In 2022, it is more critical than ever for you to track patient access. Patient access impacts your quality of care, influences the efficiency of your practice, and plays a large role in the economy of the healthcare system.
The best way for you to make sure your patient access is functioning appropriately is by tracking the right metrics. Learn how to do that in this complete guide to tracking patient access metrics in 2022.
Patient Access Metrics for Efficiency
Here are some of the most important patient access metrics for efficiency you should follow:
Practice Capacity Utilization
One key metric you should track is practice capacity utilization. You should take a look at how the scheduled density of your providers is spread across the entirety of the schedule. That way, you can make sure providers are seeing as many patients as they can without impacting the quality of their care.
You can calculate practice capacity utilization by taking the number of actual appointments and dividing it by the number of potential appointments. The closer this is to 1, the closer your providers are to matching the practice capacity utilization.
Average Patient Call Handle Time
The average patient call handle time is the average amount of time a patient has to wait before talking to someone from the practice. It goes without saying that you should keep this as short as possible.
Given technological development, some patients can address their concerns through an online scheduling system. By using an online system, the average patient call handle time should be shorter because there are fewer people waiting to talk to a representative from the practice.
Number of Patients Using Self-Scheduling
You also need to track the number of patients scheduling their own appointments. You should encourage patients to schedule their own appointments because it frees up schedulers to handle more complicated patient cases.
If patients can schedule their own appointments, they will be more likely to schedule a visit because they will not have to go through the trouble of talking to someone from the office. Nowadays, patients want to handle things on their own, and giving them constant access to a self-scheduling system is helpful for both patients and the practice.
Appointment Wait Times
You should also keep an eye on appointment wait times. If a patient shows up for an appointment, how long do they need to wait to see the doctor? If the lag time is too long, it can adversely impact the efficiency of your practice as well as the satisfaction of your patients.
To calculate appointment wait times, just average out the number of minutes patients are waiting across the practice.
Patient Scheduling & Appointment Metrics
You also need to track your patient scheduling and appointment metrics. A few examples include:
Patient No-Show Percentage
You need to monitor the number of patients who don’t show up for their appointments. You can highlight the patients who do not show up for their appointments every day and average the no-show percentage across the practice. If you notice patterns, you can double-book a few time slots every day in anticipation of having a few no-shows. This can increase the number of patients your practice sees.
Appointment Cancellation Rates
You also need to track what percentage of your patients are canceling their appointments. Some patients might not always want to tell you, so be careful how you ask them. One step hospitals can take to reduce cancellation rates is to send reminders about a week before the appointment is scheduled.
If patients cancel a week before the appointment, this eliminates last-minute cancellations due to the patient “forgetting.” Then, if patients do cancel, have an automated prompt that asks patients why they canceled. Phrase the question as something like, “what can we do to make it easier for you to keep the appointment?” – if the practice appears to take responsibility for the cancellation, patients are more likely to be open and transparent.
You should also keep an eye on your waitlist. If your waitlist is short, this is a sign that you might want to do more marketing to increase the number of patients coming to your practice. You can optimize the waitlist by using an automated system to notify patients when there is an opening.
Third Next Available Appointment (TNAA)
The third next available appointment is important because it provides a solid estimate of when the patient requests an appointment and when they get to see the provider. If the time to the TNAA is too long, you could experience poor health outcomes and elevated no-show rates. You can learn more about the TNAA here.
Patient Referral Volume & Retention
If you give your referrals prompt attention, other providers will likely continue to send patients your way. If you receive an unexpected referral, reach out to that provider and see if there is anything you can do to increase your referral volume. If your referral volume begins to drop, reach out to some of your regular referral sources and see if there’s anything you can do to increase patient flow.
Patient Engagement & Fulfillment Metrics
It’s also important to track metrics for how your patients are engaging with the practice. Some of the most important patient engagement metrics you need to measure include:
Track how many reviews you are getting and what they say. You should follow up with both negative and positive reviews. Show that you are open to constructive feedback, and demonstrate to your patients that you are willing to do what it takes to ensure they have a positive experience.
Patient Survey Responses
You need to conduct patient surveys because you can use this information to update your processes, improve your communications, and make sure your team is addressing patient concerns. If people aren’t quickly responding to your surveys, make sure patients know the importance of these surveys and how you use them to improve their experiences.
If someone leaves a poor review, reach out to them and show that you are willing to do what it takes to fix the mistake. That way, you can protect your brand and manage your reputation. You should also have regular meetings with your leadership team to address important service recovery issues.
Patient Leads & Online Presence Measurements
A few patient lead measurements you need to follow include:
Patient Demand Conversion
You need to keep an eye on your online patient engagement. Track how many people are using your self-scheduling system, and keep an eye on where your traffic is coming from. The more engaged your patients are, the more likely they will be to schedule an appointment.
New Patient Growth
You’ll definitely want to track new patient growth, as this is an indicator of demand conversion. You can track new patient growth by taking a look at what percentage of your time slots are being reserved by new patients. If you track new patient growth across multiple channels, you can keep your patients from having a disjointed experience.
Another important step is to track your online traffic volume and how they are interacting with your website. For example, you can use Google Analytics to take a look at what pages are doing well and which pages or not. That way, you can make sure your visitors have an easy time finding what they’re looking for. This includes the ability to schedule appointments.
You must track where your search rankings are falling for certain words and phrases. You should check your rankings regularly and make sure you are ranking well for the most important keywords in your field.
Practice Revenue & Engagement Metrics
Here are a few practice revenue engagement metrics you need to follow for better patient access:
Point-of-Service (POS) Collections
Measuring your point of service collections is critical. What percentage of your co-pays and deductibles are collected at the time of service? If they are not collected during the appointment, how long does it take for you to collect them? You need to track this to make sure your books are balanced.
Practice Staff Engagement
You should also make sure your practice staff are engaged with your patients every step of the way. A study from the Harvard Business Reviewshows that when staff members are engaged, patients have a positive experience, leading to greater profits.
Keep Track of Your Patient Access Metrics
These are a few of the most important patient access metrics you need to follow. Remember, by improving patient access, you can optimize the time of your providers, improve your patient experience, and grow the revenue of your practice.