Healthcare Performance Improvement

Healthcare Performance Improvement – Goals for the New Year

With the new year just around the corner, businesses are evaluating their operations, identifying opportunities for improvement, and setting goals. Healthcare practices are no exception. While their primary focus remains on providing quality care, the importance of being financially sound cannot be overlooked. When setting healthcare performance improvement goals, think about where you want your practice to be next year.

Are you looking to expand to multiple locations? Or maybe you want to acquire the equipment and hire additional technicians to do more diagnostic testing in-house. It is important to have a clear vision of how your practice will evolve and then map out a plan to make it happen.

It is also important to be realistic and set healthcare performance improvement goals that are attainable. Setting SMART goals is a great way to stay on track, measure your progress, and achieve what you’ve set out to accomplish. You may already be familiar with SMART goals but let’s take a look at them anyway before we dive into specific goals you might have to improve the performance of your healthcare practice.


This formula is a reliable, time-tested method for setting achievable and impactful goals.  SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. It outlines the key attributes each goal should possess to enhance the likelihood of success. We will explore how this method can be effectively applied within the context of your medical practice.

Specific: Goals should be specific and clearly defined. Instead of a broad goal like “improve operational efficiency,” specify a target such as “collect 90% of copays due at time of service.”

Measurable: To effectively track progress, goals must be measurable. Rather than a vague goal like “enhance staff productivity,” set a measurable objective like “increase the number of insurance claims processed per follow-up rep per day by 10%.”

Achievable: Goals should be challenging yet realistic. Instead of an overly ambitious target, consider something attainable, like “introduce two new automated processes within the next six months.”

Relevant: Goals need to align with the overall strategy and needs of the practice. Focus on objectives that streamline operations or improve service delivery, such as “implement a new scheduling system to reduce no-show rate by the end of the quarter.”

Timely: Setting a timeframe for goals adds urgency and focus. Establish a time-bound objective like “complete staff training on new software within two months.”

Following the SMART method will help you effectively make your vision of healthcare performance improvement for your practice a reality in the new year. Now let’s take a look at some of the common areas impacting practice performance. 

Budgeting for Healthcare Practices

Improving budgeting in healthcare practices is essential for ensuring financial health and sustainability. Applying the SMART method to this aspect can greatly enhance efficiency and accuracy in financial planning. For instance, set a specific goal such as reducing operational costs by 5% within the next fiscal year. However, this is a general overarching goal. How do you plan to achieve this? You need to identify expenses that can be reduced without sacrificing patient care or operational efficiency. Then, you can focus on ways to decrease those expenses.

To make these goals measurable, you need to compare the expenses monthly against a predetermined budget. Although it can be time-consuming, regularly monitoring these expenses is essential to ensure they remain within budget. By Implementing business intelligence software such as Power BI or Tableau, you can schedule reports to be sent to you, making it easier to monitor your progress. Alerts can also be set up to notify you if you are exceeding the budget in any of the targeted areas.

Employee Compensation Models

Employee comp models that are aligned with practice goals play a pivotal role in boosting morale and motivation. It’s essential to design these models so that the rewards and 

incentives directly correlate with the aspects employees can influence and control. This approach ensures fairness and encourages proactive engagement in their roles.

For instance, using broad metrics like “Company Net Margin %” or “Patient Volume” for a scheduler’s bonus may not be effective, as these outcomes are influenced by multiple factors beyond their direct control. Instead, tying their compensation to specific, actionable metrics like “0% Eligibility Denials for Patients You Schedule” can be more motivating. This metric is a direct result of the scheduler’s performance and has a significant impact on the practice’s financial health by improving cash flow and minimizing the need for write-offs.

Such targeted incentives not only recognize and reward employees for their contributions but also align their efforts with the broader objectives of the practice. This approach encourages employees to focus on activities that they can impact, leading to higher job satisfaction and better overall performance. It also creates a culture where individual efforts are valued, reinforcing the connection between personal achievements and practice success.

Leading and Lagging KPIs

In the context of a healthcare practice, leading indicators are forward-looking metrics that help predict and shape future financial and operational outcomes. These proactive indicators enable practices to foresee and address potential challenges and seize opportunities in advance. For instance, in striving to boost practice revenue, leading indicators might include the rate of new patient registrations, appointment booking efficiency, and patient pre-appointment confirmation rates.

On the other hand, lagging indicators are reflective metrics that provide insights into a practice’s past performance. These reactive, backward-looking indicators are valuable for assessing and confirming the outcomes of executed strategies. In terms of financial health, lagging indicators could encompass total billing amount, average expenditure per patient, and overall profit margins.

When choosing the appropriate leading and lagging indicators for your key performance indicators (KPIs), consider factors specific to your practice, such as patient demographics, operational goals, and resource availability. It’s essential to select indicators that align with the practice’s vision and goals, and are both clear and manageable. A balanced mix of both leading and lagging indicators is imperative for a comprehensive overview of performance.

Effective utilization of these indicators involves a structured methodology. First, define your KPIs and link them with corresponding indicators. Set baseline figures, targets, and thresholds for performance. Regular collection and tracking of data are essential to gauge actual performance against expectations. Analyze the underlying reasons for performance trends and assess each indicator’s impact. Based on these evaluations, you can refine your operational strategies or resource allocations to align with the practice’s objectives and facilitate continuous healthcare performance improvement.

Business Intelligence Benefits 

So, how do you efficiently and effectively collect and analyze all this data to help your practice achieve its goals for the new year? Many healthcare practices are utilizing Business intelligence dashboards (BI) dashboards. Here are a few of the reasons why.

Automated Data Collection

Traditional manual methods of collecting data are often slow and prone to error. BI dashboards streamline the process by extracting data from various sources within the organization, such as electronic medical records (EMRs), practice management systems, call center logs, and payroll, compiling it all in one place for immediate use. 

Data Accessibility and Comprehension

BI dashboards simplify and visualize complex data, making it easy for practice management to grasp key insights and urgent matters. These dashboards provide a snapshot of both organizational and departmental performance, enabling quick, informed decision-making. For instance, a BI dashboard might display the number of appointments per healthcare provider or the ratio of patients to medical staff. This would immediately highlight any discrepancies or staffing challenges that could be affecting patient wait times and overall operational efficiency.

Trend Forecasting

BI dashboards offer a graphic representation of a facility’s metrics, aiding management and leadership teams in identifying trends. By tracking KPIs against their benchmark over time, they can Identify trends and proactively adjust strategies or objectives as necessary to improve practice performance.

Strategic Prioritization

BI dashboards also highlight crucial data for an organization. While they allow detailed analysis of individual KPIs, the overall information is aggregated to reflect broader goals. This aids in setting priorities by linking detailed data points to larger objectives. For example, a dashboard in 

a healthcare practice might show unexpectedly high operational costs in a particular area. Closer examination could uncover that a supplier is charging excessively for medical supplies or equipment, leading to the prioritization of sourcing a more affordable supplier to reduce costs. 

Effortless Reporting

Business intelligence solutions take care of the heavy lifting. Data is not only automatically collected and centralized but also arranged in an intuitive, visual dashboard. Generating reports is as simple as clicking the “print” button, saving time and effort and allowing healthcare professionals to focus on more critical tasks.

Healthcare Performance Improvement – Leverage the Power of BI

Ready to harness the power of BI but don’t know where to start? We can help with that. At Parable Associates, our team combines their expertise in healthcare with advanced analytical skills, utilizing cutting-edge technology such as Power BI and Tableau to address complex healthcare challenges, identify opportunities for operational improvements, optimize your revenue cycle, and support the success of your healthcare practice. Our extensive experience in healthcare technology includes working with some of the top names in the industry –  Experity, ModMed, and WebPT to name a few. 

Make sure your healthcare practice doesn’t miss out on achieving its goals. We invite you to reach out to us for tailored guidance and solutions that align with your specific needs and drive your practice toward success.
From business intelligence implementation to consulting and training, Parable Associates is the perfect partner. Contact us and book a discovery call today!

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment