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Mark Hinton

Data-Mining to Serve Your Patient, Your Team and Your Business Better

When you know, you grow.

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I GO ON RETREATS with many practices, from one location to eight or more, across the U.S. and Canada. I’m often surprised that the majority of these practices do not routinely data-mine their clinic and optical KPI metrics — capture rate, revenue per patient, and other optical KPIs — to grow intentionally.

Many of these businesses rely on their Practice Management Software (PMS) to provide these metrics. Some data-mine the system monthly, a few weekly, and many only when “things seem off.”

But data/KPIs are king. In our offices, we mine the data daily and weekly; this has led to very intentional focus by the whole team. We use EdgePro by GPN (I do not endorse nor collect any gratuities from any vendors). Glimpse is another program available.

These software systems simplify the process of gathering the data needed to drive growth.

What I learned about using software like this is simplicity. In a few clicks of the mouse, we can parse the data by individual, product, dollars, percentages. What we measure, we manage and grow.

Do you know, off hand, your capture rate? Ocular Nutrition? Average Frame sale? Patient Own Frame? Photochromics? Multiple pairs? Plano sun? Rx Sun? Screening? You grow when you know.

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These data-mining programs are fast and specific. We can pull out trends by viewing the dashboards. We can view lines, or graphs, or pie charts, and these charts show us trends that we can address — that we could never determine using only raw data from our PMS — dropped into a spreadsheet. And in a fraction of the time it takes to run reports from our PMS and transfer that data to a spreadsheet. KPI metric software is like looking through the windshield, seeing what’s ahead. PMS data is like looking through the rearview mirror. I can change the future of the business; the past is gone.

In our offices, and those I work with, the doctors and opticians print their own personal KPI metrics every Monday morning so they can compare their production last week to the previous week. This is invaluable; when people know their numbers and percentages and continue to track them, their eye is clearly on the ball. Team members don’t want to fall below their new norm. Conversely, when a team doesn’t know their metrics, they guess, and often guess high. We all want to imagine we perform higher than we likely do.

We are goal focused for the benefit of the patient, first, and making profit, second. The data helps us focus on better communication. For example, when the doctor prescribes Rx sunglasses to 10 patients, and one patient includes the Rx sunglasses, that data tells us a few things. One in 10 patients is 10%. Weekly updated data provided our team with a clear target to focus our process on and develop smarter communication to engage and influence the patient. As an example of communicating far better with the patient, we stopped using words like “UV protection” because we found almost all patients did not clearly understand UV or what was protected. We switched to “sun damage” and the Rx and Plano sunglass percentage increased from 10% to 16% almost immediately.

The simple reason to measure KPI metrics data weekly is threefold: to serve the patient better, to serve the team better, and to serve the business better. You run the business, or the business runs you. Data-mining your clinic and optical KPIs weekly and planning growth goals is a winning combination for success.

Mark Hinton is a practice owner, as well as CEO and president of eYeFacilitate, a private practice consultancy. A sought-after ABO/COPE approved practice management expert, with eYeFacilitate he helps practices drive optical efficiencies, maximize managed care revenue and profit, improve capture, and increase revenue through simple systems with a focused process. Email him at [email protected]

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