Automated Reporting in Your Business
by Paul O’Toole

Many providers find themselves searching for ways to improve operational efficiencies to reduce costs and—ultimately—drive their revenue in the process. Of course, you can reduce the amount of inventory you have on hand and use “just-in-time” techniques to operate lean. You can cut back on internal staff and outsource some of your operations. But what if I told you the true way to cut costs is closer to home than you may think?

Try automated reporting.

Many tech-savvy providers may use this as a buzzword; but what does it really mean, and why is it crucial to overall business success? In prior years, automated reporting tools were meant for the “early adopters” who were looking for the next new technology to make their jobs easier. Choosing to automate reporting and manipulate data in real time is no longer an early adopter strategy—it is crucial for everyone, even the smallest HME providers. Automating your reporting truly means allowing your system to do the work for you by creating reports using live data that can be manipulated in multiple ways and communicated to stakeholders in a consistent manner.

Say Goodbye to Manual Calculations and Spreadsheets

Although many providers I talk to each day still seem to be running reports by using Excel, handwritten calculations on a white board or multiple spreadsheets, there is a better way to not only simplify the overloaded amount of data, but also to save hours of time each week and accurately track metrics that are crucial to your overall business success.

Relying on static spreadsheets that report only a snapshot view of your current business metrics only creates more work for the following week, because those numbers are now outdated and have to be re-created. Below are a few ways that automated reporting can transform your business into a data-driven organization.

  • Using an internal IT employee to run manual reports each week takes more of his or her time than is necessary. To add to the problem, if your IT employee goes on vacation or takes a leave of absence, reporting comes to a screeching halt. When payer requests, denials and audits start to snowball, your business could be in jeopardy.
  • Tracking business metric performance does not have to take hours each week. In the HME/DME market especially, collecting every dollar counts—and taking a closer look into your data allows providers to spot areas where dollars are just sitting idle. There are many crucial metrics that providers should watch closely to understand their financial performance, workplace productivity and how efficient the receiving and delivery process is.
  • Tracking metrics such as A/R aging, unbilled A/R, bad debt reserve and DSO are great indicators that can display your current performance and anticipate future trends. Monitoring all of these activities does not need to take hours of your IT employee’s time each week. Choosing to automate simplifies complex reporting tasks by taking the required metrics that need to be tracked each week and auto-scheduling these so that the same report comes on your timetable, to the correct people and in a consistent manner each time.
  • Instead of searching through your data to find errors, you can simply establish thresholds that are acceptable and set limits that are not acceptable so that reports notify you of errors before you even know there is an issue.
  • Identifying improvements in workflow efficiency can be easily defined using automated reporting, which identifies individual staff output, how long it takes to complete tasks and gives warnings when too much time is takenon tasks that should already be completed.

Using automated reporting tools is not only a way to save time, but it also improves how a business operates in general. Instead of business owners and upper management relying on their intuition for how to run their businesses, the data speaks for itself and can be presented in a manner everyone involved understands.