From 1987 to 2005 I was the hospital administrator of a five-doctor practice with three other locations. My practice owner was very forward-thinking, so early in the 90’s we invested in powerful software for all our hospitals. As someone who understands the benefit of rooting around in data this investment enabled me to make some better-informed decisions when it came to the practice.
When veterinary practice management software originally came out, many practices used it more as a glorified cash register. The fees and service codes were entered into the PIMS but not divided into departments to show revenue streams from each separate area. My practice owner, associate vet and I, on the other hand, spent many nights after hours entering service codes into specific categories so we would have important and valuable information to use when making buying decisions.
Garbage in – Garbage out, right?!
Because of this time spent upfront, we could track the percentage of our business that came from exams, vaccinations, spay and neuters, general surgery, orthopedics, boarding, grooming, diagnostics (both in hospital and outside), and treatments. Using this information, I was able to use these details to negotiate with labs, learn about compliance on preventive care, schedule surgeries, and even know what revenue was being lost to online pharmacies when they came on the market.
In today’s world, data is the most valuable thing we own.
In our PIMS we have the ability to sort patients by breed and send out information about genetic predispositions and educate clients about awareness and early intervention. We can sort by age and share information on age-specific blood tests that would help us catch issues early in our senior pets. If coded correctly we can even find out what patients we graded as Grade 2, 3, or 4 dentals and push out information on the dangers of oral disease with encouragement to schedule an appointment.
Inventory accuracy is improved with data. We can track product sales over a year, or even month by month so we know when to adjust our minimum and maximum quantity on hand. Buying a deal becomes safer and more profitable with the history of past sales available, making us capable of projecting future sales with ease.
Staffing levels can also be managed better with solid data. #Weave telephones gather data on peak call volume times and allow us to see when we need to add more help to the front desk, or even when it is best to send someone on break. PIMS can also show us when our clients check in and check out, how long they are in the practice and how long they waited to be seen. If we see a pattern in peak wait times, we can staff to accommodate these events.
Data from our financial software helps us compare our practice to industry benchmarks and set goals for performance. Monitoring our profit and loss statements, cash flow, and liabilities and assets shows us if all our hard work is paying off.
So, if you aren’t a data geek, find someone who is and utilize the most powerful tool in your practice!
If you need help analyzing your data, contact me here.