An Overview of Healthcare KPI: Why Does it Matter?

FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Pannawat

Many different hospitals and physician groups have started to embrace the way that technology has modernized their field not only from a diagnostic and treatment standpoint but also from the standpoint of modern analytics and healthcare dashboards. Tracking something called healthcare key process indicators, also known as healthcare KPI, has become a popular topic of discussion in the healthcare administration field and some people may not fully understand what these are.

What are KPI Metrics?

FreeDigitalPhotos.net/supakitmod

The KPI metrics are numbers that are quickly and easily used to assess the performance of the hospital in terms of patient care and revenue generation. They provide a quick overview of how physicians are performing and areas for improvement. By using these metrics, hospitals and physicians can improve their ability to serve their patient population by decreasing wait times, lowering rates of readmission, and improving patient outcomes. Furthermore, these KPI metrics are important because they make it easier for a hospital to quickly pivot and adjust to a healthcare field that seems to be moving the targets and changing the finish line with respect to revenue generation. Organizing these KPI metrics into a hospital dashboard can centralize the information, leading to faster response times. What are some of the health KPI metrics that should be placed in this dashboard?

Rates of Admission

Flicker.com/Photos/Ilosiapacific

This is an easy metric to place on the dashboard because it is easily quantifiable. Of the patients who visited the facility, meaning the ER, outpatient clinic, or specialty clinic in the hospital, what percentage of the patients were admitted? Hospitals should have access to this historical data and can plot the changes over time. If hospital admission rates have been dropping in recent years, is it because the marketing has been poor or are outpatient clinicians becoming more adept at treating problems on an outpatient basis? If admission rates are on the rise, does the hospital need to hire more staff or does the treatment protocol need to be changed to drop the admission rates? Admission rates are an important KPI metric that give a quick overview regarding the health of the hospital system as a whole.

Number of Referrals

FreeDigitalPhotos.net/ImageryMajestic

This is a vital KPI metric because it can be viewed in two different ways. First, how many patients had to be referred out to other hospitals or physician practices and why were they referred? Sometimes, patients are referred out because the hospital doesn’t offer that service, such as brain surgery or a burn unit. If there is a significant patient population being referred out, it may be time for the hospital to invest in this ancillary service. On the other side, how many referrals did the hospital receive? If the hospital is receiving numerous referrals, it must have a solid reputation in the community.

Patient Satisfaction Scores

FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Areeya

While this may seem like an obvious KPI, it is a metric that has only recently joined the spotlight. While patient satisfaction scores may not always correlate to the quality of care, it does have important implications for revenue purposes because hospitals should want patients to remain in their network. This healthcare KPI should have a couple different sub-categories such as how well patients like their food, the ease with which they can access their follow-up care, and how satisfied they were with their medical provider. Tracking patient satisfaction scores and correlating them to changes in revenue can provide powerful insight into the performance of the hospital.

In the end, there are many different healthcare KPI that hospitals and physicians can use to track their performance; however, it is still up to the professionals to decide how best to use this information. A hospital dashboard can make this process easier.