Recently, we published a blog post detailing all of the reports now available in WebPT to help Members access even greater business intelligence—which in turn helps them make important operational decisions. Today, we thought we’d cover three super-relevant business questions you can answer based on information garnered from these reports (adapted from a wonderful resource created by WebPT Product Marketing Manager Bradley LaFave and Education Team Lead Moriah Ujano). So, without further ado, here we go:

1. Are my scheduling and appointment reminder processes working for my business?

Anyone who has an appointment-based business knows how frustrating cancellations and no-shows can be—not to mention how detrimental they can be for your business’s bottom line. That’s why it’s incredibly important to observe scheduling best practices—including using automatic appointment reminders—to reduce the number of missed appointments each month. But, the only way to know that the best practices you’re implementing are effective for your practice is to measure your patient arrival rate before and after you introduce them.

Find your practice’s arrival rate.

Luckily, WebPT Analytics makes it oh-so-easy to track your practice’s patient attendance progress. To get started, you’ll need to access the cancels and no-shows section of the dashboard to determine your practice’s arrival rate (that is, the percentage of patients who show up for their scheduled appointments). For a little context, the weighted average for no-show rates in this 131-respondent survey of  PT administrators (who, according to the author, represented 1,419 PTs and PTAs) was 10.9%. Thus, we can assume that the weighted average arrival rate is 89.1%. So, you can compare your arrival rate to this benchmark. And unless your rate is a cool 100%, you’ll want to dig deeper to uncover some additional information.

Arrival Rate

Identify repeat offenders.

Open the Cancels and No Shows Analysis grid. Then, look for patients who frequently miss their appointments (sort by the Total Case Cancels or Total Case No Shows columns).

Repeat Offenders

From there, you can review the reminder types you have set for those patients. If an individual is a consistent no-show, and he or she is receiving, say, email reminders, then consider changing the reminder method to text or voice call. You could also adjust the lead time on reminders to make them either closer to, or further from, the appointment.

Drill down by therapist.

It’s also a good idea to drill down by therapist to see if any of your staff members have more cancellations and no-shows than others. To do so:

  1. Group data by Treating Therapist.
  2. Aggregate by Patient Name Count.
  3. Sort by Patient Name.

Drill Down

After all, lack of engagement is a leading cause of patient dropout—and that’s definitely something your therapists can impact. If you notice a particular therapist has higher-than-average no-show and cancellation rates, then it may be time for some dedicated coaching around communicating the value of therapy—and setting clear expectations regarding patient participation.

Determine next steps.

Once you’ve examined your data, you’ll be better equipped to identify trends and make decisions to improve the operations of your clinic. For example, in addition to adjusting individual appointment reminder methods for repeat offenders and coaching individual therapists to improve their arrival rates, you may also decide to implement a general cancellation fee that charges patients, say, $50 for appointments missed without at least 24 hours’ notice. Then, set a goal for the impact this new policy will have on your arrival rate (e.g., a 10% increase) as well as your overall clinic revenue (e.g., an additional $X per month). Finally, establish a schedule for tracking your patient arrival rate and revenue to assess the success of your new policy.

2. Which insurance companies pay me the most—and how can I use that information to increase overall revenue?

Third-party payments for physical therapy services have been declining for a while now, which is why many providers have adopted cash-pay services or gone completely out-of-network in order to remain profitable. Before you decide which payers to keep—and which to cut—it’s a good idea to identify your top payers as well as who’s paying you what.

Identify your top payers.

To start, you’ll want to look at the patient visit analysis grid. From there, you’ll need to dig into the number of patient visits grouped by insurance and then by clinic: 

  1. Group data by Primary Insurance.
  2. Aggregate Total Visits using the sum function.  
  3. Sort Total Visits in descending order.

Top Payers

Calculate payment rates—and costs.

Once you’ve identified your top payers, you’ll want to calculate how much each one pays for each of your most popular services (e.g., initial examination, manual therapy, and group exercise). Then, calculate the cost of providing those services and compare each payment rate to your cost (in addition to comparing all of the rates to one another).

Determine next steps.

If a payer is paying you less than it costs to provide a particular service—or significantly less than another payer—it may be time to renegotiate your contract. Negotiation pro tip: Come to the conversation armed with data that demonstrates the underpayment as well as outcomes and patient loyalty data that proves the value of your services. In other words, focus the conversation on the benefits that a particular payer is receiving from you—namely: cost-effective, high-quality care for that insurance’s beneficiaries.

3. How should I allocate next year’s hiring budget?

In order to determine how to best spend your hiring dollars—as well as your marketing ones—you’ll first want to evaluate your current staff members’ performance. That way you can make informed decisions as to which therapists—and which locations—would benefit most from some additional resources.

Identify the number of patients seen in each clinic location—and by each therapist.

To start, use the Patient Visits report to identify the total number of patients seen by clinic location and by therapist:

  1. Group by Last Location.
  2. Group by Case Therapist.
  3. Aggregate Count by Patient Name.
  4. Consider exporting the report if you have a lot of data.

Number of Patients

Determine the number of new patients seen.

You’ll also want to look at the number of new patients each therapist sees to determine which therapists are generating the most new patient volume. To do so, open the Patient Notes Report:

  1. Group by Clinic Name.
  2. Group by Documenting Therapist.
  3. Filter by the Initial Evaluation Visit Type.
  4. Aggregate Count by Patient Name.

New Patients Seen

Calculate the average number of visits per case.

New patient volume is only half the story, though, because your top-performing therapists will also know how to keep their patients engaged throughout the course of care, thus maximizing your practice’s earning potential. To identify those therapists with the highest number of visits per case, open the Patient Visits Report. Then:

  1. Group by Last Location.
  2. Group by Case Therapist.
  3. Aggregate Total Visits using the Average function.
  4. Sort in descending order.

Visits per Case

Examine the whole picture.

From there, you’ll be able to determine which therapists are generating the most traffic for your practice—as well as who’s keeping their patients engaged throughout their care. You can cross-reference this data with patient loyalty and outcomes data to get an even more robust picture of your top performers. You can also cross-reference this data with referral metrics to see which referral methods or marketing campaigns are not only generating the most new patients, but also attracting the patients who are the best fit for your clinic.

Determine Next Steps

From there, you can dig into what these top-performing therapists are doing that’s working—and what you can do to bring your other therapists up to their level. You can also use the average visits per case metric to gain insight into your patient lifecycle as well as forecast the number of patients each therapist can successfully manage in a given time period. Thus, you’ll know that when patient volume reaches a certain threshold, it’s time to bring in another full-time or part-time PT.

Additionally, you could use this data to predict what would happen if you relocated a top-performing therapist to another clinic location that isn’t performing as well. Alternatively, you could have that therapist serve as a coach or mentor to underperforming team members in his or her current clinic location. In the latter case, a bump in pay may be in order—and that could be more cost-effective than bringing in another provider. You could also help some of your PTs see more patients in a day by hiring an assistant to help with exercises—or hiring a junior PT to apprentice at your top-performing clinic before taking what he or she learned to another location.

There’s a myriad of possibilities when it comes to using the data you collect to inform your business decisions. After all, some strategies you implement will work beautifully, and some won’t. The key is to always set a measurable goal and track your progress toward it. Then, celebrate the wins and be willing to go back to the drawing board if a particular plan isn’t producing the results you were hoping for.  

What are the some of the smartest ways you’ve used data to inform operational decisions? Share your stories in the comment section below.