9 Dos & Don’ts when working with data

Today’s practice has too many facts and figures at its disposal. Doctors and staff spend so much time and energy determining the “what,” that they the run the risk of failing to ask the “why.”

The danger becomes failing to analyze the things that really matter:

  •       What is driving growth?
  •       What are patients buying?
  •       What is causing patients to buy?
  •       How can we get patients to buy faster?

Filter out the noise, and focus on the data that you can turn into information!

Use a dashboard to manage the metrics that actually correlate to a business outcome you care about. Review the key performance indicators (KPIs) that say whether you’re growing or just spinning your wheels in place.

Here are nine practical dos and don’ts to help you avoid data fatigue:

Don’t keep your data in silos. With so much data coming from so many different systems, it’s tough not to look at each one-by-one. Instead of manually adding everything into Excel, try an analytics dashboard that combines the data for you. Make decisions, not spreadsheets!

Do share the right data with the right people. By letting staff know how well they are performing, and how close they are to hitting their goals, they feel empowered and are more likely to reach those goals. By sharing specific KPIs with 3rd party vendors, you turn “how are we doing?” meetings into “how can we do better?” strategy sessions.

Don’t waste time with data that isn’t somehow related to goals or growth. Force yourself to create targets and milestones, and focus resources on visualizations that are quantitatively connected with a KPI: leads, revenue, expenses, capacity, etc.

Do create a list of tactics (tasks that need to be achieved in order to reach your goals). Make sure your tactics (and your strategies) are realistic, and you’re able to track their progress. Increasing prices, sending monthly email campaigns, and implementing appointment reminders are a few good examples of tactics and strategies that can be regularly be reviewed.  

Don’t forget insights from operational KPIs. Ignoring operational metrics like the number of rings before the phone is answered, or how much time each type of patient consult takes is one of the most common mistakes organizations make. These granular metrics can be the key to maintaining efficiency in the practice, and setting threshold alerts can be a great way to remain on top these numbers without having to constantly monitor progress. 

Do learn to compare budgets and plans to actual performance. Whether it’s the marketing budget or revenue forecast, continuously evaluate where you are and where you want to be. A visualization that can show these two variables side-by-side can eliminate revenue/profitability surprises at the end of the month.

Don’t expect the data to do all the work. In addition to a dashboard, accept team input and professional help when analyzing business data in order to find the correlations that lead to new growth opportunities.

Do use historical data to make goals. Compare the last 3-5 years of various performance metrics, and find your growth over time. Use this to create a forecast for the next year’s growth, but make sure to adjust this forecast based on any anticipated updates.

Don’t wait until the end of the month to look at data. Growth (or loss) is happening right now, and you can apply insights now, before the end of the month, quarter, or year. Use tools that enable you to look at your data ANY time, anywhere.


Practices need to filter their data and to focus on what is useful information. Creating goals instead of just reviewing data will help you grow faster. And in order to evaluate the practice’s performance, use eye-catching visualizations to display KPIs, work collaboratively across your organization to unify data efforts, and don’t forget the importance of using an analytics dashboard like AtlasKPI.

2019-05-02T10:24:33-04:00May 2nd, 2019|KPI Library|