The word “quality” gets tossed around a lot within healthcare, and it can mean different things to different people. In fact, quality for a patient likely translates to the amount of wait time in an exam room or their doctor’s bedside manner.
But when primary care providers think of quality they may consider whether all of their patients have made their scheduled appointments or received necessary vaccinations. Similarly, hospital donors may look at quality more holistically and want to know how their contributions are furthering clinical effectiveness and patient satisfaction.
Healthcare KPIs (key performance metrics) bridge the gap between all of these definitions by providing a measured reference for quality. Specifically, a healthcare KPI or metric is a well-defined performance measurement that monitors a healthcare organization’s overall processes and offers insight into patient satisfaction rates.
Why do KPIs matter?
KPIs offer insight into the overall health of a healthcare facility. In a nutshell, KPIs show measurable evidence of organizational growth and performance over time. These KPIs indicate the overall efficiency and effectiveness of your organization and can be used as compelling evidence within your organization’s case for support.
Other healthcare KPI purposes include:
- Demonstrating the ability to provide high-quality care. Quality metrics look into things like the rate of accurate and timely diagnoses or treatment effectiveness rates to better comprehend a facility’s caliber of care.
- Monitoring overall patient satisfaction. Patient satisfaction can vary from person to person. However, a record of KPIs can provide a helpful baseline for healthcare professionals to understand their care’s impact.
- Measuring community impact. Outside of individual care, hospitals can measure their performance in the overall community. Broader metrics like readmission rates and staff-to-patient ratio can help hospitals grasp their community influence.
- Identifying areas of operational improvement. A bird’s-eye view of a facility’s operational performance can give providers insight into areas of improvement. From there, providers and donors can work together to bridge gaps and overcome barriers.
- Building a medical marketing strategy. KPIs act as hard evidence for your organization’s value. You can use these KPIs to guide your marketing messages on your website or other marketing materials.
- Building trust with donors. When hospitals steward donations well, they can provide evidence in the form of KPIs. These metrics showcase a facility’s ability to manage resources effectively and increase positive community impact.
These are only a few of the ways KPIs can be put to work, and now that you know the value of KPIs, you might be wondering — how do you measure these metrics and what do they look like?
Arcadia recommends using healthcare analytics tools like customized dashboards for a detailed analysis of relevant data to measure performance. You can organize these data types into three separate KPIs — financial, operational, and clinical. Let’s dive into the details of each.
Everything from financial performance to operating expenses, profit margins, and ROI fall under the financial KPI category. And, with the rising cost of care, these metrics are more important than ever.
Here are some common financial KPIs:
- Treatment costs: Indicates how much a patient costs your facility. It can be used to spot and address any exaggerated expense abnormalities.
- Patient drug cost per stay: Shows the cost of medication per patient visit and can illuminate additional budget pressures hospitals may be facing from blocked access to relevant medication.
- Payer costs: Determines which insurance types cover the most costs among patients. From there, you can find out which payers align with different medical stays.
- Claims denial rate: Measures how often an insurance provider declines health cost payment for a defined selection of reasons.
- Operating margin: Indicates the amount of cash generated by a facility’s normal, day-to-day operations.
- Net profit margin: Evaluates how much money your facility is making after all expenses are subtracted from the total revenue.
Financial KPIs give insight into how money flows within your organization. They offer a meaningful perspective and baseline for determining and addressing any cost abnormalities within your organization’s predefined financial structure and can help you decide on a fundraising strategy that addresses your funding needs.
Operational KPIs provide a perspective into a healthcare facility’s operational efficiency. These metrics look into an organization’s ability to manage staff and patients within a physical space.
Operational KPIs can look like:
- Patient room turnover rate: Evaluates how quickly a facility is able to successfully turnover its finite number of rooms while maintaining quality care.
- Patient wait time: Monitors the average length of time a patient waits in a facility’s waiting room. It’s a key efficiency metric and is linked to patient satisfaction.
- Emergency department throughput: Measures the time it takes between a patient’s arrival in the ER and their meeting with a physician.
- Staff-to-patient ratio: Indicates whether your facility is under or overstaffed and provides insight into your overall staff management effectiveness.
- Patient safety rate: Shows a range of measured patient safety metrics from hospital-acquired infections to post-operational complications.
- Appointment cancellation rate: Determines the number of missed or canceled appointments by patients which can result in wasted resources.
Operational KPIs measure your organization’s ability to balance efficiency with quality. For instance, an abnormally low patient wait time and a high treatment error rate (covered in the next section) may indicate that staff members need to take more time to assess patient symptoms.
Clinical KPIs are big-picture KPIs that lend insight into the quality of an organization’s care. A facility that’s efficient, but does not consistently provide high-value care is not a viable candidate for increased donations. Additionally, an increased patient and referral pool is another way of determining whether a facility is performing well clinically.
Examples of clinical KPIs include:
- Readmission rate: Monitors the number of patients who return to the hospital within a predefined period after being released.
- Average length of stay: Measures the average time spent by a patient in a facility. Various categories of operations will yield different lengths of stay.
- Treatment error rate: Calculates the number of mistakes made by clinical staff when providing treatment. This could look like misprescribing medication or dosage amount.
- Patient satisfaction: Monitors a patient’s overall experience based on patient survey responses. Your facility could use this metric to identify areas of improvement in how your providers interact with patients.
Clinical KPIs are essential for painting a full picture to donors and demonstrating overall clinical impact. And, when combined with operational and financial metrics, good clinical KPIs suggest positive patient outcomes.
Healthcare analytics tools like Arcadia, show your organization exactly where you can improve through personalized reports that walk through financial, operational, and clinical KPIs. Partnering with a provider can help your facility reach maximum efficiency while providing quality care.
Keeping track of these KPIs can aid in donor and patient acquisition and retention rates. These increased rates can directly correlate with your facility’s ability to provide quality care through increased staff hiring, purchasing new equipment, and improving your overall physical space. For instance, if a donor notices your facility’s impressive patient satisfaction rate, they could give a contribution that could empower your organization to spend some funding on pressing research initiatives.