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Benchmarking in Revenue Cycle Management

By Scott Everitt, Vice President of Analytic Solutions

One of the most common questions I am asked by new clients or prospective clients is, “Do you have benchmarks?” As a company specializing in healthcare business intelligence, it is not surprising that this request is so common. Typically, PDS is bringing hundreds of new performance metrics to our clients, along with business logic, rules and various dimensions or perspectives for managing these metrics. As such, it is only natural to want to compare the newly accessible KPIs to similar organizations to see how performance stacks up... and possibly where there may be the greatest opportunities for improvement.

Incorporating benchmarks can be an incredibly useful tool in managing the performance of a physician practice. KPI dashboards and reports are important, but adding benchmarks can provide managers and key stakeholders with better context and meaning behind the numbers. Comparing your practice’s performance against similar organizations in key revenue cycle areas such as provider productivity, patient access, collection efficiency, AR management, denials, etc. can be an invaluable tool in driving goal-setting and overall strategy for the group. Additionally, benchmarking can highlight variances, identify outliers, and provide practice managers with laser-focused opportunities to achieve performance improvement.

However, there are challenges to benchmarking which can make the process discouraging or ineffective if not addressed early on in developing your practice’s benchmarking strategy. The strategic processes behind a benchmarking initiative can often be time consuming and costly. 

Management teams often struggle to define what to measure or which KPIs are relevant for benchmarking. There can be uncertainty as to whether the benchmark is calculated the same way as your practice’s key metrics. For example, is the benchmark using gross or net AR, and are they calculating aging from date of service or date the AR was transferred to the current payer, etc.

The greatest risk to benchmarking is in the communication and presentation of the comparison reports. If not managed effectively, benchmarking efforts can lead to questions of validity of the data and/or applicability of the benchmarks.  As a result, there can be internal resistance to the whole initiative. Over the years, there have been a countless number of times I have heard providers say, “You can’t compare what I do to some ambiguous average. I’m different. My patients are sicker. The diseases I manage are more complex…”

The fact is, benchmarking has great value in the management of a practice, but there are a number of pitfalls which need to be avoided in taking on the effort. In the coming weeks I will discuss more about best practices on how to incorporate a benchmarking strategy into your practice. I will also share some additional strategies in which benchmarks have been effective in helping drive change within organizations.  

Tulane University Medical Group to Implement PDS iMPower Analytics Suite

Practical Data Solutions, Inc. (PDS) announced that its iMPower Analytics Suite will be implemented in early 2015 at Tulane University Medical Group (TUMG), located in New Orleans, LA. TUMG selected PDS' iMPower Analytics Suite for its ability to quickly and easily deliver pertinent and actionable revenue cycle and patient access data into the hands of their executives, administrators and physicians.

“We chose iMPower Analytics to empower our department administrators, revenue cycle management and eventually our physicians to drive improvements in our academic plan environment,” stated Jerry Feddersen, Chief Executive Officer of TUMG. “We needed a solution that is easy to use but powerful enough to provide comprehensive healthcare analytics while maintaining the flexibility for ad-hoc reporting and visualization of data into dashboards. By putting this type of information at the fingertips of our management team, they will be afforded the opportunity to drive improvement and potentially identify additional forms of revenue not currently recognized.”

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Greenville Health System to Implement PDS PRISM Performance Management Technologies and Data Models


Greenville Health System to Implement PDS PRISM Performance Management Technologies and Data Models for Revenue Cycle and Patient Access Practical Data Solutions, Inc. (PDS) has licensed PRISM Analytics and its suite of Performance Management Technologies to Greenville Health System (GHS). PDS will be collaborating with GHS to build an infrastructure that will enable seamless analytical and reporting capabilities for revenue cycle and patient access as GHS transitions to the Epic system in mid-year 2015.

Currently, GHS is utilizing multiple practice management systems due to the acquisition of physician groups made over the past few years. As GHS begins migrating physician practices to Epic, the PDS DASH data blending technology will be used to allow GHS to report across systems during the transition and eventually join with the PDS data models for Epic.

“GHS is a large organization with complex needs, and we believe PDS is best suited to meet those needs,” said Mike Duffey, director of practice financial analysis at GHS. “We look forward to working with PDS to streamline our analytical and reporting capabilities during this time of transition.”

Getting Answers Quickly

By Russell Hendrickson, President & CEO

When we started our business 20 years ago, the buzz word was decision support. Over the years, other buzz words have come and gone – data marts, data warehousing, business intelligence, dashboarding, balanced scorecards, etc. Today, it’s all about analytics and everybody does it to some degree, but it’s really back to decision support for managing business performance!

In speaking with one of our clients recently, they mentioned having to sometimes tell others in the organization “we just need to GET ANSWERS QUICKLY.” Navigating the never-ending supply of healthcare data and making fact-based decisions is, without a doubt, a multi-billion dollar consequence to most of our clients. Although our data consumers want everything fully web and mobile and wish anything they ever wanted to know could instantaneously appear at their fingertips at a touch of button—sometimes getting back to the basics is the most practical solution. I’m talking about Microsoft Excel—and its ability to publish, communicate, calculate and help data consumers solve business problems and make decisions quickly and efficiently.

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