Tracking Lag Days: A Crucial Metric for Practice Owners

To function well, Practice owners require a variety of factors, the most important of which is financing. However, the time between the date of serving and the submission of a claim has a significant impact on financial returns.

These durations are referred to as “lag days.” This post will look at the relevance of lag days, a crucial metric for practice owners, and how to eliminate lag days for better financial results.

Lag Days As A Crucial Metric for Providers to Track

Lag days, a critical indicator for practice owners, are the time between patient care delivery and billing submission. A recent survey by the American Medical Association (AMA) found that minimizing lag days improves revenue cycle efficiency by expediting billing operations.

For example, a hospital cut lag days from 30 to 10, resulting in a 20% boost in income within six months.

Tracking lag days allows providers to detect bottlenecks, streamline procedures, and generate more money. By remaining on top of this indicator, physicians can assure timely reimbursement, increased cash flow, and overall financial health for their operations.

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Key Strategies for Managing Lag Days

Key Strategies for Managing Lag Days Example
1. Efficient Patient Documentation Encourage physicians to complete patient charts promptly after encounters.
2. Timely Coding and Charge Capture Train staff on accurate and timely coding practices to expedite billing.
3. Regular Claims Scrubbing Implement automated software to identify and rectify claim errors before submission.
4. Optimize Revenue Cycle Workflow Streamline processes from patient registration to claim submission to minimize delays.
5. Monitor Denials and Appeals Establish protocols to track and resolve claim denials and appeal rejected claims efficiently.


Dr. John’s practice reduced lag days by 30% within two months by ensuring all patient charts were completed within 24 hours, implementing a coding education program for staff, and adopting claims scrubbing software to catch errors early in the billing process.

Lag Days’ Effect on the Patient Experience

1. Impact of Prolonged Lag Days:

  • Patients who need quick treatment, especially those who feel anxious and frustrated report increased stress and irritation.
  • Delays in seeking care can exacerbate symptoms and deteriorate health.
  • Patients’ faith in healthcare is dwindling.

2. Disruption of Continuity of Care:

  • Extended lag days can disrupt treatment plans and follow-up appointments.
  • Compromised effectiveness of medical interventions.
  • Increased risk of avoidable complications and suboptimal outcomes.

3. Strategies for Mitigation:

  • Optimization of appointment scheduling systems to minimize lag days.
  • A simplified referral process will facilitate access to specialists and additional care.
  • Physicians should improve communication with patients regarding wait times and expectations.

4. Proactive Approach for Enhanced Patient Satisfaction:

  • Recognition of the impact of lag days on patient experience.
  • Implementation of strategies to address lag days efficiently.
  • Promotion of better health outcomes and patient trust through proactive measures.

5. Focus on patient-centered care:

  • Individuals should receive attention and support during health challenges.
  • Fostering trust in the healthcare provider-patient relationship through responsive and efficient care delivery.

In conclusion, tracking lag days is essential for assessing practice performance and improving patient experience. Reduction in lag days will enhance scheduling efficiency, improve patient access, and ultimately lead to greater success for medical practices.

It is beneficial to patients to invest in systems and processes that prioritize timely care delivery and ensure that the practice remains financially stable. Integrating lag days into the practice management process enables informed decision-making and improves patient outcomes.

Please contact Medical Billers and Coders for more assistance in enhancing scheduling efficiency and practice effectiveness. Physicians may trust our staff to help them improve their practice operations and achieve their objectives.


1. What are lag days in healthcare?

Lag days refer to the time between patient care delivery and billing submission.

2. Why are lag days important for practice owners?

Lag days impact revenue cycle efficiency and financial returns for healthcare practices.

3. How can minimizing lag days benefit a healthcare practice?

Minimizing lag days can expedite billing operations, increase cash flow, and ensure timely reimbursement.

4. What strategies can practice owners implement to manage lag days?

Strategies include efficient patient documentation, timely coding, regular claims scrubbing, optimizing workflow, and monitoring denials and appeals.

5. What are the effects of prolonged lag days on the patient experience?

Prolonged lag days can lead to increased patient anxiety, disrupted continuity of care, and erosion of trust in the healthcare system.