ok, so let's say you know where you want to go, now the question is how are you going to get there. Let's take an example:
Massive Growth Suggested KPIsBaseline KPIs shown above+

Monthly Initial Evaluations
Referral source breakdown
Breakdown of revenues/payments per insurance

Why, you ask? A practice that is focused heavily on growth should be heavily focused on the new patient pipeline (measured by initial evaluations) and where these patients are coming from (referral source breakdown). Finally, a breakdown by insurance company will help you understand if you're attracting the types of patients that you desire and can help you focus in on working the right referral sources.

Ok, now the secret to KPIs

Drum roll please. The secret to physical therapy KPIs is to be consistent. Sorry if you were expecting more; that's really it. We work with a lot of practices and the number one issue we see is that practices look at different KPIs every week, every month, and every year. Some practices also get hung up on the specific methodology of a report. Consistency is important because the KPI will be pulled in the same way and can be compared consistently. Moreover, looking at the same KPI at a regular interval over an extended period of time gives enough time to see if changes you are making are having an effect.

Switching KPIs every month or every quarter is too soon and not long enough to see a trend. The other issue with switching KPIs too often causes issues with seasonal and monthly changes. For example, if you change KPIs in July, you'll lose the in the shuffle the impact of July being a slower month by nature.

This isn't to say that you can never change KPIs but changing should be done so deliberately (see below).

Review of KPI selection

Don't worry, you're not locked into KPIs you select forever. You can change KPIs but this should be done so reasonably infrequently (annually) or whenever there is a major change to your practice's goals. Generally, both of these things are good things to look at on annual basis. Taking a look at where the previous year started and ended, reassessing goals and then by extension KPIs.

Of course, if you have a major change in your practice (e.g. change of ownership, acquisition, etc) then you can absolutely take a look at your KPIs at that time.

The bottom line

KPIs are a fancy way of saying that you should be looking at some important numbers on a regular basis to assess the health of your practice financially and operationally. With solid practice management software like MWTherapy, using KPIs should be a cinch.

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