on March 14, 2023 (last modified on March 5, 2023) • 26 minute read
A successful healthcare facility requires a lot more than hiring world-class healthcare providers. You need solid processes that maximize patient satisfaction while minimizing operational inefficiencies. The same is achievable with a healthcare KPI dashboard in place.
However, with numerous KPIs and metrics available, creating and tracking healthcare dashboards can be daunting. Not anymore, though.
In this article, we thoroughly discuss different metrics along with common healthcare KPI dashboard examples, so you can choose the ones that work for you.
Here’s exactly what we’ll cover in this article:
A healthcare KPI (key performance indicator) is a metric that measures the performance of your healthcare service. These healthcare KPIs can be both quantitative and qualitative in nature and cover a wide range of areas, including operational efficiency, quality of care, financial performance, etc.
On the other hand, a healthcare KPI dashboard is a visual representation of your chosen metrics that are updated in real-time. Instead of tracking multiple metrics differently, a dashboard displays them all in a central location.
Generally, the hospital administration tracks these KPIs to improve patient satisfaction and business performance. But are tracking healthcare KPIs even necessary?
Related: What Is KPI Reporting? KPI Report Examples, Tips, and Best Practices
One thing is a fact, and that is work never stops in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. With so much already on one’s plate, should they really spend their scarce time monitoring KPIs? Well, yes.
Tracking healthcare metrics help in:
One important thing to note here is that you should be using healthcare-specific KPIs to measure performance. While tracking year-end profits and operational costs is necessary, you must monitor metrics tailored to the healthcare industry.
This is because the healthcare industry is highly regulated, and the tolerance for mistakes is very low. Breaking down each step in the process of providing care and optimizing them is how you can achieve ultimate patient satisfaction, stay in the good books of regulators, and be at the top of your game.
To answer this question and understand how healthcare businesses monitor their KPI dashboards, we conducted a short research. We interviewed 8 companies operating in the healthcare business, with 5 of them being agencies/consultants working for healthcare businesses and 3 being healthcare businesses.
7 out of 8 respondents shared that they’ve been actively creating and using healthcare KPI dashboards for some time, while only one has just started creating and using them.
When asked about how frequently they check their medical KPI dashboards, the majority of our respondents review them on a weekly basis.
This seems to be a good balance as the healthcare administration can make any tweaks to their strategy if, for instance, they see a greater influx of patients in the case of a viral disease.
The performance of your healthcare business can be monitored using a number of healthcare KPIs, which can further be classified into six major types. Ideally, you should be tracking at least one from each to have a holistic idea of how your healthcare business is performing.
The common types of healthcare KPIs are:
Let’s take a look at these types in detail.
Operational healthcare KPIs are metrics that measure and evaluate a hospital or clinic’s day-to-day operations and processes. The main focus of these KPIs is to increase operational efficiency and avoid any hiccups in the process of providing care.
Think of it as a machine. A rusty machine will not have the same output as a well-oiled one. Staying on top of your operational metrics will lower operational costs, reduce frustration faced by medical practitioners and increase patient satisfaction.
Financial healthcare metrics are concerned with revenue, costs, and profits/losses made. In other words, the top and bottom lines of your healthcare facility.
Measuring these KPIs ensure that your business doesn’t run out of money and makes enough to provide the value to remain competitive in the industry.
There are a number of KPIs that fall under the financial umbrella, but some are more important than others. Cayley Vos from Netpaths Marketing shares which financial metrics are important for them.
Vos says, “Revenue per patient and insurance reimbursement. This profit tracking dashboard changes the direction of home health agencies and shows them how to recapture lost insurance money.”
Related: Overcome Financial Reporting Challenges with These 6 Best Practices
This healthcare KPIs type shouldn’t be confused with operational metrics as they focus primarily on staff and internal processes.
The success of a healthcare facility lies in its people, i.e., healthcare practitioners. Processes created to support them will ensure no safety hazards and mistakes made with unfavorable consequences. Hence, all metrics dealing with the training and safety of staff can be grouped into this type.
Public healthcare metrics are concerned with the general masses as opposed to individual healthcare businesses. Then, why should your hospital or clinic measure them?
Well, the more well-informed and healthy the society is, the lesser the burden on the emergency room and healthcare professionals. A community that gets regular vaccinations and is aware of diseases and their prevention will benefit all healthcare organizations.
This is a proactive healthcare metric, and if the results are poor, then your marketing team must play its part in informing the society about seasonal illnesses and their prevention methods, for instance.
As the name implies, these healthcare KPIs deal with the emergency care provided and, ultimately, patient survival. The emergency room of a hospital is the most critical one. If there aren’t solid processes set in place and tracked consistently, there can be panic during a crisis and an increase in the patient mortality rate.
These metrics evaluate the quality of the care provided. Monitoring care quality metrics ensures high patient satisfaction, low readmission (discharged patients readmitted again), and a high referral rate – whereby good word of mouth results in more footfall at the healthcare facility.
We’ll now be looking at the individual healthcare metrics in detail that belong in each of these categories.
There are numerous healthcare KPIs available, but that doesn’t mean you should track them all. If you’re just starting out, you should pick the most critical ones and visually represent them through dynamic dashboards.
Speaking of dashboards, we asked our respondents about the software they use to monitor their facility’s performance. Their answers ranged from specialized software like Ubiq Healthcare Dashboard to dashboard software like Tableau, Microsoft BI, Google Data Studio, etc.
Another dashboard tool that can you get started in no time is Databox. One thing about healthcare businesses is that their information is stored in different spreadsheets, databases, and whatnot.
Fortunately, Databox lets you pull your data from SQL databases, Excel, Google Sheets, and other sources. And if that doesn’t work, our product team can build custom integrations for your business so that you can track these important metrics in appealing dashboards smoothly.
Now that you know the right tool for the job, which metrics should you include in a healthcare KPI dashboard?
We asked our respondents the same, and per them, the top 5 KPIs included in a healthcare business performance dashboard are:
We’ll be discussing the above healthcare metrics in detail below.
The inpatient satisfaction rate is an essential care quality metric that each and every healthcare business should be monitoring. It measures how happy and content patients are with the services being provided to them.
Prav Solanki from Prav.com agrees, “Inpatient satisfaction rate is the most important indicator for success. If more patients are happy and are continuously seeking the service of our client, it means they are on the right track. If not, we have to create strategies that will ensure customer’s loyalty.”
The inpatient satisfaction rate can be calculated through the below formula:
Inpatient Satisfaction Rate = (Number of satisfied patients / Total number of patients surveyed) * 100
A higher number is desired; if it isn’t, you need to make some changes. A satisfied patient leaves a good review, chooses your facility again, and spreads positive word of mouth in their social circles.
A better way to get an in-depth idea of patients’ satisfaction levels is by pairing this metric with qualitative questions regarding the quality of physician and nursing care, cleanliness, responsiveness, etc.
You can then analyze these responses, find patterns, and address areas of concern.
This operational healthcare metric deals with how quickly patients move in and out of your hospital/clinic. You’d want to track this metric for a couple of reasons.
For starters, it measures how equipped the facility is to take more patients. If the percentage is low consistently, then efforts need to be made to a) increase the number of beds/rooms or b) evaluate if patients are being asked to stay for longer than what is required.
Secondly, measuring the bed/room turnover rate enables you to align the cleaning team to prepare the room for the next patient. This step is crucial because it can reduce the risk of infection spread.
While you’d want to aim for a speedy cleaning process to accommodate more patients, certain guidelines need to be set that get the job done in an optimized time.
The bed or room turnover can be calculated through the below formula.
Bed or Room Turnover Rate = (Number of discharges / Number of beds) * 100
The average treatment cost is a financial metric that tracks how much a treatment costs to the hospital.
This is an expense, and naturally, you’d want to lower it as much as possible. However, you need to be cautious not to reduce it to the extent that the healthcare quality is affected.
The reason behind monitoring average treatment costs is to identify any inefficiencies causing the hospital money.
You can also calculate the treatment cost for different treatment types and age groups. This will help you budget better and optimize processes that optimize your spending.
Use the below formula to calculate average treatment costs.
Average Treatment Costs = Total treatment costs / Number of treatments
As the name implies, this financial metric monitors the cost associated with processing insurance claims. In other words, the amount of money you spend on insurance companies to receive your dues.
The insurance claim processing cost can be high if you’re not careful. If you’re curious about how much you spend on processing insurance claims, refer to the formula below.
Insurance Claim Processing Cost = Total cost spent on processing claims / Number of claims processed
The cost here can greatly vary depending on the type of claim and the insurance company. To lower this cost, you can negotiate prices with insurance companies – this is effective, especially if you process a number of claims with them.
Additionally, some healthcare facilities use a third-party service to process insurance claims; this will obviously affect the cost as well.
The claims denial rate is a crucial metric to track since most patients prefer paying through their medical insurance. To ensure your healthcare business has a healthy cash flow, you need to keep the claims denial rate to a minimum.
The claims denial rate monitors the number of times an insurance company refuses to pay. If you want to find the claims denial rate of your hospital/clinic, use the below formula:
Claims Denial Rate = (Number of denied claims / Total number of claims) * 100
There can be multiple reasons behind rejected claims. For Travis James of Fell of Bright Health, it is provider data on claims payment.
James says, “The most valuable KPI I’ve experienced is the impact of provider data on claims payment. I use the two metrics to track this KPI: 1) Trends in claims payment vendor provider record reject rate and 2) Trends in claims pended for provider data pend codes.”
“The first metric is a leading indicator to potential claims payment delays or inaccuracies. When coupled with summaries by reject code and drill-downs to rejected records, this KPI can be a powerful lever for driving improvements in provider data workflow and data assets. The second metric is a lagging indicator of claims impact of provider data actions.”
No one likes to wait long periods of time to meet their doctors. Not only does it waste the time of your patients, but it adds to the anxiety when meeting a doctor for your illness. This is the case for normal check-ups – one can only imagine how heightened this feeling may be when waiting for a surgery.
Patient wait time for the operating room (OR) in hospitals measures the amount of time a patient has to wait between the moment their surgery is scheduled and the time they actually enter the OR for their procedure.
The OR patient wait time can be calculated through the below formula:
Patient Wait Time for OR = Time when the patient arrives in the hospital – Time when the operation starts
If you want to calculate the average OR wait time, divide the total wait times for different patients by the number of patients that visited during your selected time frame.
Naturally, you’d want to keep this figure low. Longer wait times result in dissatisfied patients and a higher chance of complications, as you don’t want to keep a seriously ill patient waiting.
For David Jaeger from Result Kitchen, the most important healthcare KPI to track is new clients per week. Jaeger says, “As consultants (cofounders) for a therapy practice, the #1 driver of our business has been weekly new clients (broken down by therapist).”
One great way to increase the number of new clients to your healthcare facility is experiencing a high number of referral patients.
Referral patients are those that have been sent from one healthcare facility to another for their treatment. They can be referred by their friends and family or by another healthcare professional for specialized treatment.
No matter the source, a high number of referral patients mean that your services are satisfactory and of top quality, which is why they were referred to you.
Calculate the number of referral patients through the below formula:
Number of Referral Patients = Total number of referral patients / Total number of patients
Following up with patients after their appointments increase customer satisfaction and reduce the chances of readmissions.
These follow-ups can range in intensity. A follow-up can be a single check-in asking patients how they’re feeling or can be a notification updating about a prescription change.
Ideally, you should be tracking the patient follow-up rate for different treatments. For instance, you’ll be following up more with patients recovering from a bypass surgery as opposed to a wisdom tooth removal.
Filtering the follow-up rates based on different treatments helps you to create SOPs for delivering quality care consistently.
Calculate the patient follow-up rate with the following formula:
Patient Follow-Up Rate = (Number of follow-Ups / Total number of patients) *100
The healthcare industry is a highly regulated one. Surely, any patient confidentiality breaches will not only get you penalized by the regulators but will promote a negative reputation for your healthcare business.
A confidentiality breach occurs whenever a patient’s private information is disclosed to an unauthorized third party. You can monitor the occurrences of these events and focus on bringing them to none.
Here are some ways you can protect patient confidentiality:
One important metric that you should include in your healthcare KPI dashboard is the number of canceled or missed appointments. A high number may suggest operational inefficiency as resources get wasted, and efforts need to be made to reschedule missed appointments.
To find out the number of missed/canceled appointments, use the below formula:
Cancellation Rate = (Number of missed appointments / Total number of appointments) * 100
Regarding no-show patients, Anthony Puopolo from Rexmd says, “Patients that cancel online appointments, suspend orders, or suddenly stop after repeated services can indicate gaps or problems in your business model that may be discouraging repeat business.”
Puopolo further says, “By looking at your KPIs in terms of discontinuation, you can make the appropriate alterations in everything from pricing to personnel and get your business back on track.”
To reduce the number of no-shows, you can send patients text or email reminders before their appointments, so they don’t miss them.
Another vital care quality metric that can make or break your operational efficiency is the number of patients per medical staff.
Having an optimal ratio will ensure your patients are treated well on time, and your medical staff isn’t left stressed out from dealing with back-to-back patients – a win-win situation if you ask us.
To calculate this ratio, use the below formula:
Number of Patients per Medical Staff = Number of staff : Number of patients
Some states have legally defined the minimum staff-to-patient ratio. For instance, in California, USA, the minimum nurse-to-staff ratio should be 1:2 in a critical unit.
Other states have shown some flexibility in this regard. Healthcare facilities should select a staff-to-patient ratio that works for them and maximizes patient and staff satisfaction.
Another must-tracked healthcare KPI is the bed occupancy rate or the number of beds in use at a time.
Why does this matter?
Taking a look at the bed occupancy rate will reveal the days of the month (or months of the year) when there are the most patients, and thus, more beds are occupied. This will help you preplan, so you don’t reach a stage where you’re out of beds for patients to be treated in.
A consistently high bed occupancy rate means you need some thinking to do. Maybe patients are being asked to stay longer for what’s required, or perhaps you need more beds in contrast to the number of patients your facility gets.
To find out the bed occupancy rate for your healthcare business, use the below formula:
Bed Occupancy Rate = (Number of occupied beds / Number of beds available) * 100
The average hospital stay is a good indicator of how efficiently your business is run. This metric measures how long patients stay in your hospital on average.
Use the below formula to calculate the average hospital stay for your healthcare facility:
Average Hospital Stay = Total length of stay of patients / Number of patients
Natasha Rei from Explainerd explains what a high and low stay means for your hospital/clinic. “If patients are staying longer than they should be, then there may be room for improvement. Conversely, if patients are leaving sooner than expected, then you may need to look into why that is the case. Tracking this KPI over time can help you make informed decisions about how to improve your hospital’s operations.”
To get the most from this metric, calculate it for different treatment types. Some treatments require more intensive care and hence, a longer stay in the hospital.
Doing this will help you preplan how long patients are expected to stay, and if they stay longer than that, you can analyze what went wrong.
Just like the patient wait time for OR, the ER wait time measures how long a patient has to wait to get treated in the emergency room.
Urgent care is supposed to be urgent, so long wait times will make your patients extremely dissatisfied. Naturally, you’d want to keep the wait time to a minimum to treat incoming patients as quickly as possible.
If you notice patterns when the ER wait time becomes higher than normal, you may want to increase the number of medical staff for that time for quick treatment.
To calculate the ER wait time (individual patients and average figure), use the below formulas:
ER Wait Time = Time when the patient arrives in the ER – Time when their treatment starts
If you want to calculate the average ER wait time, divide the total wait times for different patients by the number of patients that visited during a selected time frame.
As the name implies, the ER duration of treatment measures how long treatment takes in the ER. This is one step ahead of the ER wait time, and tracking both these metrics will result in operational efficiency, a calm emergency room, and satisfied patients.
The ER duration of treatment can be figured out by using the below formula:
ER Duration of Treatment = Time when treatment starts – Time when treatment ends
The ER witnesses a constant inflow of patients, and you’d want to optimize the treatment duration to treat more patients. However, don’t look to reduce the duration time to the extent that patients aren’t given their due treatments, and they have to be readmitted later on.
The wages you pay to full-time employees is an important KPI that many may not realize.
Wages are an expense; the more you pay your staff, the lower your profits. However, you get significant benefits in exchange for this deduction. If you continuously lower this expense, you risk losing your qualified staff to other healthcare businesses.
In the healthcare industry, many patients are loyal to their doctors first and then to the hospitals/clinics they operate in. So while you should be measuring this KPI, don’t get too obsessed with optimizing it.
No patient would like to know they were prescribed the wrong medicines. Not only is this a safety breach, but it can lead to serious medical complications for the patients involved.
The medication error rate tracks the occurrences of prescribing, dispensing, administering, and monitoring incorrect medications to patients.
Ideally, you don’t want to have any such occurrences considering the severity of the implications involved. To ensure the latter is possible, ensure strict SOPs and constantly train staff on prescribing and administering the right medications.
This metric can be calculated using the below formula:
Medication Error Rate: (Total number of medication errors / Total number of medication orders/administrations) * 100
As we saw above, mistakes are an absolute no-no in the healthcare industry. While you can’t guarantee zero mistakes made, you can significantly reduce this number by providing due training to the staff.
Training is ever so crucial but is also an expense. If you find yourself training employees at an abnormal rate and witness unsatisfactory performances, you might want to consider replacing them.
There are different ways to calculate this KPI, but the following formula provides a good start.
Number of Training for Employees = Number of training sessions or hours / Total number of employees
Now that you have a clear idea of the different healthcare KPIs you can track, it’s time to group them in meaningful dashboards.
According to our survey respondents, the patient satisfaction dashboard is the most used dashboard for monitoring a healthcare business.
We’ll be going over these medical practice KPI dashboards in detail below:
No wonder why the patient satisfaction dashboard is so popular among healthcare facilities, as it shows how happy the people are that get the business running.
No one likes visiting hospitals and clinics – it’s a stressful time for all. If you can make their stay a rather pleasant one, not only will you get repeat customers, but they will also spread positive word of mouth about you.
A patient satisfaction dashboard should provide you with a glance at how satisfactory the services are. It should include the following healthcare KPIs, among others:
A patient dashboard is slightly different than the patient satisfaction one. It also includes operational efficiency metrics that enable you to provide quality care to patients as they come and go. The idea is to get a holistic view of how patients are being treated.
Some key metrics to include in patients’ dashboards are:
To get the most from your patient dashboard, group these KPIs for different departments. This lets you easily identify which department is getting more footfall than the others. You can then alter your strategy to assist them better.
The hospital performance dashboard visualizes your healthcare facility’s financial, operational, and clinical performance. This dashboard should enable you to quickly identify which department is underperforming and if any corrective actions are needed.
Some essential metrics to include here are:
The purpose of monitoring a hospital KPI dashboard is to get a centralized view of how the medical facility operates.
This dashboard helps decision-makers determine if hospital staff needs to be increased, healthcare providers should be assigned to fewer patients, and which departments need more support in terms of employees and medical infrastructure.
Since this centralized dashboard is helpful for the top administration, you should include the KPIs that matter to you. However, adding the below metrics will get you started fast:
If your healthcare business has a network of different medical facilities, like hospitals, clinics, and hospices, you need to monitor this dashboard.
The hospital network KPI dashboard visualizes the financial performance and patient satisfaction levels across different facilities in the same network. The purpose of viewing this dashboard is to determine which facility is performing better than others and provide you with meaningful data to forecast performance in the future.
From a financial perspective, the metrics to include here are your gross and net profits, claims denial rate, and insurance claim processing cost.
From a patient satisfaction perspective, you must include the inpatient satisfaction rate and the medication error rate.
A clear view of your business’s performance is the first step toward growth. The second step is monitoring how you stack up against your competition.
To be the best healthcare business in your locality, you need to outdo your competition in the service you provide and how you promote it. This is where Databox Benchmarks Groups can be of major help.
Benchmarks Groups give you free and 100% anonymized access to the critical KPIs for similar healthcare businesses in your industry. How can you be sure it’s accurate? This information is shared with us directly by the companies operating in your industry.
Benchmark Groups gives you a full 360° view of your company’s KPIs across sales, marketing, finance, and more. You can use this meaningful data to make decisions around your strategy, plan for the future, set realistic budgets, and more.
Viewing benchmark data can be enlightening, but seeing where your company’s efforts rank against those benchmarks can be game-changing.
Browse Databox’s open Benchmark Groups and join ones relevant to your business to get free and instant performance benchmarks.
The following free Benchmarks Groups for healthcare businesses would be of interest to you:
There’s no denying the importance of a healthcare KPI dashboard in optimizing your business’s performance.
However, getting started with them is not the easiest. You need to find all the sources where you’ve stored important data, validate it for accuracy, calculate the metrics, and then manually create a dashboard to visualize them.
Who’s got the time (and patience) for that?
If you’re looking for a stress-free way to build dynamic healthcare KPI dashboards, you need Databox.
Using Databox, you just need to connect your data source, choose the metrics you want to track, and visualize them on an attractive dashboard – all of this takes a matter of minutes.
And if you love your new custom dashboard, you can save it as a template and use it for future reporting.
However, if you’re still short on time, you can use our free dashboard setup service. Simply mention what you want from your healthcare KPI dashboard, and our team will create it for you free of charge.
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