03 Oct 2017

25 important performance metrics your imaging business should be tracking (and why they matter)

That old proverb that you succeed at what you measure is true for healthcare.

Performance metrics are an important component of healthcare quality. They improve transparency and elevate the standard of patient care. However, in a new patient-centric model of healthcare, performance metrics — especially positive ones — also serve another important function. They help imaging businesses more effectively market their services to patients, providers and referring physicians.

“In the U.S., across the industry, we all understand that certain metrics are mandated. These key performance indicators (KPIs) are self reported by hospitals and other healthcare enterprises and recorded by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, with the goal of improving transparency and elevating the standard of patient care,” explains Geoff Clemmons, Enterprise Analytics Marketing Manager at Canon Medical Informatics, Inc. “However, as a consequence of that improved transparency, we now are seeing a shift toward an emphasis on patient satisfaction.

The patient’s “journey” through the healthcare system and their experiences are vitally important to organizations as they market their services.

“We need to understand that patients today have greater choice, and we see healthcare actively catering to their patients in order to earn and retain their ‘business,’” he addes. “At the end of a patient stay, the patient will fill out a satisfaction form. Their opinion on the quality of care and the experience matters. Healthcare providers can actually be penalized by Medicare/Medicaid if they have a poor patient satisfaction metric.”

To compete and win patient business, imaging businesses need to understand the healthcare consumerization trend and carefully monitor those metrics that point to patient satisfaction, such as access wait times and the length of it may take for a clinic to get a person in for an imaging procedure.  “When a patient arrives, how much time are they spending in your waiting room,” asks Clemmons. “Or how quickly are you able to turn around results to the primary care physician?  By tracking and monitoring these metrics an imaging business can start asking itself, ‘can we not be more efficient?’ Patient perception is everything.”

Beyond the individual’s care, Clemmons reminds imaging leaders that they also have a second important customer to whom they must consistently demonstrate value: the referring physician.

“The exams you perform are ordered by physicians in your community. You need to also keep them happy. This means reaching out to let them know that you are the best facility.”

This, Clemmons notes, drives a host of additional satisfaction metrics.

“Imaging businesses can tell a compelling story if they can produce metrics that demonstrate that referring physicians can quickly get their patients in for appointments, and that they can produce a faster turnaround on reports. These metrics build confidence with the referring physician and offer assurance to the patient.”

Finally, Clemmons points to some of the most important metrics of all – those clinical quality metrics that are tied to hospital workflows driving critical decision making. “There are clinical guidelines that dictate how quickly care is administered in certain clinical situations, for instance if a patient presents in the ER with a suspected stroke” explains Clemmons. “In this situation every second counts. So having metrics that show the time lapse between ordering the brain scan, the scan and having the results turned around to the ordering physician is pretty critical.”

25 Key Metrics Your Business Should Be Tracking to Better Manage “Customer” Satisfaction

1. Time to third available appointment
2. Engagement call rate
3. Preauthorization acquisition rate
4. Cancellation rate

5. No-show rate
6. Average patient wait time
7. Technologist patient education
8. Scan turnaround times
9. Repeat rate
10. CT radiation dose exposure
11. Cycle time
12. Technologist productivity

13. Patient recommendation rate
14. Read turnaround times
15. Critical results reporting
16. Error rate
17. Dictation accuracy
18. Referrer follow-up rate
19. Follow-up case tracking rate
20. Initial denial rate

Program Management
21. Referrer satisfaction
22. Staff engagement rate
23. Volume growth rates
24. Volumes percent to budget
25. Net revenue per unit of service