How to use KPI's to manage your speech language therapy practice

By Ashleigh Knowles on Jun 16, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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Overview of running a speech language therapy practice

Running your own business can be one of the most rewarding endeavors you’ll ever take on, and managing a speech language therapy practice is no exception. You can foster meaningful connections with clients, and design and carry out programs in the way that you want to. However, there are a lot of factors that go into streamlining your workflow, smoothening operations, and ensuring that your patients receive the highest level of care. In fact, it can sometimes feel quite overwhelming when evaluating all these factors as a whole, which is why we’re here to help break it down for you. Specifically, you may be surprised to know that KPIs can significantly elevate the quality of your practice, in particular elevating the impact of speech therapy software. With this guide, you can know all the ins and outs pertaining to KPIs, and how to utilize them effectively to boost your level of care!

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What are KPIs and why are they important?

Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, are metrics used to measure the performance of your business and provide a valuable snapshot into the state of your practice. They’re absolutely vital in ensuring that you achieve your goals, and are a great way to evaluate your growth. KPIs provide numerous benefits, and are useful in many ways:

To monitor the health of your practice

KPIs measure all vital signs within your business and ensure that you’re assessing the core aspects of employees, customers, processes, and revenue. You can monitor any area you choose with the metrics being able to track your growth, and you can also flag any areas that need improvement or investment. 

To track key indicators (revenue and gross margin)

Speaking of tracking, with KPIs, you can measure the overall revenue of the business, as well as gross margin. It’s a good idea to set targets at the start of each year so you can measure your progress towards achieving business goals, and KPIs can help boost this progress by allowing you to make more informed business decisions that contribute to overall greater strategies. 

To identify patterns over time

Measuring the same KPIs at certain periods, such as each quarter, can allow you to identify patterns in your business statistics. Doing so is immensely valuable, and provides you with countless ways to improve the overall efficacy and efficiency of your practice. For example, you can identify where your slowest business periods may be, and schedule greater marketing campaigns during this time to combat slowing traffic. Patterns are your best friend, with KPIs making it super easy to detect them. 

To predict future results

Naturally, having KPI data on hand can provide rich insight into potential future scenarios for your business. You can plan out steps to achieving business strategies in detail, with the numbers in place to support your investment decisions. If you aren’t on track, you can change course with minimal impact, and avoid major losses. 

To address issues and resolve them

KPIs highlight viable options for your business to take in case you encounter major issues and provide you with greater confidence in dealing with the problems at hand. There are no limits to what you can do in terms of using data to address business or client issues that may arise. 

Using KPIs to manage your speech language therapy practice

KPIs are common business practices, and any company owner or employee should be intently familiar with their versatility and usefulness, with speech language therapy practices also utilizing them in their operations. They’re incredibly effective, and failing to implement them can do your business a great disservice. Almost all successful language therapy clinics incorporate KPIs in some shape or form, and fortunately, there are many CPT codes for speech therapy that help aid in effective process management. 

What KPIs should your speech language therapy practice use?

There are many different KPI metrics that you can choose from to implement within your practice; each with its own set of benefits and challenges that could sway your decision on using them. KPIs are a part of every assessment guide for which often covers critical topics such as SOAP notes, so it’s best that you try to wrap your head around them. Fortunately, we’re here to give you the rundown on some of the most common KPIs that you may utilize in your practice. Combining these key metrics with effective speech therapy software will allow you to elevate your practice in no time.

Total revenue

Naturally, you should be evaluating your total revenue so you can extract how much profit you’re making with your services. Although you definitely want to help treat patients and aid in their recovery, at the end of the day, you’re running a business and maintaining a steady profit is the only want to stay afloat. 

Number of appointments

Simply put, measuring the number of appointments booked in a given week is a good way to assess how many patients come through your doors. It’s valuable foot traffic information that can shed insight into whether you need to reconsider some of your business operations that work to attract clients. 

No show rate

It’s of utmost importance that you track your no-shows, or those that fail to attend their scheduled appointment, as they can be very costly within your practice and are a large hassle to deal with. Given the issues that they cause, you should be making every effort to reduce these numbers. It’s a major red flag if you’re receiving a considerate amount of no-shows each week!

Number of appointment cancellations

On the other hand, you should also be tracking your number of appointment cancellations. These are different from no-shows, in that these numbers reflect those who don’t show, but who also provide a reason for their missed attendance. You also want these numbers to be low, so it’s always good to keep a note of them.  

Practitioner utilization

This is an efficiency measure and is used to evaluate contact hours or the hours that the practitioner is available. This is valuable in assessing whether all your practitioners within your speech language therapy practice are being used, and assesses how efficiently your practice is being run. 

Number of new clients

Evidently, in running your own business, you need to ensure that you gain clients regularly and that you’re able to create business value and attract customers with your service. Sometimes this number can stagnate, which is okay, however, there should still be an increase over time. 

Number of client rebookings

This refers to the number of clients that rebook their appointments, which tends to happen following cancellations. You should keep track of these numbers to evaluate retention, and assess and take note of your loyal clients. 

Net income

Your net income is the annual total income minus all your expenses and taxes, essentially measuring your overall profit. It highlights whether you're in the clear, and can help you circle back to areas that may need improvement to boost revenue and guide secure investments. 

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Process to create KPIs for your speech language therapy practice

Now that you’re aware of the most common KPIs, you may be wondering how exactly to create them. While there’s no one right way to do so, there are various tips and tricks that you should keep in mind to make this step a whole lot easier, and that will work to improve speech language therapy outcomes. 

Identify strategic objectives

Before getting started, it’s important that you have first established the key strategic objectives of your SLP. After all, there’s no use in creating metrics, when you’re not sure of what you’re needing to measure! Having a clear direction is key, and ensures that you have a vision in mind that you’re working towards. 

Define your success parameters

Success can look very different for everyone, and its definitions are rather relative to each person. As a result, you need to spend time defining what exactly success looks like, and how you will measure it. For example, you may be more focused on the number of clients through your doors, rather than any other aspect. However, the bottom line is that your success parameters must match your strategic objectives! 

Note down your SMART KPIs

Make sure that your KPIs fulfill each of the SMART criteria. This includes the following:

  • Specific - Each KPI must measure a clear, important aspect.
  • Measurable - The KPI must be able to be effectively measured.
  • Achievable - You need to be able to deliver on your KPI.
  • Relevant - Your KPI must be related to your strategic objectives, and provide value.
  • Time-Bound - Your KPI must be achievable in a given timeframe.

Take home message

KPIs are an extremely effective way to measure and track the success of your speech-language therapy practice, and they ensure that you’re delivering high-quality treatment without cutting corners. You can identify areas of weakness to improve upon and make more informed and strategic decisions when it comes to your business and its investments. They’re absolutely essential for you to come to terms with, and incorporating them within your clinic can provide superior service that your clients will love. Hopefully, this guide has provided you with the basics to help you get started!

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