Any tool that can deliver detailed management level analysis at the start of every month is definitely worth the attention of any practice owner or manager. This allows rapid decision-making that can quite literally affect the financial and business performance for the month ahead and put decision makers well on the front foot and ahead of the competition.
This is the experience of Dr Chris Reardon, owner and director of the Warwick Veterinary Clinic group on Queensland’s Darling Downs. Chris’s practices, Warwick and Allora, implemented the RxWorks Quality Care System (QCS) with Performance Pack and Sparkline in 2014.
Sparkline is the compass on my roadmap to business success. At the start of the month, it gives me a detailed management level analysis to benchmark our performance against our strategic goals and expectations. Then year-on-year I can get a helicopter view to make sure that what I’m trying to achieve is coming to fruition and my company as a whole is meeting or exceeding industry standards.
Chris and his practice are benefitting from Sparkline’s reporting strengths, of the kind that is usually only available to large corporates with in-house accountants and data scientists. It delivers over 40 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and over 300 supporting trends in a visual and intuitive way.
Working along with your practice management solution, it clearly and concisely displays the information needed to help drive exceptional business performance. No in-house resource is required to run or maintain Sparkline, and there is no need for any advanced IT skills or additional hardware.
Sparkline Scorecard has a demonstrated track record of growing veterinary practice revenue and increasing profits. One of its biggest targets is missed charges, which constitute both a significant expense and potentially huge revenue opportunity for a majority of veterinary practices. An industry study highlighted these could amount to as much as 20 percent per annum1.
This is something Chris experienced with the installation of Sparkline Scorecard and QCS. The significant revenue growth and profit he experienced confirmed how effective this practice management combination is.
“We experienced a 22% increase in revenue in the first year of implementation,” says Chris, “followed by 11% and then 7% in the following years.” For Chris, one of the most rewarding outcomes of these excellent financial results was being able to reinvest additional profits back into staff and equipment.
“Business profitability and patient care are intertwined,” he says. “Veterinary professionals all want to provide good patient care. If you’re running a successful practice you generate more revenue, so you can afford more specialised equipment, which enables you to provide even better patient care. This, in turn, generates repeat business and increased customer conversions,” he explains.
Chris enjoys how Sparkline highlights missed business opportunities so clearly, which he describes in three categories. “The first missed charge is caused by a poor business mindset,” he says, “which means a veterinary practice fails to promote a particular product or service to the client.”
“The second is when the opportunity to bill for something is there, but the internal processes fail, and the charge is missed. And the third type of missed charge is caused by human error, where a charge could have been made, but it hasn’t been identified in the invoice” A comprehensive reporting tool such as Sparkline identifies all three of these revenue opportunities.
He says the biggest missed charge in his experience is for billable minutes. “Vets underestimate our time,” he explains. “We don’t charge out our professional time accurately, and at the end of the day this results in lower revenues, which affects the whole business.”
In Chris’s practices, two significant missed charges were highlighted as ‘red’ by Sparkline’s Scorecard and turned into tangible revenue opportunities. “We collected an additional $80,000 in missed charges for consumables and another $40,000 in hospitalisation in our first year of implementation,” he says.
The Sparkline Scorecard reporting dashboard is categorised into four segments: Customer, Financial, Process and People. It reports trends of KPIs using a 12 month rolling total, reporting the major veterinary revenue drivers with ‘traffic light’ flags. This makes it quick and easy to identify the red hot spots that need attention and the green areas of opportunity.
Chris also highlighted the ease of use and accessibility of the key information in Sparkline’s dashboard. “It’s lovely the way you can hover over icons and dialog boxes and get information immediately – it’s an extremely powerful programme. Vets are very visual people, and we don’t have much time in our busy day to do analysis. The Sparkline Scorecard dashboard gives an instant analysis, which enables me to make quick and well-informed decisions.”
“It removes a huge amount of workload, taking me away from being an administrator and elevates me to becoming a business director,” he says. The areas that Sparkline highlights are brought up in practice meetings where Chris and his team can discuss and managed them as a team to align with our standards of care. This brings a high degree of teamwork, collaboration and buy-in by practice staff and has a significant role in improving the culture within the practice. As a result, there has been a positive impact on customer relations and a strong growth in client retention and loyalty.
Chris says the level of detail that Sparkline provides isn’t possible to obtain manually. “Even if I spent a week on Excel spreadsheets I wouldn’t be able to generate the reports I can get from Sparkline at the push of a button on the 5th of each month,” he says.
“The accurate, timely and granular reporting from Sparkline drives the management reports and business insights I have on my clinics and elevates the standards of care in the practice. It highlights our deficiencies and shows opportunities where we can do better.”
- Wutchiett, Tumblin & Associates – Benchmarks 2016: A Study of Well-Managed Practices