We business owners are incredibly busy and our time is precious. It’s important we make the most of it, especially when it comes to efficiently running an allied health business.
One of the best ways you can keep on top of things is by using the reports generated by your practice management software. For whatever reason though, I’ve noticed many allied health business owners don’t bother.
The main problem seems to be because they are simply too busy, but I wonder if the bigger issue is that people are simply unaware of the function and the amazing range of reports that can be generated.
Business is a numbers game
Generally, practice management software is only used as a place to store client-related data. For example, invoicing, billing and receipting. It might hold phone calls and emails; it might hold scans, documents of plans and reports and test outcomes, and all of those wonderful clinical session notes and so forth.
There’ll be a whole lot of other stuff in there too, particularly if you use the calendar function, or if you have a couple of other waiting list functions built in.
I can understand how it gets missed, but I want to alert you to the fact that there is a treasure chest of gold waiting for you to click through and explore and, best of all, use.
You’ve heard me say it before, “Business is a numbers game.” It’s all about the data, if you like. I think it’s important to have a business dashboard so you know where your numbers are, what they are, and what you want your numbers to be.
Finding the hidden opportunity
There is a lot of interesting data in your practice management software, and your data is your future business driver. It really helps you understand and learn to love the numbers that sit behind your business.
Yes, there is a huge collection of numbers sitting in MYOB and Xero – they’re your hardcore reality financial numbers. But there are other numbers and other data that tell you more about your team and your team’s performance, your customers, your customer service, and some of the more operational stuff as well.
Besides helping you build your business, looking at and dissecting your customer data numbers can really help make a difference to your manager’s mindset if they know you’re on top of things.
One of the other major benefits is it helps you compare current experience to past experience. So, current status to past status. That will all help you understand and learn to determine what future numbers and future reports are going to be.
Relying on numbers, not a hunch
In every practice management software, there will be some reports you can get on what your beautiful team are delivering. They will tell you things like how many sessions your clinical team is delivering, how many cancellations each of your clinicians is having, and how many cancellations you might be having across a day, a week, or a month.
I’ve noticed a lot of allied health business owners think they have a handle on things and rely on memory and a couple of old documents. If that’s you, your practice management software reporting will actually be your ‘zero moment of truth’. It will be able to confirm or deny that hunch you might have that one clinician may not be retaining clients, or that there be more cancellations against another clinician.
When you do it often enough – every week or month – it will also help you pick up errors and learn to notice when something might be off.
Staying on top of trends
A great example of one of the favourite reports that I used to pull from my practice management software was a “billings report.” It was often three or four pages of everything we sold.
I had a retail part to the business, a toy store. With this report, I could see what items were selling and what items weren’t working so well. From this, we had regular “hot or not” meetings and made decisions based on our sales report.
The other great thing for me was a report on how many assessments we’d done, how many 45-minute sessions onsite and offsite, how many 60-minute sessions onsite and offsite, how many reviews we did, how many screenings we did, how many workshops we delivered, and so on.
I could also get reports on what each of my clinicians had been billing for, which was very interesting because that helped me map against the invoice they sent me, just as a way of double-checking that the numbers were adding up. Invariably, there were differences but that’s when you’ll get an error notification and know what you need to do to tighten all of that up.
For me, the process of getting reports from the practice management software very soon became a habit. I made time in my schedule for it and to make sure everything ran smoothly, I put some procedures in place. We had time markers in place right across the month to make sure we were on target, onboard, getting data in.
It was understood that I expected all business information was in the software and was clean and tidy by a certain date of the month so my practice management software could pull the reports. I always like to print them. I know, old school, but it just made such a difference to be able to see them and see a lot of information really quickly.
We made mistakes because we’re human, but the more we did it, the tighter our systems got and the lower our error rates became.
Adjusting the business
Getting these reports also helped me know where I needed to be managing a little bit more assertively. We were also able to adjust cancellations policies, among other things. We knew what people liked and what they didn’t like. We knew what we needed to change so that it was more palatable and acceptable, and even interesting, for our customers.
Most importantly, the reports from the practice management software really helped me make future business decisions based on what the market was voting for with their time and resources.
We would often pull the data out and put it in a spreadsheet or CSV file so we were able to compare months, which was an absolute budgeting dream. Of course, that was a big plus for my bookkeeping and accounting team.
The data in the practice management software was my truth source. This went side-by-side in comparison with MYOB, which we were using at the time – I now use Xero – and I was able to run checks and balances across both platforms to be able to inform management decisions, leadership decisions, adjustments we needed to policies and procedures, marketing, so on and so forth.
Utilising the reports
Nowadays, there’s all sorts of other opportunities that are available on the back of using the reports from your practice management software. There are applications that are connected to quite a few of the practice management software systems that really dial up the practitioner’s experience, but also really amplify the customer’s experience, and the customer service side of things.
I am reluctant to mention any brands, but those who are heavily engaged in your practice management software will know about those workflow automation apps and the value they can bring to your clinic.
So, I encourage you to find the time to have a look at your dashboard and reports, perhaps print some things out, and discuss them with your team. I promise you will be empowered to make even better business and leadership decisions.