January 15, 2022

What is a Healthcare KPI?

A healthcare Key Performance Indicator (KPI) or metric is a well-defined performance measure that is used to observe, analyze, optimize, and transform a healthcare process to increase satisfaction for both patients and healthcare providers alike.

These metrics are commonly used by care facilities to compare their performance to other care facilities and identify areas of improvement.

Why Are Healthcare KPIs Essential?

Tracking your healthcare organization’s performance can help you improve services and give you a greater understanding of your operations. As healthcare professionals, the mission is to offer the best possible service to patients and clients, and to reduce mistakes that could be conceivably life-threatening.

To choose the right KPI, healthcare specialists need to consider the goal of their metrics. One of the most common and effective uses of KPI is quantifying patients’ stays and experiences at a hospital. These KPIs measure the length of stays, how long patients must wait for service, and if they were readmitted.

Average Hospital Stay

Just as the name implies, this KPI tracks the average length of time patients stay in the hospital. Using average hospital stay as a single KPI to track all the different categories of stay in your facility won't prove to be very helpful. The recovery from heart surgery will almost always be a longer stay than a patient who underwent a cataract surgery. Instead, this KPI should be broken up and used for each category of stay. After some analysis of the results, healthcare facilities will be able to create a target length of stay for each category.

Staff-To-Patient Ratio

This indicator measures the amount of staff resource present to attend to the patients in a hospital over a certain period. This KPI may require different ratios for different periods of time, such as morning shift vs. night shift, and should be broken up accordingly. Staff-to-patient ratio is a good indicator for business objectives that aim to improve the quality of patient care, as well as improving workforce sustainability.

Average Insurance Claim Processing Time and Cost

This can be calculated by finding the mean of the total time and total cash spent by a hospital on insurance claims. A low amount denotes that the hospital gets the payment faster and there are low charges on treatment fees.

Claims Denial Rate

The purpose of using this quantifiable indicator is to check out the efficiency of the revenue cycle of a hospital.

Patient Bed/Room Turnover

This measure should be reported with bed availability and indicates how efficiently patients are being discharged from and admitted to the facility. Changes should also be tracked against unscheduled readmission rates to ensure that pressure to discharge patients promptly are not driving any increases in readmission rates.

Medical Equipment Utilization

This KPI can be overlooked, but it should be reported as well as it has implications for patients and finance. The results can help prioritize the purchase of new, advanced, high-cost equipment. It can also be an early warning system for over-used equipment that is in danger of needing maintenance potentially leading to diagnostic and treatment delays.

Accounts Receivable Turnover

Accounts receivable (AR) is an indicator of how efficiently the organization is collecting receivables. Even small improvements in the revenue cycle can contribute to the overall financial health of the organization.

Patient Wait Time = Total Wait Time / Number of Patients

The primary objective of a healthcare facility is to provide the highest quality of care possible to patients. However, this is only feasible if the hospital or clinic can keep its finances in the black.

Net Profit Margin

At the end of the day, you need to be “in the black.” The net profit, or “bottom line” as people like to call it, is compared to the amount of revenue that your business generates, giving you your net profit margin.

In this day and age, healthcare professionals are not only focused on the science behind their area of expertise, but on how to provide the best possible care, ensuring optimal hospital performance, and effectively managing occupancy and costs. Patient charts and records are now available in a digital database. While this digital revolution makes things easier for healthcare providers and creates a higher quality of care, it can also provide a quantitative analysis of the operational performance at a hospital or clinic. Patient data can be extracted and transformed into healthcare KPIs that can be monitored on a dashboard or provided to executives in the form of reporting.