If you’ve ever worked in a hospital, you know just how many moving parts must come together to make even seemingly basic processes happen. And when patients’ lives and employees’ livelihoods are on the line, it’s highly important for healthcare organizations to get it right.
When hospitals want to track their operational effectiveness beyond a shadow of a doubt, they turn to key performance indicators (KPIs). Learn more about nine important key performance indicators for hospitals as they evaluate their workflows in the hopes of making improvements.
What Are KPIs?
In short, KPIs are measures or metrics organizations can use to concretely gauge their performance. As Investopedia writes, they “are used to determine a company’s progress in achieving its strategic and operational goals, and to compare a company’s finances and performance against other businesses within its industry.” In healthcare, it’s useful to break down KPIs into distinct categories, such as patient access, patient safety, OR use, ER use, infection control, patient satisfaction and financial.
KPIs are useful in assessing operations and setting goals, but they must meet a set of criteria to be truly useful to organizations. One popular way to quantify KPIs is using the SMART method, which dictates KPI-based objectives should be:
In other words, KPIs hold great power and insight for hospitals that can figure out a workable method for analyzing performance data and setting benchmarks. Without order, KPIs never evolve from being rows of numbers in spreadsheets. Healthcare solutions for data analysis help decision-makers turn data into actual insights, which in turn fuels improvement.
Without further ado, let’s look at nine specific KPIs hospitals should consider tracking over time.
Are your beds routinely empty? Overbooked? The only way to keep things running smoothly is to track occupancy rate over time. From this KPI, you can make necessary adjustments to streamline efficiency.
Average Length of Stay
Hospitals can drill down into data to track how long patients stay after certain procedures or in certain departments. If stays are lengthy, hospitals should investigate possible causes (administrative oversight, infections, etc.). If the metric reveals short stays, hospitals should ensure patients are not being prematurely discharged.
Also known as healthcare-associated infection (HAI), this KPI shows how often patients get certain infections during medical treatment. A lower number demonstrates a hospital’s commitment to following safety and sanitation guidelines.
The Affordable Care Act started readmission reduction programs in 2012 to incentivize hospitals to “reduce the number of costly and unnecessary hospital readmissions,” and since then, this KPI has been more prominent than ever.
A contributing factor in making informed hiring decisions and ensuring patients are getting enough individual attention is to monitor the patient-to-staff ratio across departments.
Patient Wait Time
How long does a patient sit in the ER waiting room before getting medical care? Longer wait times mean lower patient satisfaction scores and a higher risk of injury or death.
Hospitals operate on business models; it’s important to track revenue versus expenditures to establish the health of margins.
Claims Denial Rate
Hospitals only stay in business if they get paid. As many as one in five claims is delayed or denied. Reducing claims denial rates saves time and energy while boosting revenue. The first step is developing a measurable claim denial KPI.
A low patient satisfaction number is a huge red flag for hospitals; it’s a call for serious changes in staffing, training or facilities. Not only does a low score in patient satisfaction indicate that hospitals are alienating current patients, but it also suggests they’re repelling future ones. After all, word-of-mouth referrals in healthcare are huge. Crunch the numbers on patient surveys, online reviews and more to keep an eye on this KPI.
Measuring these nine important key performance indicators for hospitals will help your organization identify its strengths and weaknesses so it can set actionable goals.Z-��