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Insights for those starting, managing, and growing independent healthcare practices

How to benchmark KPIs to measure and improve your clinic’s performance (free worksheet) 

Discover how to use financial, operational, and clinical benchmarks to identify growth opportunities and areas for improvement in your healthcare practice. Track these 7 common KPIs for success.

key performance indicators for independent practices

At a Glance

  • Benchmarking KPIs enables healthcare clinics to identify growth opportunities and areas for improvement by comparing performance against industry standards.
  • Tracking financial, operational, and clinical KPIs helps practices optimize resources, reduce inefficiencies, and enhance patient care quality.
  • Use Tebra’s free worksheet and practice efficiency grader to benchmark your clinic’s KPIs and drive data-driven improvements.

Managing a healthcare clinic means juggling multiple responsibilities, from billing and marketing to operations and patient care. Benchmarking key performance indicators (KPIs) can give you a quantifiable way to evaluate performance and make informed business decisions. 

Benchmarking KPIs can give you a quantifiable way to evaluate performance and make informed business decisions. ”

However, identifying relevant industry benchmarks for small- to mid-size medical practices can be challenging. To address this, Tebra conducted a proprietary survey of independent healthcare providers nationwide. This survey, which included 290 practitioners who personally see patients and use electronic health records (EHRs), benchmarks a variety of important KPIs.

Read on to find out how to measure your current level of efficiency. You can then benchmark those KPIs against industry standards to learn where to improve.

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Why benchmarking KPIs is crucial for independent practices

Measuring your practice’s business outcomes against industry benchmarks can help you quickly identify what’s working and what needs improvement.

Benefits of KPI benchmarking

Healthcare benchmarking aims to improve the quality of care, outcomes, efficiency, and patient experience

To achieve this, use financial, operational, and clinical benchmarks to help identify both opportunities for growth and areas on which to work.

The main benefits of KPI benchmarking include:

  • Optimizing resources. Understanding how your performance compares to industry benchmarks can help you tighten up processes, reduce waste, and optimize resource allocation. Done effectively, this can lead to significant cost savings and improved service delivery.
  • Pinpointing inefficiencies. Identify operational bottlenecks and areas where you’re underutilizing resources. Use your practice’s KPIs to target inefficiencies and optimize your processes.
  • Maintaining a competitive edge. By understanding where you stand in relation to your peers, you can highlight your strengths and address any weaknesses. This ensures that you remain attractive to patients and stakeholders alike.
  • Improving patient care quality. By evaluating clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, and other care-related metrics against industry standards, you can implement best practices and improve care. A direct result is enhancing patient outcomes and satisfaction.
  • Driving continuous improvement. By consistently measuring and comparing performance, you can track your practice’s progress over time, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions to enhance your services.
  • Informing strategic planning. Use benchmarking results to set realistic goals and develop strategies that align with industry standards. Following the data like this ensures that objective insights guide your practice’s growth and development.
  • Ensuring regulatory compliance. Regularly compare KPIs to established benchmarks to identify areas where you may fall short of compliance and take corrective actions. This proactive measure minimizes the risk of regulatory issues and enhances your practice’s reputation.

Ready to take your practice to the next level? Download our free worksheet to benchmark your KPIs and start making data-driven improvements today.

A list of common KPIs for healthcare practices

Let’s turn to the most common KPIs to benchmark: 

  • Patient no-show rate: Number of patients who miss appointments without providing more than 24 hours notice.
  • Accounts receivable >120 days: Percentage of claims with outstanding balances that is over 120 days within 1 rolling year.
  • Insurance payment rate: Percentage of claims with insurance payment received within 45 days of service.
  • eRx rate: Percentage of medications sent electronically in the last 30 days.
  • Time in EHR: Minutes per patient spent in documentation, patient history review ordering labs and prescriptions.
  • Manual billing: Staff hours spent on manual billing activities per provider.

How efficient is your practice? Find out by taking Tebra’s practice efficiency grader today and benchmark your performance.

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A step-by-step guide to benchmarking your KPIs

Follow the steps below to begin benchmarking your own KPIs.

Identifying relevant KPIs

Choosing the most relevant KPIs for your practice is essential to maximizing the benefits of benchmarking.

  1. Align with business objectives: Select KPIs that directly align with your overarching business goals. For example, if improving patient satisfaction is a primary goal, focus on KPIs related to patient feedback and service quality.
  2. Core areas of success: Pinpoint the core areas critical to your practice's success. These typically include financial performance, patient care quality, operational efficiency, and staff productivity. Choose KPIs that provide clear insights into each of these areas.
  3. Engage key stakeholders: Involve key stakeholders, such as physicians, administrative staff, and possibly patients, in the KPI selection process. Their insights ensure that the metrics you choose are both meaningful and actionable.

Collecting data

The best way to collect data is to measure how many hours your practice spends per week on the following:

  • Patient acquisition (business listings, marketing)
  • Reputation management
  • Patient retention
  • Scheduling and reminders
  • Patient communications
  • Intake
  • Care administration and documentation (e.g., EHR notes, labs, ePrescriptions)
  • Manual billing and reimbursements

This data collection gives you really good insight into where your practice spends most of its time. 

Analyzing performance

Once you have identified your relevant KPIs and collected the data, the next step is to analyze your practice's performance. 

  1. Evaluate current metrics: Begin by reviewing your current metrics to understand your practice’s baseline performance. Look for trends and patterns that might indicate areas of strength or concern. This analysis will help you understand how effectively your practice is operating and where improvements are needed. 
  2. Segment performance data: To dive deeper, break down your performance data into specific segments — such as different departments, individual staff members, or various time periods. This granular approach can reveal more nuanced insights. For example, you’ll discover which departments are performing well and which may need additional support or resources. 
  3. Consistent analysis: By consistently analyzing your KPIs, you can maintain a clear, data-driven picture of your practice’s health and make informed decisions for continuous improvement.

Comparing with industry standards

Comparing your KPIs with industry standards involves reviewing how similar practices are performing on the same KPIs. Looking at where your clinic stacks up against the competition identifies areas where you may be behind or excelling. This external perspective is crucial for setting realistic performance goals and identifying best practices that you can adopt to enhance your operations.

7 common benchmarks to track at your clinic 

Let’s look at some industry standards from Tebra’s recent proprietary survey of independent healthcare providers nationwide:

1. Patient no-show rate

This metric examines the number of patients who miss appointments without providing less than 24 hours' notice.

  • Industry average: 19%
  • Top performers: 3%

The patient no-show rate is a crucial KPI for independent healthcare practices because it directly impacts both operational efficiency and financial performance. High no-show rates lead to wasted time slots that could have been allocated to other patients. 

This reduces the overall patient throughput and revenue potential. Of course, you already know that missed appointments can disrupt the workflow, cause delays for other patients, and increase administrative burdens as your staff scrambles to reschedule or fill empty slots. 

Working to reduce no-show rates improves resource use, enhances patient care continuity, and maximizes revenue by ensuring that appointment slots are efficiently used.

If your no-show rate is significantly below the industry average, it suggests that you are employing successful strategies to remind and motivate patients to attend their appointments. 

Practice automation strategies to achieve this include implementing automated reminder systems, adopting flexible scheduling policies, or providing incentives for on-time attendance. 

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2. Accounts receivable over 120 days

This metric measures the percentage of claims with an outstanding balance over 120 days within a rolling year.

  • Industry average: 10–15%
  • Top performers: Under 10%

This metric is vital for maintaining the financial health of your independent healthcare practice. High levels of aged accounts receivable indicate delays in payment collection, which can strain cash flow. It also limits the funds available for operational expenses, staff salaries, and reinvestment into the practice. 

Potential solutions for this KPI include using automated tools such as using digital payments and text reminders to increase and expedite patient payments. ”

Managing accounts receivable effectively ensures that your practice has a steady cash inflow. Achieving this reduces the need for external financing and enables smoother financial planning. By keeping this metric low, your practice is in a strong financial position and can therefore invest more confidently in growth initiatives.

If your data analysis shows a high percentage of accounts receivable over 120 days, it suggests billing and collections inefficiencies. For instance, you may have issues such as incorrect billing, claim submission delays, or inadequate follow-up on unpaid claims. 

If this is the case, it’s important to scrutinize your revenue cycle management practices, ensure timely and accurate billing, and persistently follow up on outstanding claims. 

Potential solutions for this KPI include using automated tools such as using digital payments and text reminders to increase and expedite patient payments. Using billing automation to flag and correct claim errors, increase clean claims rates, and automatically resubmit claims can also significantly improve accounts receivable rates. 

3. Insurance payment rate

This KPI tracks the percentage of claims with insurance payment received within 45 days of service.

  • Top performers: 90–100%

This is another KPI that directly impacts cash flow and overall financial health. A high insurance payment rate within 45 days of service indicates that a practice is efficiently managing its billing processes and maintaining effective relationships with insurance companies. 

Practices that achieve high performance are likely using automated billing software, employing knowledgeable billing staff, and maintaining clear communication with insurance providers. ”

Prompt payments from insurers ensure a steady stream of revenue. This enables your practice to easily cover operational costs and invest in resources. This metric also reflects the efficiency of the practice's revenue cycle management, highlighting its ability to minimize delays and reduce the administrative burden of chasing payments.

Practices that achieve high performance are likely using automated billing software, employing knowledgeable billing staff, and maintaining clear communication with insurance providers.

For practices struggling with this metric, it is crucial to review and optimize billing processes, ensure staff are well-trained, and leverage technology to streamline operations. Achieving a high insurance payment rate not only improves cash flow but also enhances the practice's financial stability and capacity for delivering quality patient care.

To reduce billing and insurance complexity:

  • Use a billing system that integrates across the full reimbursement cycle and integrates with your EHR
  • Implement robotic process automation to hand off repeatable tasks
  • Use a system with a claims scrubber

4. eRx rate

This KPI measures the percentage of medications sent electronically in the last 30 days.

  • Top performers: 90–100%

A high eRx rate signifies that a practice is effectively using an EHR to manage prescriptions, ensuring accuracy and efficiency. Practices that excel in this area are likely to benefit from reduced administrative burdens. After all, electronic prescribing minimizes the need for phone calls to pharmacies and manual prescription entries. This efficiency allows healthcare providers to spend more time focusing on patient care rather than paperwork. Furthermore, high eRx rates are often associated with better medication adherence, as electronic systems can provide patients with automatic reminders to fill and take their medications.

On the other hand, a low eRx rate may indicate that a practice is not fully taking advantage of available technology, which can lead to increased risks of prescription errors, longer wait times for patients, and higher administrative workloads. 

For practices with low eRx rates, it is crucial to invest in training staff on electronic prescribing systems, ensuring that all healthcare providers are comfortable and proficient in using these tools. By improving the eRx rate, practices can enhance patient safety, streamline operations, and ultimately provide higher quality care.

5. Manual billing

This metric measures staff minutes spent on manual billing activities per provider.

  • Industry average: 10 minutes
  • Top performers: Under 4 minutes

Manual billing can be a significant drain on resources for healthcare practices, impacting both efficiency and financial performance. Spending a large amount of time on manual billing activities indicate that staff are engaged in repetitive, time-consuming tasks that could be automated. 

This not only reduces productivity but also increases the risk of errors in billing, which can lead to claim denials, delayed payments, and patient dissatisfaction. 

The more manual your practice’s processes are, the more time is taken away from delivering patient care. ”

If your practice spends a minimal amount of time on manual billing, this reflects your proficiency in using automated billing systems. It’s likely that top performers in this KPI have implemented comprehensive electronic billing solutions that streamline the entire billing process, from charge capture to claim submission and follow-up. 

These systems reduce the need for manual data entry, minimize errors, and expedite the billing cycle. Practices that achieve this level of efficiency can process claims more quickly — so they get paid faster and enjoy more liquidity in their practices. 

Conversely, practices with high manual billing times may struggle with outdated systems or insufficient training on available technologies. To address this, it's essential to invest in modern billing software and provide thorough staff training. Automating billing processes not only frees up time for staff to focus on more value-added tasks, but also enhances accuracy and compliance with billing regulations. 

The more manual your practice’s processes are, the more time is taken away from delivering patient care. 

6. Minutes per patient intake

This KPI measures the time spent collecting and entering patient data.

  • Industry average: 10 minutes

The time spent on patient intake is a critical metric for healthcare practices as it impacts the overall patient experience and operational efficiency. Prolonged intake processes can lead to longer wait times, increased patient frustration, and reduced throughput. All of which affect a practice's ability to see more patients and generate revenue. Efficient patient intake procedures ensure that patients are quickly and accurately registered, which sets the tone for the rest of their visit and can significantly enhance their satisfaction.

A lower number of minutes spent on patient intake indicates that a practice has streamlined its processes and possibly adopted advanced technologies to facilitate quick and efficient data collection. Practices that perform well in this area often use EHR systems and patient portals that allow patients to enter their information online before their appointment. This reduces the need for manual data entry by staff and minimizes the risk of errors, leading to faster and more accurate intake processes.

Practices with higher intake times may be using outdated systems or relying heavily on manual processes. ”

Practices with higher intake times may be using outdated systems or relying heavily on manual processes, which can slow down operations and negatively impact patient satisfaction. For these practices, investing in digital solutions and training staff on efficient data entry techniques can make a significant difference. By optimizing the intake process, practices can reduce wait times, improve patient flow, and create a more positive experience for patients from the moment they walk through the door.

7. Time in preauthorization and verification

This metric measures the time spent preauthorizing procedures and verifying insurance per week.

  • Top performers: 70% of practices spend under 10 hours per week

Time spent on preauthorization and verification is crucial, because it impacts patient access to care and the financial health of a practice. Preauthorizations are often necessary to ensure that procedures and treatments will be covered by insurance, while verification confirms the patient's coverage details. 

Excessive time spent on these tasks can delay patient care, reduce staff productivity, and lead to potential revenue losses if services are denied coverage after being provided. Efficient handling of these tasks ensures timely patient care, improves cash flow, and reduces administrative burdens.

Practices that spend more than 10 hours per week on these tasks may struggle with inefficiencies or lack of automation. This can lead to longer patient wait times, increased administrative workload, and potential revenue loss from unpaid claims. 

To save administrative time in this area, consider investing in technology that automates preauthorization and insurance verification processes, and provide training for staff to enhance their efficiency. A user-friendly digital insurance eligibility tool to verify insurance and check benefits, copays, and coverage levels in seconds is your best friend in this instance. 

By reducing the time spent on these tasks, you can improve operational efficiency, enhance patient satisfaction, and ensure a more stable revenue stream.

What to do next

For many providers, the administrative burdens of private practice can stand in the way of delivering care the way you want. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Practice automation provides a solid foundation for reducing inefficiencies and thriving amidst change. Starting your automation journey requires just a few initial actions. The good news is that you’ve already made significant progress by identifying how much time you spend in each practice area.

Continue your journey towards greater efficiency and freedom by downloading The Ultimate Guide to Practice Automation today to continue your journey to practice automation — and freedom.

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About the survey

The results in this report are from an online survey that was fielded from October 30 to November 13, 2023. There were 291 respondents to the survey. Respondents self-identified as physicians, nurse practitioners, and clinicians who work at an independent practice. All respondents personally see patients and use electronic health records. Their specilalities were primary care (36%); mental health (31%); pedaitrics (18%); and other healthcare providers (15%). The survey results were not weighted.

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Becky Whittaker, specialist SEO copywriter

Becky Whittaker is a specialist SEO copywriter with over a decade of experience and an interest in healthcare and legal marketing. Becky believes that independent practices are critical because they have more opportunities to deliver better patient care and personalize patients’ experiences. She also has a personal connection to the healthcare industry, as her sister-in-law is a pediatrician.

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