Q: Why does our physician data for home health and hospice utilize decile rankings?
A: This data is subject to a contractual relationship that prohibits the use of actual numbers because of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) issues. This limitation does not impact the effectiveness of the information, however, since its primary purpose is to identify top referring physicians or physician opportunities. You can just as easily sort the data, which comes in Excel by ranking, as by actual patient activity. With this data, you can then identify the appropriate number of physicians or physician practices based on the capacity, which we outlined in a prior newsletter article. You should also perform the same ranking exercise for the practice level data, since the head nurse or office manager is often a key referral source at a given location.
Moreover, the ranking method is preferable when trying to determine which physicians may be under-referring to either home health or hospice. What you want to see is physicians with large practices relative to their specialty, who have a lower decile ranking in their patient activity ranking than their practice size. This can be accomplished by:
- Preselecting all physicians in the data who have a practice size ranking of at least 5.
- Creating a column on the spreadsheet that subtracts the home health or hospice patient activity ranking by specialty.
- Ranking this “difference” column to see which physicians may present the greatest educational opportunities to change the number of patients that they refer to home health or hospice.