As the saying goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Truly successful physician practices and networks, whether independent or hospital-sponsored, thoroughly understand their financial and operating performance. They know what’s working and what’s not and have corrective action plans in place for continuous improvement. A helpful first step toward fully understanding financial performance is to conduct a benchmarking analysis that compares the network’s or practice’s performance to industry/normative data. When completed, leadership has a much clearer understanding of “gaps” that may require further examination. For example, if gross charges appear low relative to norms, after further analysis, it can be determined the extent to which the causes may be related to billing policies and procedures, fee levels, coding methods, provider productivity or some combination. Such an analysis also helps with determining what level of performance can be actually achieved, which further aids in the annual budgeting process.
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