Performance Dashboards


When physicians hear “performance metrics”, they generally think two things:  utilization and collection.  “How many patients per day do I see?  What does A/R look like?  What are monthly collections?  Is money in the bank to meet payroll?  But these measures are after-the-fact metrics.  They don’t provide critical information on attracting new patients, the fullness of a practice pipeline, effective conversion, and whether outcomes generate a strong referral engine of new prospects.

Some elective vision practices have taken performance metrics a step further by looking at patient interest and appointment progression.  They monitor inquiries, consultations and surgeries to track conversion at each step of their process.  However,  nearly half of all practices state they are not tracking new inquiries, inquiries to consultation, and consultation to surgery, within their centers, according to Market Scope.

So how do you develop an informative, actionable snapshot that monitors whether you’re attracting the type of patient you want, whether they choose the vision service you are expert at, and whether the financial result is sound?  I recommend the development of a Performance Dashboard.


“I’m a numbers junkie” says Kay Coulson, president of Elective Medical Marketing.  “Yet I quickly learned in consulting that synthesizing and condensing relevant information for surgeons is vital.  The Performance Dashboard is something we developed to help our clients see, on a single page, whether the practice is headed in the right direction.”  I find surgeons want to know three things:  are we attracting the right type of patient, are patients choosing the services we want to offer,  and is the financial performance of the practice improving?  There is no sugar-coating of results with a Performance Dashboard.  You’re either attracting more inquiries, or not.  The right people are booking appointments, or not.  More people are moving to surgery, or not.  The fees they are willing to pay are profitably for the practice, or not. At a time when it’s easy to become overwhelmed with data, paring it down to a snapshot that keeps everyone on track is paramount.


So how can you develop a Performance Dashboard that will help you monitor and improve your practice?  Here are suggestions provided by Ms. Coulson.

  1. Start with the initial point-of-contact:  the Inquiry.  Inquiries can be tracked in any existing practice management system, simply by adding an Appointment called “Inquiry”.  This way, when a new patient calls your practice they are immediately booked as an “Inquiry” appointment, along with the appointment they are requesting (ie Annual Exam, Lens Evaluation, LASIK Consult).  Then if this patient cancels, or progresses along an appointment path different than expected, they can be monitored and tracked.
  2. Use appointment types and diagnosis codes as tracking tools for practice growth.  You’ll see in Kay’s dashboard that complete exams, dignosed cataracts and resulting surgeries are reported quarterly, with comparison to the same quarter from prior years.  This is important to account for seasonality of procedures, and to develop a “new normal” that recognizes the recession and changing healthcare structures.
  3. Measure the financial contribution of your key service lines.  If you’re trying to grow elective services, track their financial performance distinct from insurance collections so you have a solid perspective on where practice growth is generated, and where poor performance has been masked.
  4. Align marketing spending and employee compensation with your practice growth goals.  It’s not enough to simply spend on marketing, or pay employees to show up for work.  We all will evaluate over the next few years which payor contracts to pursue or renew, which new technologies for cataracts, glaucoma, retina or LASIK we will adopt, and where our investment in facilities and people will be made.  So align your investment in marketing and people so that is is directly linked to practice performance.

Contact us if you’d like to develop a simple set of performance metrics which will allow you to objectively, consistently and rigorously measure practice performance in the coming years.  This critical data is buried right now in your practice systems, but we can help you can uncover it to effectively guide future practice growth.