The phrase ‘vital signs’ makes most people think of patients, but did you know that your medical practice also has vital signs? And just like in the human body, these business vital signs are just as crucial to your existence. Here is an article that gives physicians a way to easily measure the life of their practice and determine if it needs CPR. The author even provides a handy spreadsheet you can download and maintain.
Here are the top five vital signs every practice should track every month:
- Collections: Keeping track of collections on a monthly basis – and using the spreadsheet provided – can help you spot any trends as they begin to emerge. The author states that revenue rarely fluctuates more than 10% so anything above that merits scrutiny.
- Labor Costs: These too don’t vary unless you’ve had an unusual event that necessitated overtime or use of a staffing service. Monthly monitoring of the aggregate amount spent gives a quick reality check when one day of staff overtime starts to become a habit.
- New patients: Sometimes we get caught up in the day-to-day work and fail to notice any dramatic changes in the number of new patients. If they decline precipitously, you might want to look over your operations and assess any new competitors.
- Top 5 CPT Codes: Most healthy practices have a mix of E/M and procedure codes. However, too many Level V visits, for example, could prompt payor attention and claims review, and reveal the need for external audit and provider education.
- Top 5 Referral Sources: Knowing who refers you the most patients is helpful in cultivating strong collegial relationships and to express appreciation. Any significant changes in this area may clue you into environmental issues you may have ignored.