This article will be featured in the Fall edition of the RMS Quality Care Courier.

With today’s busy practice activities and competing priorities, it is very important that practice administrators keep a careful eye on the key attributes tied to business operations. After all, in order to continue to deliver quality healthcare to patients, the office activities need to be managed ensuring a viable and quality driven practice. A quick means of monitoring business operations is through developing a “practice dashboard.” This represents a graphic tool, built on an information infrastructure that highlights key practice metrics. This dashboard is then shared with key members of the practice. It represents the primary functional areas and services as the tool that first identifies opportunities for change.

Practice operations monitoring using a dashboard is not a new concept. We are familiar with observing dashboards related to operating motorized vehicles and machinery. We also use graphical dials to adjust and fine tune many of our electronic devices. The idea of incorporating a dashboard with day-to-day operations is threefold:

1) it consolidates all the key operational metrics administrators regularly review into a central document for easy reference;

2) it imposes rigor to obtaining and organizing data from multiple areas on a regular basis; and

3) it organizes data in a fashion that is easy to review, analyze and comprehend.

Practices that develop a dashboard find it to be a highly effective tool to help drive better quality, reduce costs, and enhance patient services. Important to dashboard development are the dials that are created and monitored. These need to be identified and agreed to in advance. Moreover, the process and sources for obtaining the data need to be defined. Each practice dashboard is unique reflecting key operational areas relevant to the practice’s operations. General dashboard metric areas to consider include:

  • Financial Activities: Revenue/Expense; Revenue Sources; Accounts Receivables; Bad Debt
  • Patient Experience: Satisfaction Scores; Complaints; Average Wait Times; New Patients Joining Practice and Patients Leaving the Practice
  • Claim Processing: Average Time to Bill; Average Cost to Bill; Average Time for Bills to be Paid by Insurer
  • Patient Volume Productivity: Average Patients Seen per Day; No Shows; Cancellations; After Hours Calls
  • P4P Metrics: ED Utilization; HEDIS Compliance; Meaningful Use
  • Referrals: Sources; Service Type Requested; Timeliness in Scheduling Referrals by Specialty Patient Feedback Based Upon Experience with a Specialist
  • Practice/Safety: Staff Reporting and Feedback
  • Patient Demographics: Age; Gender; Race, Ethnicity, Language; Insurance Source

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Using a dashboard can help a practice remain focused and poised to take action. It is a way to develop an organized and effective management activity into a powerful practice transformation tool. If you are interested in a healthcare consultant in Upstate NY to help you develop a practice dashboard contact our Director of Healthcare & Practice Transformation, Susan Maxsween at or by calling 315-635-9802.