Written by David Schild
Is there a way to anticipate where my census is heading so I can proactively take steps to avoid a dip or maximize an up-trend?
The answer is yes. Rather than just looking at total census, take a closer look at the various factors that have a direct impact on your census – factors we call Census Drivers™ The Census Drivers™ we suggest that you track and review are; inquiries, referrals, admissions, conversion ratio, facility denials, discharges and length of stay. By documenting these on a daily basis and reviewing them regularly, you will likely spot important underlying trends that are leading indicators of what’s going to happen with your census in the near future. For example:
- How well are referral sources performing – as compared with previous periods? Has something changed? Are you getting less referrals or too many referrals you cannot (or do not want to) make a bed offer on?
- How well are you converting referrals into admissions? Often a small increase in conversions can have a major impact on census.
- Is census falling despite the fact that your referrals and admissions are still strong? Perhaps it’s your LOS that’s the culprit.
- Carefully reviewing facility denials can reveal important information about what referral sources think of you. If you are continually getting inappropriate referrals, that can be a sign that you may need to educate (or re-educate) referral sources about your services and capabilities.
- Seeing too many facility denials? Have senior management review every denial, every day. You will be surprised at how this process can reduce facility denials and increase admissions when staff knows their decisions are being reviewed. It’s also a great way to uncover misunderstandings the admissions staff may have about admissions policy.
Tracking Census Drivers™, analyzing them and acting upon your findings is often the quickest, easiest and least costly way to optimize admissions and increase census.