The Future of the Bariatric Program: 3 Critical Factors for Program Success

The moment you peek underneath the hood of a bariatric program you can tell whether or not if it’s a successful program. What does success look like in a well run bariatric program?

In order to answer that question, let’s first take a close look at what success isn’t.

For starters, unsuccessful programs have a difficult time pinpointing why certain things worked and why they didn’t. In essence, unsuccessful programs have a hard time knowing why they are “uniquely better”.

A component of being uniquely better has to do with knowing your data and drilling down on metrics that allow you to deliver insights with pinpoint accuracy that will scare most administrators of weak programs out the door.

Contrary to what most think, knowing your numbers doesn’t mean that you have to measure every single thing. The old adage, what you measure you can manage. I believe they missed the mark…and the new adage needs to be “measure what’s critically important so that you can manage it.”

The truth is unsuccessful programs don’t truly know their numbers. As much as patient care and delivery uncompromising world class care have to do with running a successful program, the X factor is knowing numbers. And the unfortunate thing is no one wants to admit that they don’t know their numbers.

Ask yourself these questions to determine whether or not you truly know your numbers:

How many new patients did you see last month? The month prior? And the month prior?

What percentage of those patients converted so surgery?

What percentage of those patients are receiving alternate treatments?

Last year, what were the breakdowns of where patients came from? Which channels converted the best and by how much?

How did you predict revenue forecasts based on pipeline activity each month?

Could we accurately predict how many surgeries we were going to convert each month? How accurate were we?

Where are your current patients in your pipeline?

What is the fall out rate for the last trailing 12 months?

You. Get. My. Point. Here.

The reality is that programs either need to hit their numbers, grow or fall victim to another program that was “really great” but didn’t make financial sense. It’s a brutal reality and one where if metrics aren’t reached, a lot of people who truly do need our help and can significantly benefit from your services won’t be able to receive them. That’s exactly what’s at stake.

Metrics matter. No money, no mission. It’s as simple as that.

Therefore, the success of a program is predicated upon 3 critical factors

1. Managing Finances

Knowing the major difference between RRM vs. RCM and how allocation of leads, follow up, conversion, intake and registration all play an important role in driving revenue realization.

Again, not taking away from the world class care you are delivering. That’s a quintessential element and one that will never be overlooked or compromised.

The Stark Contrast Between Revenue Realization Management and Revenue Cycle Management

When you put RRM across the practice…it has a holistic approach to improving the practice.

When you put the financial health of the practice manage and report all of what’s taking place in the practice, you can and will make better business decisions. Those business decisions are usually identified as Key Performance Indicators.

Most of the business activities are managed within excel reports. Difficult to have clear idea of what’s happening with patients

Revenue Realization helps with tracking all of the activities that you want to track and being proactive so that you can predictably tell with a high degree of accuracy where they are going to end up every single month.

Moreover, you know exactly what Human Capital you need to deploy in order to sustain steady, profitable growth.

Keeping close track of quantitative data that coming into your practice is what’s used in advanced analytics and revenue realization management.

2. Managing the Relationship with the Patient

The patient is at the center of everything, after all we are in the people business. As you know, large sums of information are deployed to a patient whether it’s in an information session or if it’s delivered to a patient in a post visit summary.

Research tells us that only 10% of information is obtained 48 hours after a visit. So what does that mean?

Patients forget and forget often. To quote the famous Samuel Johnson, “People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed”.

Successful programs have mechanisms in place to be able to effectively manage the relationship with the patient through a blend of technology, human interaction and a cadence of accountability.

As relationship with the patient matures, metrics are in place to discern whether or not the patient is reviewing information, absorbing it, applying or if they are likely to fall out of the program.

Great programs have a tight grip on this and build it into their clinical workflow to make it a Key Performance Area.

3. Managing Human Capital

As much as I’m a proponent of leveraging technology to drive efficiencies, it’s not always the solution. In fact, people operate software most of the time and we need people to interact with our patients to guide them to a successful outcome.

Measuring productivity is a critical factor to a programs success. Having tools that allow leadership to discover where blind spots exist within the practice and take proper course of action.

Closing Thoughts and The Future of Bariatrics

The overwhelming majority of bariatric-surgery patients who post online about their experiences are happy that they had the procedure. For many people, the experience of weight loss is one of feeling like they can be themselves.

The sad reality is that many programs might not make it if they don’t adapt to the new way of running a program. Change is tough, but not changing is terminal. Those who view the practice in terms of KPI’s and deliver consistently on why they are “Uniquely Better” will continue to thrive.

While those who continue to do what they’ve always done won’t be able to hear those wonderful stories of patient successes and how the course of treatment they received completely changed the trajectory of their life. Will you choose to implement these 3 critical factors for bariatric program success?