Benchmarking and Data-Driven Decisions


By Stacy M. Menz, PT, DPT

I’m sure we have all said or thought this, but I am going to state the obvious: How is it already 2019?

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to benchmarking and data-driven decisions.

I love numbers, and I love spreadsheets. Yes, I know that not everyone feels that way, but I do. Now, I don’t always like what my numbers and spreadsheets are telling me, but that’s not their fault!

One of the challenges I have faced as a business owner is knowing what metrics I should be monitoring and measuring and what benchmarks I should use as my comparison. This is one of the reasons that I look forward to joining the PPS Benchmarking Program. Currently, our team sets our goals against our past performance, but we would like to have benchmark data to support that goal setting and performance.

As my practice has matured, the data points that we measure have changed. As we have used data to make decisions, we have learned what additional metrics would have helped us make better decisions and have added those metrics, and we have also noted that some of the metrics we tracked were not accurate measures of what we thought we were measuring or did not contribute meaningful data, so those metrics were retired. Basically stated, when we analyzed the results of our decisions, we realized that while the data we used to make my decision was good, it didn’t paint the whole picture, so we continue to tweak our key performance metrics to help fill in the picture and assist us in our decision making.

I would suggest looking at your big goal for your practice and deciding what factors you think influence that goal. Do you have the data on those factors? Can you track back through time to see how the change in those factors has impacted progress toward your big goal? Each quarter I get really excited (yes, I know I’m a little strange) to look at the numbers because I am hoping that they are showing that the decisions we made over the last months or quarters were ones that will continue our step-by-step progress toward our goals.

How are you using the data you have access to in your practice? Are you comparing it to your historical data and future goals or are you comparing it across industry standards? I challenge you to start your year by looking at what data you are collecting and how you are using it! If you are mathematically minded like me, you might even enjoy the process!