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Physical Therapy Documentation: Productivity Benchmarks in Your Documentation System
Nitin Chhoda discusses how setting benchmarks will allow your physical therapy documentation and practice to become more productive.
Efficiency and productivity are not always easy to measure, but with a few benchmarks included in your physical therapy documentation system, you will be able to view reports on how everyone is measuring up to expectations and goals.
Benchmarks for Determining Optimal Operational Levels
One way that benchmarks in physical therapy documentation can serve to improve productivity is to measure the productivity of providers. This can be a difficult line to draw, especially without any basis for comparison.
An EMR reporting system can help determine what the average number of patients per day is, as well as patients per day per physical therapist. But even then, you are relying on numbers without much context.
Because physical therapy documentation is so closely aligned with billing, one way to measure productivity is to track weighted procedures per provider work hour or weighted procedures per visit.
Weighted procedures are used by billing staff to determine which CPT billing codes to use, and those codes give a specific financial value to each appointment.
Using these numbers, you can come up with a much more precise measurement of productivity. Rather than just focusing on visits per day, which may have varying values depending on the visit, you can focus on the amount of billable work that is being done each day or even each hour.
The challenge is to come up with a quick and realistic system physical therapy documentation for collecting the data and measuring them against your goals or expectations.
Another measure of the productivity of a physical therapy documentation practice will be in the success the practice has with each individual patient.
Do many of your patients “self-discharge” before completing their anticipated number of appointments?
How often do you have no-shows or last minute cancellations? Are patients being discharged early because you cannot schedule new patients?
The average physical therapy documentation series will last for 9 appointments, depending on many factors, including diagnosis and affordability for the patient. However, 9 visits is an appropriate benchmark for practice management to anticipate and aim for.
Payments Per Weighted Procedure and Per Visit
Payments per weighted procedure and per visit can be dramatically different depending on where your physical therapy documentation practice is located and the productivity of each visit.
These two numbers should be used together as benchmarks for success. Let’s say you have a goal of averaging $90 per visit. If one physical therapists only bills for three weighted procedures, but another bills for four, the amount per visit will be dramatically different for the two providers.
The physical therapy documentation payment per weighted procedure amount is critical to these calculations. If you know what you can bill for, you can design the treatment plan around weighted procedures that can be billed to the insurance companies you work with. Setting benchmarks will allow your physical therapy documentation and practice to use that information and become more productive.