Dashboards—easily accessible and readable reports with relevant information for a medical practice—are an essential ingredient for maximizing performance, according to Robert Glazer, MPA, chief executive officer at ENT and Allergy Associates, a group with 220 physicians and 43 locations in New York and New Jersey, where they see about 90,000 patients a month.
Explore This IssueNovember 2021
Glazer spoke on dashboards during a session at the 2021 American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Annual Meeting. These reports can give physicians and practice leadership data that can quickly show them how they’re faring relative to their peers and help them understand trends that are tracked over time to allow a practice to refine their strategies, he said.
Used across a variety of categories, these reports can act as a “checklist” for physicians. “Physicians love data,” Glazer said. “They’re trained scientists, and scientists look at lots of data to see how trends develop.”
Glazer mentioned several particularly helpful dashboards that are used regularly at ENT and Allergy Associates:
- Month-to-Date Snapshot: This shows each physician’s total patients seen, new patients, total charges, and amount collected. “Every doctor can not only look at his or her own data, but also look at every other doctor’s data in the practice,” Glazer said. “Transparency in data, whether you’re a partner or an associate, is very important.”
- Patient Count Seasonality: This is presented as a line graph that shows the counts for different types of patients on a month-to-month basis. “Monitoring patient counts shows the health of the practice,” he said. “These visuals will help the practice easily see growth and seasonality trends.”
- Realization Analysis: This shows exactly where in the accounts receivable cycle a physician’s money is. This analysis can be affected by many variables, including payer mix, how many surgeries have been performed, and which type of surgery was performed, among other factors. At ENT and Allergy Associates, most accounts are collected in the first two months following treatment. “We really do put a lot of effort up front in training our physicians how to code and document properly for a visit and to maximize their coding for that visit,” Glazer said. There’s also considerable preparation by office staff for billing collections, payment posting, and follow-up.
- Benchmarking Tool: This is a report showing evaluation and management coding for physicians as compared to their peers, for new patients, established patients, and consults.
- Procedural Analysis: This shows the use of targeted procedures by physicians as compared to others. The report is color coded to show those who are one, two, or three standard deviations outside the norm.
- Medical Management Committee Chart Review Utilization Report: COMThis report lists services provided by physicians for a chosen period of time and shows each physician’s style of billing practice and which services are most commonly billed. The practice has a group of coding experts who review the coding to make sure it’s done properly. “This report is a great tool for coders to start to wrap their hands around a chart audit of a physician,” Glazer said.
- ENT Optimization Report: This is a report of physician productivity on a slate of important indicators, including patients per month, new patients per month, procedures per encounter, and days worked. Glazer uses this data to choose locations and physicians to shadow and see how they do their work. “There’s nothing better than standing side by side and learning from others,” he said. “Education never stops.”
- Web Appointments: This dashboard shows how many appointments have been booked over the web rather than by phone, showing which doctors have promoted these appointments and best adapted to the technology. Glazer believes that mentioning web appointments as the last talking point with a patient can be effective in encouraging the technology’s use. “Convincing patients to go to our website to make their appointments rather than calling offices is one of our strategies. Developing a website that’s patient friendly has been at the top of our list, especially during the last couple of years.”
Training for Dashboard Use
Physicians new to ENT and Allergy Associates must be trained in all these dashboard tools and how they are used. “It’s tough, and I can tell you, it takes time. You need to have employees who focus on training,” Glazer said.