Your Data and Practice Management Metrics
Can Dr. Ben get the benefits of data-informed decision making in his Practice Management?
Carmen stomped around the kitchen, slamming cabinet doors, and mixing ingredients furiously. Ben wondered how dinner would taste with this level of irritation mixed in.
“I am so mad,” Carmen informed him, as though he could have missed that. “You know a restaurant like mine is always just on the edge of profitability.”
“I thought the pizzeria was doing well,” Ben objected.
“We are! But doing well for a pizza place can be an 8% margin. I believe in giving good value, treating my workers well, and using fresh ingredients. And every time I turn around there’s another expense!” Carmen slammed the oven.
“Hey, come sit down and let me get you a glass of water.”
“I know I’m making a big deal over this, but seriously, Ben, this just makes me mad. We’ve had Wifi in the restaurant since we opened, and now all of a sudden we’re supposed to pay an extra fee and buy a special router and — I don’t know. I’m going to have to sell five more pizzas a day just to keep the same level of service I have now.”
“So don’t have Wifi,” suggested Ben.
“In a pizza place? You’re kidding, right?” Carmen shook her head. “Hospitality industry surveys say that over 70% of my regular customers could go elsewhere if I didn’t have free Wifi for them.”
“Does it have to be free?” Carmen’s pitying expression answered the question. Ben persevered. “Okay, what if you raise the price of the pizza to cover the extra cost of the Wifi?”
“How can you do that?” Ben asked his wife. “It took you less than a minute to figure that out.”
“In business, you have to know your numbers,” Carmen said firmly.
“How can anyone know all those numbers?” Ben objected. “We have so many numbers in our practice, I don’t even know what I should be keeping track of, let alone what to do with them.”
“Then how do you know when you need to hire another staff member, which products to stock, or which services are most profitable?”
Ben considered the question. “I guess I don’t. We’re tied into all kinds of information systems, but they don’t seem to connect with decisions about the practice. As long as we’re doing pretty well and have enough money to pay everybody, I don’t really think about those things. If we’re falling behind, I cut out the free coffee in the break room…”
“And stay up nights worrying,” Carmen’s voice was soft. “Wouldn’t it make sense to have control of that information for your Practice Management?”
“I guess,” Ben frowned. “I don’t see how I can add any more to my work day, though, or to Pam’s.” Ben thought about his office manager. Pam was great, but he felt fairly sure that she didn’t have control of the numbers the way Carmen did.
Carmen stood up and went more calmly to check the oven. “Can you help Jonathan wash up for dinner? And thanks for helping me sort out my problem.”
“I’m always happy to help,” said Ben. He thought he might be the one who needed help, though.
Disclaimer: For HIPAA compliance, all characters appearing in this post are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons or actual events is purely coincidental.