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The NetMinder Blog

Gauging the Productivity of Your Network Development Activities

Posted by Susan Donegan on Wed, Mar 07, 2018

When you subtract the number of providers who leave the network from the number who've joined for a time period, you get an important metric, Net Change. Net Change measures the overall growth in a network. Potential clients are looking for long-term relationships, and while losing providers isn’t positive, the ability to replace them efficiently is a strength.  

net change.jpg

In the example above, while Network A lost 8% of its providers during the time period versus only 6% for Network B, it was able to more than replace them, with adds of 14%. Network A’s net growth of 6%, compared to the competitor’s growth of just 2%, can be positioned as a clear advantage. From a management perspective, Net Change also serves well as a key performance indicator for provider relations teams.

Another important metric is Total Change, which demonstrates the amount of movement in a network or a market. While Net Change measures network growth, Total Change simply measures movement. It shows the overall change in the makeup of the network over time. Using the previous example, Network A had a total change of 22% (14% adds plus 8% drops) versus Network B’s total change of 14% (8% adds plus 6% drops.)

total change.jpg

Employed by itself, Total Change is not all that revealing. However, when combined with Net Change, it creates a powerful new metric for gauging the productivity of your network development activities compared to internal benchmarks and relative to your competition, which we call the Network Productivity Index.   

Download our whitepaper to better understand the dynamics of provider networks and measuring all of the productivity index components - adds, drops, net change and total change.

Tags: compare networks, network comparison tool, network growth, health insurance, network productivity, healthcare providers

What Gets Measured Gets Managed - Net Change and Total Change

Posted by Susan Donegan on Fri, Apr 28, 2017

When you subtract the number of providers who leave the network from the number who've joined for a time period, you get an important metric, Net Change. Net Change measures the overall growth in a network. Potential clients are looking for long-term relationships, and while losing providers isn’t positive, the ability to replace them efficiently is a strength.  

net change.jpg

In the example above, while Network A lost 8% of its providers during the time period versus only 6% for Network B, it was able to more than replace them, with adds of 14%. Network A’s net growth of 6%, compared to the competitor’s growth of just 2%, can be positioned as a clear advantage. From a management perspective, Net Change also serves well as a key performance indicator for provider relations teams.

Another important metric is Total Change, which demonstrates the amount of movement in a network or a market. While Net Change measures network growth, Total Change simply measures movement. It shows the overall change in the makeup of the network over time. Using the previous example, Network A had a total change of 22% (14% adds plus 8% drops) versus Network B’s total change of 14% (8% adds plus 6% drops.)

total change.jpg

Employed by itself, Total Change is not all that revealing. However, when combined with Net Change, it creates a powerful new metric for gauging the productivity of your network development activities compared to internal benchmarks and relative to your competition, which we call the Network Productivity Index.   

Download our whitepaper to better understand the dynamics of provider networks and measuring all of the productivity index components - adds, drops, net change and total change.

Tags: network productivity, network growth, health insurance, healthcare providers, compare networks

Dental PPO Network Growth Rate Down While Locations Per Provider Increased Significantly

Posted by Laura McMullen on Mon, Oct 24, 2016

Our annual analysis of dental network trends showed overall annual growth in unique providers of ~7-8% over the last five years. By all measures, networks are growing.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • The average number of unique locations grew from 58K to 77K, or 33%
  • The average number of unique providers grew from 72K to 99K, or 37%
  • The average number of access points grew from 163K to 309K, or 90%

Top 15 Dental PPOs_mar 2016.jpgNot only are there more locations and more providers, but there are also more locations per provider: up 38% (2.25 to 3.12) from March 2012 to March 2016.

And yet, when we did this same analysis in 2015, we saw 10% annual growth in unique providers over the prior five years. While the growth was higher in access points and lower in unique locations like it is this year, all of the percentages were higher:

  • The average number of unique locations grew from 54K to 76K, or 41%
  • The average number of unique providers grew from 67K to 100K, or 50%
  • The average number of access points grew from 134K to 281K, or 110%

Interestingly, the average number of locations per provider only grew 29% (2.01 to 2.82) between March 2011 and March 2015.

So if the annual growth rate is lower, and the overall growth in each counting method is less, why did the average number of locations per provider grow 33%?

The multiplier effect we were starting to see in 2015 has blossomed. Just one of the 15 largest national dental PPO networks doesn’t have any lease partners and the other 14 have increasingly more complex network stacks. On average, the largest networks have four network partners and four networks have six partners. Connection Dental, DenteMax, Maverest, and Stratose are the most frequent network partners.

Another factor is the number of networks each dentist is joining. In our analysis, we found that the average dentist participates with 55% of the top 15 dental PPO networks, while nearly half of dentists in networks are in at least 11.

One more element of the growth is the rise of dental service organizations. We’ve seen a decade of private equity investment and that’s paying off. Becker’s Hospital Review noted that a 2014 Sageworks analysis found that DPMs generated the highest return on equity of the industries it examined. With additional cash, DSOs are growing by building and acquiring dental practice. And following the industry practice of listing each provider at each office contributes to the increase in locations per provider.

How are these trends playing out in your networks and markets? About 40% of dentists participate in 1-4 networks, so there is still room for organic growth. How well are both tactics represented in your strategic plan?

Tags: dental network, counting method, network providers, dental PPO networks, network growth

Flexible Geographic Groupings in NetMinder

Posted by Laura McMullen on Mon, Dec 22, 2014

Competitive network data is valuable to a variety of people in the employee benefits industry. The most common uses we see are sales people comparing networks for a current or prospective customer or broker, or network managers building recruiting lists. Some marketing departments use competitive network data in collateral and strategic planners use it to help chart the way forward.

This wide variety of users has an equally wide variety of preferences. Like many other systems that include geographic analysis, NetMinder uses standard groupings – from the whole country down to a single five-digit ZIP code – to make it easy to match up with other datasets such as procedure-level cost data, membership counts and employee populations. But sometimes you need to slice the data a little bit differently. Maybe you have sales regions that include several states or underwriting zones made up of three-digit ZIP codes. That’s why we added custom geographies.

Here’s what custom regions (groups of states) look like in NetMinder. In this example, the client included 6 states in their Mid-Atlantic region:

custom_geos

You can also set up groups of three-digit ZIPs as markets and groups of counties as territories. There’s no limit to the number of custom geographies NetMinder can support.

Customers love the flexibility custom geographies add to NetMinder. The business information lead for a large national dental insurer tells us: “It is helpful because we are able to focus our reports to match our internal geographical breakouts. We could run the same reports by choosing the 3-digit zip codes that correspond to each area, but having them already grouped for us saves a great deal of time. It also allows us to combine multiple geographical groupings into one report. It is a very beneficial tool for how we do business.”

Some other uses for custom geographies that we’ve found are:

  • Focused recruiting efforts
  • Evaluating network capacity and competitive position to support sales prospecting programs in defined geographies
  • Reporting on network size or makeup in service areas for regulatory and compliance needs

How do you group geographic data when you compare provider networks? What other pieces of data are important to your analysis and how do you match the datasets up?

Tags: network growth, compare networks, network data, network comparisons, Custom Geographies, NetMinder new features

All Provider Networks Are Not Created Equal

Posted by Aaron Groffman on Mon, Dec 23, 2013

Overlap between provider networks has emerged as an important metric in determining network strength.  NetMinder data on the top 15 national dental PPO networks shows that similarly sized networks can actually be quite different in terms of overlap, or how many providers they have in common.

Recruit Smarter, Not Harder whitepaper

Why is network overlap important? Here are three key reasons:

  • The dental benefits market is relatively flat. From 2002 to 2011, the percentage of the U.S. population with dental benefits has ranged between 54% and 58%.
  • Take-away business fuels dental plan growth.
  • Minimizing disruption for plan members is important if you want to take away business, and a higher rate of overlap with your competitors’ networks means less disruption.

Among the top 15 national dental PPO networks, the overlap in access points ranges from 39% to 68%, while the overlap in unique dentists ranges from 53% to 88%. 

The greater the overlap you have with as many networks as possible, the better positioned you are to take away business from your competitors.

Download our new whitepaper to learn how to “Recruit Smarter, Not Harder.”

Tags: dental insurance, network growth, dental PPO networks, network providers, dental network

Which Provider Counting Method Do You Prefer?

Posted by Aaron Groffman on Mon, Dec 09, 2013

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.”

Counting Methods in NetMinder Dental PPO Reports

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?

Tags: network growth, network providers, dental network, dental providers

NetMinder Data Reveals Dental PPO Network Trends

Posted by Aaron Groffman on Thu, Oct 03, 2013

 

Size is one of the key ways to measure network strength, and the latest NetMinder data reveals that dental network size continues to increase.

There are two ways that networks generally grow:

  • Organic growth through direct contracts with the dentists themselves
  • Partnerships, leases and reciprocal arrangements

We see a clear trend that indicates both are happening. More networks are partnering, and dentists are joining more and more networks.

Dental Network Trends NetMinder Aug2013 resized 600Out of the top 15 national dental PPOS, 13 have one or more partners, according to our data. More than half have three or more lease partners, and the partners are not limited to traditional rental networks. Even carriers are offering some or all of their contracted providers in partnership arrangements.

Additionally, dentists continue to join more networks. From March 2009 to March 2013, the average number of networks per dentist in the top 15 networks grew from 6.2 to 7.4. Now 37% of dentists are in 11-15 networks, compared to just 26% of dentists participating with that many networks in 2009. By contrast, the
number of dentists in one to five networks shrunk from 55% to 46%.

Part of this increase can be attributed to the multiplier effect. When a dentist joins a lease network, he or she ends up in many networks.

I’m going to be diving even deeper into the data in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more dental PPO network trends!

Tags: dentists, network growth, dental PPO networks, dental providers

More Health Systems Becoming Payers

Posted by Aaron Groffman on Thu, Sep 05, 2013

More than 20 percent of hospitals and health systems in a recent survey said they are planning to launch a health insurance plan by 2018.

Another 34 percent of respondents said they already own health plans. The June 2013 survey was conducted by by the Advisory Board Co., a Washington, D.C.-based research and consulting firm, and included more than 100 U.S. hospitals and health systems.

Health insurance exchanges, the aging boomer population, increasing cost and reimbursement pressures and an industry-wide move toward population health are driving many health systems’ decisions to become payers, despite the risk of that move in the continually changing healthcare industry.

North Shore-LIJ Health System, a Long Island, NY-based hospital system, plans to offer its health plan called CareConnect on the state health insurance exchange beginning October 1st.

Providers that offer health insurance typically offer a narrow network composed of their own hospitals and affiliated physicians. But in order to be successful, a network must include enough facilities and physicians to provide access and member convenience. Therefore, some health systems are joining forces to create health plans with stronger networks than either could offer on its own.

For example, Piedmont Healthcare and WellStar Health System, two Atlanta-based systems, are partnering on a health plan called the Georgia Health Collaborative that will offer commercial and Medicare Advantage products starting in 2014.

If you were starting a health plan, how would your network compare to your competitors?

Tags: Healthcare, Healthcare, healthcare reform, Affordable Care Act, health insurance, network growth, health reform, Obamacare, healthcare benefits, network providers, health insurers

2 Keys for Growing Provider Networks

Posted by Aaron Groffman on Fri, May 10, 2013

NetMinder data often reveals interesting patterns that we like to share for the benefit of our users and readers. For example, reviewing data about provider network participation revealed two important patterns that could make growing provider networks easier for insurers.

  1. Tips on Growing Provider Networks from NetMinderFind the newbies. Providers who recently started joining networks are more likely to join more. They’ve embraced the concept and may be ripe for your call.
  2. The more the merrier. Providers with a large number of network contracts are more likely to sign another. They understand the process and see the value of participation.

Finding providers with these attributes can pave the way for recruiting success. Have you noticed any other interesting and useful patterns when developing your networks?

Tags: network growth, network providers, dental network

As Dental PPO Penetration Increases, Is Market Saturation Near?

Posted by Aaron Groffman on Fri, Nov 30, 2012

Our analysis of the top 15 dental PPO networks revealed another important trend: market penetration is growing, with room for more growth in the future.

Dental PPO market penetration (contracted providers as a percent of the available number of providers) continues to grow. As of March 2012, the average national PPO plan contracted with approximately 72,000 providers, representing 37.8% of available providers, up from 37.2% a year prior. By comparison, in 2008, market penetration was only 28.1%, with fewer than 50,000 providers contracted. The recent growth seems due in part to an increase in the number of networks dentists are joining.  Networks per provider increased from 5.9 in 2008 to 8.4 in March 2012.

Of course, there’s still plenty of room for growth. With nearly 120,000 providers, on average, not yet participating, we expect dental PPO market penetration to continue to increase.

 DentalPPOTrends MarketPenetration Netminder1 resized 600

Tags: dental, dental benefits, dental insurance, dental insurer, dentists, dental provider, network growth, dental PPO networks

 

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