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Data—Do It; Do It Now: Key Takeaways from Ascend 2015

Will your physical therapy practice thrive or die over the next few years? Experts say it depends on your data. Learn more here!

Charlotte Bohnett
5 min read
September 22, 2015
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Ben Franklin once said that “diligence is the mother of good luck.” That may have worked in the days of our founding fathers, but today, in our vastly more complicated world, diligence doesn’t quite cut it. One thing that can certainly up the good-fortune factor, though? Data. In yesterday’s Ascend 2015 recap post, I explained why data is inherently linked to the future of rehab therapy. Specifically, I detailed how many speakers at this past weekend’s event in Chicago pinpointed outcomes as the key to proving PTs’ value to payers. While collecting outcomes data is mission-critical to the future of your practice and the rehab therapy profession as whole, there are other types of data that are just as important: business metrics and ICD-10 codes.

"Results matter. Nothing else matters." – Dr. Jamey Schrier

In his talk about time management and goal achievement, Dr. Jamey Schrier emphasized the importance of business data—and not just hodgepodge figures arbitrarily collected and ignored. Dr. Schrier emphasized accuracy, clarity, and action. So, what should you be measuring—and how? In their presentation, Drs. Ryan Klepps and Scott Hebert, the co-founders of Strive Labs, outlined five patient engagement metrics critical to the success of your practice: CAC, LTV, viral growth, NPS, and churn. Looks like a bunch of alphabet soup, right? No worries. We sort out many of those metrics in this blog post. Klepps and Hebert weren’t the only ones loving those metrics, though.

"If you're not creating loyal customers, your business will erode over time." – Jody Ruppert

Jody Ruppert talked about customer satisfaction vs. customer experience, explaining that “88% of consumers will do business with your competitors after a poor customer experience,” and "every single touch point in your organization determines whether you succeed or fail in customer experience." Of course, the only way to know whether you’ve succeeded or failed—and thus, whether you’ve lost customers to competitors—is to measure everything. Because, as Drs. Klepps and Hebert said in their presentation, “If you can't properly monitor engagement once the customer is gone, they’re gone.” Ruppert also touched on key metrics like NPS and LTV. Our very own Dr. Heidi Jannenga also touched on NPS during her opening keynote. Want more details on NPS? Check out this blog. Fortunately, it’s a straightforward business metric you can implement rather quickly. And quickly is important, because as all speakers emphasized, time is of the essence. Data collection cannot wait, because the success of your business cannot wait.

“ICD-10 starts in 12 days. Any questions?” – Rick Gawenda

That’s how Rick Gawenda started his ICD-10 presentation. Now, we have even less than 12 days’ time before the big switch. So, what does ICD-10 have to do with data? Everything! You already document a lot of details about your patients; ICD-10 allows for you to capture that detail using diagnosis codes instead of writing a huge subjective paragraph in your documentation. Eventually, practitioners will compile enough data to be able to analyze it and draw conclusions that could improve patient care and overall healthcare delivery. Essentially, ICD-10 is a universal language that will make true interoperability possible. Of course, at Ascend, people were much more concerned with proper ICD-10 coding than the future of patient care and healthcare delivery. After all, the switch is rapidly approaching. But as Gawenda assured the audience, ICD-10 is not rocket science; we will all get through it. And fortunately, there are a slew of resources to help. One big one? Gawenda's and Jannenga’s ICD-10 Bootcamp.

There were so many other memorable quotes and key takeaways from Ascend. You needn’t look further than #Ascend2015 on Twitter to see that. Some personal favorites were Robert Babb’s and Daphne’s Scott’s presentations on company culture and conscious leadership. I also loved Deborah Alexander’s presentation on defensible documentation (so much so that I’ve asked her to pen a blog post for us, so stayed tuned!) and Gawenda’s and Ann Wendel’s combined presentation on Medicare compliance for cash-based practices (“You cannot administer blanket ABNs!” Preach, Rick. Preach!).

Of course, I can’t cover a two-day event that many said rivaled PPS in two blog posts. It just doesn’t do the event and speakers justice. So instead, I’ll say that I hope my brief recap got you thinking. For those who didn’t attend Ascend: major bummer in the Chicago summer. I hope these recaps have piqued your interest, because Ascend 2016 will be here before you know it. Stay tuned to the WebPT Blog for details on that.

Now, for those who attended Ascend: thank you. Your participation was amazing. Please keep it going; share your favorite moments and key takeaways in the comments below.

And everyone: remember, diligence and data are the parents of good luck. Can’t wait to hear what fortunes you all uncovered at next year’s Ascend.


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