Know your numbers
Daniel Gibbs from Clinic Mastery shares core measures that practice owners should be tracking to gauge how a clinic is performing.
A common question that private practice clinic owners ask us is: what numbers should I track and measure in our clinic to know how we are performing and to plan for how we can grow? I’ve spoken with thousands of clinic owners and they say that knowing your numbers can be scary, overwhelming, boring or labour intensive.
If you don’t know your numbers, how can you expect to grow profitably, sustainably and with enough cash flow? You need to know exactly how your clinic is performing at any moment.
I am not suggesting that this is about being a million dollar health professional, because that doesn’t mean anything. There’s more to the story than money. Yes, there is a commercial reality to being in business that demands you know your numbers; however, the intention of focusing on numbers is to help you make informed decisions.
Knowing your numbers allows you to track, measure and influence your finances so that you can reinvest in your team and reinvest in your patients. If you are like most clinic owners, then you just look at what’s left in the bank at the end of the month and hope there’s some left over without any insights into why.
As health professionals and as part of the Clinic Mastery Business Academy, we work exclusively with private practice owners to measure your numbers daily so you can grow your clinic. Given that our core role as a health professional is to see patients, knowing how to ethically influence these numbers is important for your client’s outcomes and your business’ success.
‘Knowing your numbers allows you to track, measure and influence your finances so you can reinvest in your team and reinvest in your patients.’
What do the numbers mean for your clinic?
Basically, every figure or metric is a measure of the effectiveness of a system/s in your business.
By keeping track you can make better, more informed decisions about when to hire, what to reinvest, how much to spend on marketing, how to reward your team, and how much you have to live off.
Tracking systems in your clinic
If every figure that we measure is just a reflection of how effective a system is, then you need to know how to write and implement systems in your clinic.
Once the systems are in use, we need to monitor the system. This can be as simple as having a checkbox next to items on a to-do list, to know they’ve been done; recording the successful completion of tasks (eg, using software for system management); using tracking sheets; and generating reports in your practice software.
You also need to review the results. In a corporate setting you would most likely call the results key performance indicators (KPIs), but we call them clinic excellence indicators (CEIs). You can use a simple spreadsheet, hand-written page, or detailed CEI dashboard, as long as it works for you.
On the next page is a suggested list of some CEIs that can be used in your clinic, it’s not exhaustive but it does give you an idea of the types of CEIs that can be used.
Don’t fall into the trap of ‘analysis paralysis’ by trying to do all of them. Just pick and choose what might work for you, and go from there.
Other clinic excellence indicators:
- reports per new patient—the percentage of new patients who have reports sent to other health professionals involved in their care; good for keeping practitioners motivated to send letters or reports (internal marketing strategy)
- new patient referral sources—you are looking at where referrals of new patients come from as a percentage. Aim for 40 per cent referral partners, 40 per cent word of mouth (clients), and 20 per cent external marketing
- visits to referrers and business partners—track the number of visits to other health professionals who refer to your clinic, for example, coffee catch ups, dropping off a gift, and saying hello in person
- referrals to professionals in our network—track number of referrals from your clinic to other people, and if you have connected with other great professionals or businesses that you believe add value to your clients, you should refer regularly
- help received from team member—invite staff to share and record how they’ve been helped by other team members
- technical knowledge gained—track events and knowledge received for professional development
- talks and presentations delivered—track how many workshops or events have been given by team members (marketing).
In order to successfully build targets and benchmarks around each of your CEIs, first use the CEI to track what is currently happening to get a baseline, and compare figures between practitioners.
Decide on your ideal targets, keeping in mind clinic expenses, wages etc (your accountant can help) and make a reference to what colleagues and other practitioners in your area do. Then you can set the target.
You need to keep it simple by deciding on the numbers that are most important to your clinic growth. Identify the three key numbers that you need to measure now to improve patient experiences and create consistency between practitioners.
Start with what is most urgent and you should gain an understanding of all the numbers that influence the amount left in your bank at the end of the month; then you can take control over your growth.
The irony is that most health businesses are seriously sick on the inside because they do not know what is happening on a financial front. I think it’s much scarier not knowing what’s going on with the health of your clinic. Remember, it’s not about being a million dollar health professional; the intention of focusing on numbers is to help you make informed decisions.
Knowing your numbers allows you to track, measure and influence your finances so that you can reinvest in your team and reinvest in your patients.
Visit clinicmastery.com for more information.
Daniel Gibbs is an Accredited Podiatrist and the founding director of Clinic Mastery. A Telstra Business Award winner, he believes that with the right systems in place, a great team culture and an amazing client experience, health business owners can find freedom.
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