|Limitations of KPI Dashboards
Potential dashboard purchasers must realize that each of these systems is a tool, and various factors contribute to the success of the tool:
Skill of the user: After being presented with data points, the user must then determine the course of action to rectify missed opportunities. Often, dashboards are used in conjunction with a consultant to help determine the best course of action.
GIGO: Like any computer tool, GIGO (Garbage IN, Garbage OUT) is applicable. The success of these systems is fully dependent on the quality of data entered.
Complexity of insurance remittances: Another limitation to these programs is the increasing complex vision insurance market. Chargebacks and wholesale product allowances may cause gross sales figures to be less relevant and even deceiving. Surprisingly, on many insurance plans, lower-priced products may yield greater profit margins than mid-priced frames in the same reimbursement schedule. The rise in popularity of plans with wholesale allowances and network laboratories may further contribute to confusion concerning product profitability.
Despite having limitations, KPI dashboards are powerful tools to help bridge the gap between data collection and actual practice management decisions. They are extremely helpful in removing subjective decision making. Hopefully the advances of KPI dashboards will lead to an all-inclusive software model changing the industry like the progressive lens. The disjointed solution of separate software for accounting, health records, KPI reporting and billing will seem like the lined bifocal of software solutions one day!
As the dust settles from electronic health record integration and digital compliance, offices often begin to reach beyond mere data collection and compliance as their sole software goals. While all software platforms may collect data and potentially save a little paper, some users may ask, “Is the software truly living up to the name of a practice management software?” Clearly, there is a large gap to be bridged between data collection and making management decisions using that information.
Buried deep in computer code and SQL databases lies the information to manage and improve the practice. After all, many would like some financial gain in exchange for this new burden of data entry and software expense. Potentially improving the practice by means of software measurements requires four basic steps pertaining to data: collection, reporting, analysis and application.
Early practice management software versions focused primarily on data collection and offered minimal data reporting. Despite claiming the name “practice management,” they largely managed data instead of the practice. Perhaps, in the near future, we will see single software programs covering all of the four data steps and eventually automating our practices. In the meantime, the current gap between data collection and application has given rise to “third party software” applications that run parallel to or on top of the current practice management software. These programs are often referred to as Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Dashboards.
The EDGE tracking and benchmarking software by GPN gathers and presents relational information as it pertains to both the clinic and optical. It provides data points such as CPT tracking, doctor and staff net production filtered by product, service or fee and by any date range, insurance or vision plan. With its new interface, EDGE provides intuitive and actionable information in the form of “lost revenue opportunities.” Focusing on the true net revenue per exam by both optical and clinic, the EDGE displays capture rates, sales by brand, exam totals and types, and spectacle and contact lens specifics that take the burden out of knowing what is happening and why.
In addition, The EDGE provides filters that can assess many variables and preferences, allowing the data geeks to pinpoint opportunities. In the 2017 release, data filters are streamlined and simplified to support easier and quicker learning outcomes, and the program continues to support advanced users the line of sight they need by drilling down further. The update also accommodates multi-location practices for both corporate office and field use. One data filter I appreciated was the “zero-dollar frame sale” tracking. This tracks frames that are considered “covered” on the vision care plan. Typically, these frames are the lowest margin frames sold in a practice due to the reimbursement schedules in place.
The EDGE allows seamless HIPAA-compliant collaborative integration with OfficeMate, RevolutionEHR, Foxfire, Compulink, Crystal PM, MyVision Express and MaximEyes. In addition, The EDGE is the only certified integrated partner for Eyefinity PM and Acuity Logic. All integrations provide automated secure nightly data mining that produce freshly updated dashboards every morning as well as weekly and monthly “Snapshot” emails.
Benchmarking method: The data benchmarking of The EDGE is internal, measuring the practice against itself as well as the top 10% nationally. It measures potential lost revenue based on internal statistics of the practice such as capture rate, sales without a frame, patient own frames and true net sales.
Glimpse also offers seamless integration with RevolutionEHR, Compulink, Eyefinity OfficeMate, CrystalPM, Active EHR and MyVision Express, but what sets Glimpse apart is its focus on accuracy. The reality of practice management software utilization is that nearly every office uses its practice management software differently. The customizable nature of some practice management systems also means that data may be in different parts of the database from practice to practice. Realizing this difficulty, the developers of Glimpse use a program called Verifeye. This program helps to normalize and “clean” the data before it appears in the dashboard. As a result, the user can feel a sense of confidence with the data in the dashboard when making decisions.
Another increasingly popular concept is gamification by creating friendly office competition. Glimpse encourages gamification by updating users on their individual scores, which is created through targeted metrics chosen by the office. Offices may create their own uses for the scores generated. Glimpse dashboards are intuitive and are able to accommodate multi-location practices in the same summary. Beyond daily reports, users are also updated with monthly SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) reports.
Benchmarking method: The data benchmarking of Glimpse offers users a unique opportunity to compare their KPIs with other Glimpse users. Glimpse also allows anonymous peer data to be sorted and chosen by several practice features including size and region.
Backbone offers users very customizable KPI reporting, but data mining is not yet automated with the practice management software. This may not be an issue to practices using software not supported by the dashboards currently on the market. While Backbone may not yet integrate automatically, it is a very robust program with strong human resource management and task management features. Backbone developers recognize that human transactions are behind each KPI in the dashboard and that the employees are the backbone of the practice. For this reason, Backbone has a training tab, a timeclock tab, a staff performance tab and a task tracking system.
One of the greatest challenges created by offices implementing practice management software and attempting to be paperless is a failproof way to track tasks. Also, while most KPI dashboards focus on removing subjective decision making in practice management, Backbone expands this focus to the HR aspects of the business. This software truly is an HR suite integrated into a KPI dashboard. The employee performance tab allows both the employee and management to track success. Management then ceases to be subjective, and tasks no longer fall through the cracks. The data itself begins to manage the workforce. Although data must be manually entered periodically, this may potentially play a role in keeping KPI at the forefront of the team’s mind.
Benchmarking method: While the benchmarking with Backbone is internal, it is fully customizable. It allows the user to set goals and forecasts for performance indicators of their choice and then monitor the progress with charts that are visually easy to comprehend.
This tool for OfficeMate users automatically transfers data into Excel workbooks. The workbooks create various KPI reports, but they also help locate data that has been improperly entered into OfficeMate. Errors such as improper recall dates and unrecorded patient charges can be located and changed easily. This software highlights one of the weaknesses common to all practice management programs, which is data entry errors caused by the human factor. For example, OfficeMate has one of the most powerful and customizable recall systems, but it only works if the recall dates are in the future and not the past. While this software requires Excel 2007 or higher to operate, it offers many powerful reports representing key metrics. Filters can then be applied to the data and graphed for the user.
Benchmarking method: The benchmarking method of eyeReports is internal, comparing the office’s own performance against itself. Total performance as well as employee performance may be included and filtered.
Mark Clark, ABOC, is founder of iProfit Group, a health care investment consulting firm.