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March 05, 2012

Numbers are King

Numbers are data. What any manager needs is information. In many clinical situations, the numbers are information. In business situations, most numbers are data – the value a practice manager brings to the business is applying his or her knowledge, experience and judgment to turn data into information, information that is the basis for decision making.

On a regular basis – usually monthly, but for solo practices on a quarterly basis – look at actual revenue and expenses compared to the prior year (notice I don’t make mention of comparing these to your budget; in my opinion most budgets are worthless in a medical practice). Items that are in excess when compared to the prior year are neither a cue to be upset nor a cue to stop spending. You have to ask constant questions – why is an item higher this year than last year? Why are revenues lower or stagnant this year versus last year? Many times, there are seasonal variations in both revenues and costs. Also, sometimes you might order a quantity of supplies in order to gain discounts.

You also want to look at productivity, such as: the number of patient visits (office versus hospital), how many diagnostic tests or other in-house services were provided, and the percentage of available time that is being booked for patient services. You should also look at payer mix revenue distribution, physician work RVUs, collection percentages broken down by individual payer class, and a variety of different accounts receivable agings.

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