The Top KPIs You Should Be Measuring and Why

To see practice growth, it’s crucial for owners to be measuring and analyzing key metrics.
Photo Credit: Moments, Getty Images

As a multi-office practice owner, staying on top of each practice’s metrics is essential to the foundation of our success. With four offices to track, it’s easiest to measure key performance indicators (KPIs) separately for each individual office. It’s like having four children — they all behave and act differently. Each office also has different historical data, so it’s easier to look office by office rather than at the business at-large.

Our primary clinic is 17 years old, and our first pediatric clinic is 10 years old, so when we’re looking at those numbers, there’s more historical data that we can reference on a monthly basis. Our two newest practices opened in the last year, so right now, there’s little data. This makes it difficult to metricize any kind of data for the newer offices. However, from a business ownership standpoint, we do have a pretty good idea as to what a rough net profit percentage is and what sales percentages should be. When I’m looking at those numbers, I have to adjust my expectations on raw numbers and focus more on percentage alignments — these are the “younger children” versus the more mature “teenagers.”

What KPIs Should You Be Tracking?
When it comes to KPIs, I think the most important one all practitioners should be tracking is the volume of patients. That’s the lifeblood of any practice and what starts every other metric, so that’s a big deal. High retention rates are a key internal KPI, and new patient numbers are paramount in tracking your marketing efforts and budget.

After that, number two should be conversion ratios. Unfortunately, our industry is not uniform in how it metricizes conversions. In our practice, to make things easier, we consider a conversion to be a year supply of contact lenses or a pair of glasses. Our goal is to have a one-to-one ratio: for every patient who comes in for a comprehensive exam, we either sell a pair of glasses or a year supply of contacts. While there’s always going to be some patients who get both and some patients who get neither, our goal is to aim for a one-to-one ratio.

How KPIs Affect Your Business Perspective
Across all four of our offices, we ask ourselves one major question when thinking about KPIs: Why do we measure what we shouldn’t be measuring? For example, I’ve found that many practitioners consider digital imaging or anti-reflective coating to be a primary KPI. They’ll look at their practices from the lens of: How do we raise our anti-reflective coating percentage, or how do we raise our digital imaging percentages? Instead, in our offices we make both of these our “standard of care.” One-hundred percent of our patients get anti-reflective coating on their lenses, and 100% get digital imaging — this isn’t a metric for us, it has become our standard of care. 

We’ve looked at a lot of the industry standards and KPIs and thought, which of these KPIs could we eliminate by making them our standard of care? By eliminating a lot of those potential metrics that weren’t going to be perfect anyway, we actually increased a lot of our other KPIs just by default. My biggest piece of advice for practitioners struggling with KPIs would be to find out which metrics are industry standards that you could eliminate by making them your 100% standard of care — instead of fighting with every patient for them. 

Measuring Leads to Growth
For practitioners who may feel overwhelmed by the idea of tracking KPIs or metrics in general, my biggest piece of advice would be that we all have to start somewhere. You can’t grow what you can’t measure. Start small and see where it takes you. Start with three to five KEY performance indicators. ONLY track things that you are willing to change.

The other piece of advice I would give is that if you really want to move the needle, sometimes you have to take one step backward to move two steps forward. For example, we had a problem with drop shipping year supplies of contacts. Our front staff was getting a lot of pushback from patients that we were charging too much at $8. As an experiment, I thought we would play around to see what would affect our numbers. So, we started by offering patients free shipping for one month. Within one month, we got 100% drop shipped to all of our contact lens year supplies. From there, we increased shipping to $2 for a month, which didn’t change anything. When we then raised it to $4, we saw that metric drop to 85%, and that showed us that $4 was our wheelhouse to maximize the metric. Keeping things at $4 gave us a balance between what the customers wanted and what the practice needed. That’s the duality of most KPIs — it’s not just what we want as business owners, but what the patients are going to accept, combined with the comfort level of the staff’s presentation. 

Get Your Staff Involved
Ensuring that your staff is aware of the metrics you’re tracking is key to your success as a practice. Across our offices, we utilize visual aids or games that get everybody involved and excited to participate. When there’s a visual aid in the break room that everyone can track their own progress on, it’s amazing how everyone comes together, works together, and doesn’t want to let anyone down. The visuals help because everyone knows what their role is, and everyone knows what the goal is. 

Finally, for doctors and private practice owners, it’s also important to have KPIs for ourselves. We need to work on our financials, because there are many internal metrics that can be beneficial from a cashflow standpoint and a business standpoint. We need to hold ourselves AND the business accountable to that same pressure and measurements that we’re holding others accountable to. 

  • Jeremy Ciano, OD

    Dr. Jeremy Ciano has built his Carmel-based practice by earning each patient’s trust and respect with a welcoming smile, high energy, and a genuine passion for delivering personalized health care. As an international lecturer, Dr. Ciano has presented in over 20 states, Europe, and at nearly 100 venues, while also publishing multiple articles in several nationally peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Ciano has also assisted over 40 practices with his business consulting work around the United States. Dr. Ciano was recognized as one of “America's Top Optometrists” in 2012 and again in 2016. Dr. Ciano also holds the title as one of the top Bifocal Contact Lens Doctors in the Midwest. Furthermore, the Indy Channel's A-List ranked Dr. Ciano's RevolutionEYES as one of the top optometry offices in the state of Indiana. Dr. Ciano is a member of the Indiana Optometric Association, the American Optometric Association, the Contact Lens and Cornea Association, and the Sports Vision Association. He has also been privileged to serve as the state director for IDOC (Independent Doctors of Optometric Care) since 2010.

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