'Moneyball' & key performance indicators: How to optimize your healthcare revenue cycle

Organizations often select key performance indicators that may not be the real drivers of success. Choosing KPIs with a data-driven mindset can help facilities reach their goals.  

At Becker's Hospital Review 4th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference in Chicago, Sept. 19-22, Nader Samii, CEO of National Medical Billing Services, referenced "Moneyball" to discuss how healthcare organizations can use data and analytics to optimize their revenue cycle.

In "Moneyball," Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane is faced with the lowest budget in baseball. Despite preconceived notions of the best way to do things, a data-driven mindset emphasizing analysis over intuition wins the day, and the same is true in sports and healthcare.

"'You can't manage what you don't measure' is one of my favorite sayings," Mr. Samii said. "KPIs need to be measurable — but many things are measurable that don't matter. Be very intentional about what you measure."

Mr. Samii claimed organizations should focus on their big-picture objectives and determine the key steps needed to achieve them. Organizations should carve out time to identify their top five goals and objectives for the quarter and the year. Then they should focus on prioritizing number one of five.

He gave the example of a facility with the goal of having the highest patient satisfaction rate in the market while maximizing cash flow and staying compliant. If the facility only tracks patient satisfaction, Mr. Samii said, that is a lagging indicator, which he describes as "an ultimate report card determining if we set out to achieve what we wanted to achieve." If the organization tracks the steps that lead to patient satisfaction, it is tracking leading indicators.

"At the end of the day," Mr. Samii said, "All numbers are there to tell a story. Really work with your team to get them to think about storytelling with numbers. There's no more powerful way to achieve your goals and objectives than to build in an economic incentive for your team."


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