You did it. You survived 2019, which was a tough (but interesting) year, earning a number of “worst year ever for” titles--Worst Year on Record for Data Breaches, Worst Year of the Decade for Job Cuts, Worst Year Ever for Hospital Overcrowding, and the list goes on.
Luckily for us, the ultimate title of “Worst Year in Human History to Be Alive” actually belongs to the year 536 CE, and for a number of horrible reasons that we won’t go into detail about in this blog article.
So… Yay! We don’t live in 536 CE!
In observance of the long-honored traditional “New Year, New You” cliché, we’ve decided to offer our readers tips on how to make a new year’s resolution they can actually keep by improving their practice performance with internal benchmarking.
What is Internal Benchmarking, you ask?
Great question. Internal Benchmarking is “a process in which a company or an organization looks within its own business to try and determine the best practice or methodology for conducting a particular task.” Think of it as something like “taking a hard look in the mirror,” only with your practice instead of yourself and with comparative data instead of a mirror (on second thought, maybe that whole “hard look in the mirror” simile was a bit of a stretch).
The idea here is to look at how your practice is performing and identify specific actions that can be taken to improve in problem areas. This process is done in three phases—Evaluation of Performance, Implementing Changes and Analyzing the Outcomes.
Step 1: Evaluation of Performance
The first step is figuring out where your practice is having problems or could use improvement. For this example, let’s say that the patients at a practice are frequently complaining about having to spend far too much time in the waiting room and are not being seen until after their appointed schedule time. Before moving on, you would first need to collect a bit of data. You would need to know the average amount of time patients are currently spending in the waiting room, either by pulling this data from your practice management software or analytics solution (which is certainly the fastest method) and/ or by conducting a manual survey.
For the purposes of this scenario, let’s say patients are spending 25 minutes on average in the waiting room.
Step 2: Implementing Changes
Now that you have identified the problem, potential changes or actions will need to be chosen and implemented. First, you should check to find out whether your practice management solution provider offers consultants that can assist you with best practices or practice improvements. These consultants can provide expert advice on proven strategies. Whether through a consultant or based on your own judgement, the next step will be to choose a solution or change to implement that is likely to solve the problem.
Step 3: Commit to Your Changes & Analyze Outcomes
After the allotted time has passed, you will then need to analyze the outcomes of the change. Has it led to improvements? Did it work or did it fail?
In our example scenario, the practice ran the same report performed in Step 1 and compared the two reports. They found their average wait times had been reduced from 25 minutes to 10 minutes in just the first two weeks. Therefore, they chose to make the patient portal a permanent policy.
Remember that you do not have to stop with only one change. If the first one did not work, you can always try something new. If you just do nothing, however, nothing will ever change or improve. As Jessie Potter once said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.”
By implementing new changes and improving performance, you can make 2020 a great year for your practice!
If you are looking for assistance in your benchmarking efforts, learn more about Nextech's Professional Services Consultant by giving us a call today.