I asked attendees at my recent NADP CONVERGE 2013 break-out session which counting method they prefer to use for comparing provider networks, and the majority answered “unique providers.”
Based on NetMinder user data (as illustrated in the chart), access points (each provider at each of their locations) is still used about half the time, but the unique providers counting method is catching up. In 2012, 36.7% of NetMinder dental PPO reports used unique providers as the counting method, and 53.7% used access points. This year we started to see a shift, with 40.9% of reports using unique providers and 50.7% using access points.
It makes sense that unique providers would be the preferred counting method for NADP attendees, who tend to be senior level managers looking for a big picture view of how their company is performing. Using unique providers simplifies the equation because it means each provider is counted once regardless of how many locations he or she is listed at. This eliminates duplication caused by a) associates who change offices and b) providers who are listed at multiple locations to facilitate claim payment. Looking at access points with an overlay of our exclusive practicing locations indicator offers a similar view to counting unique providers with the added benefit of including multiple locations that have been validated by claim activity.
Which counting method do you prefer and why?