Saturday, February 20, 2010

Physician Business Ideas: Other Practical Articles on Independent Practice

My last blog was on a Doctor Neil Baum article on spotting those details indicating if your practice is ready to receive and please patients.

After I wrote that blog, I realized Neil, a New Orleans urologist and office marketing expert, had submitted 19 other articles to Physician Practice Options. I have served as its editor-in-chief for 14 years. These articles address the every-day-concerns of doctors in the trenches. You may find the articles and read them by going to, and entering the name “Baum” in the search box.

Here are summaries of the articles.

Taking EMRs to the Next Level

Physicians have three options: They can work harder and earn less, they can retire, or they can embrace information technology, says C. Everett Koop, MD, former U.S. Surgeon General. Recognizing the need to embrace information technology, many of us will have electronic medical records in place in 2005. Also, a lot of medical practices will be using document scanners to help manage reports, images, and other paperwork. But most practices have not taken advantage of the true power and benefits of a document imaging and management system (DIMS).
Clinicians Can Learn From Alternative Practitioners
This editorial discusses how traditional physicians can develop relationships with qualified alternative practitioners, which may lead to increased patient safety and more referrals.
Antifraud Efforts Yield Savings
This article discusses the antifraud efforts, including recoupments, reported by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. It also looks at the common types of medical fraud, as well as the federal government's efforts to combat it.
Physicians Become Wary of Litigious Patients
This editorial discusses the detrimental effects medical malpractice lawsuits are having on physician practices, as well as on the choice of specialty medical students are making in their careers.
AHCs Need to Retool, Report Says
This article discusses a report published by the Commonwealth Fund on academic health centers. Specifically, the report looks at the challenges facing AHCs and steps they can take to meet those challenges.
Skilled Telephone Staff Offer Groups Cost-Effective Practice Enhancements
This article discusses how the cultivation and use of skilled telephone staff can be an inexpensive and effective way to enhance a physician practice.
Innovations Can Improve Efficiency
This article discusses how disruptive innovations, particularly those involving new technology, can improve the practice of medicine.
What Physicians Can Learn From Lawyers
This editorial says that physicians may want to consider charging clients for the time they spend on telephone consultations and answering e-mail from patients.
Marketing Expert Explains Keys to Successful Practice Building
This interview discusses four strategies physicians can use to market their practices: calling patients to strengthen existing patient relationships; communicating with referring physicians; pursuing niche practice activities; and motivating staff.
Building Physician and Patient Referrals
This article discusses strategies for building a referral base. It argues that being a "good doctor" may no longer be enough to attract referrals. Instead, when physicians build relationships with referral staffs in hospitals and HMOs and keep the staff of referring physicians happy, they can make staff and patients into a virtual sales team.

Medical Groups Need Professional Management, Physician-Executive Says
This interview discusses how professional practice management services can benefit physician practices. It argues, however, that even after they have contracted for such services, physicians still need to be intimately involved in the business aspects of their medical practice in order to be successful.
Take Charge of Your Medical Practice, Before Someone Else Does It For You
Experts Say Telephone Is the Most Important Customer Service Tool
This story discusses how skillful telephone techniques can not enhance patients' perceptions of a practice, but even help to manage patients' expectations and reduce the likelihood of litigation.
Four Ways To Build Patient Volume
This feature story discusses medical marketing strategies that can help physicians retain current patients and attract new ones.
Pain Is an Epidemic, Undertreated Disease, Experts Say
This article discusses the issues involved in treating chronic pain, as well as some legislative steps being proposed to adress these issues.
Urologist Says: Take Charge of Your Practice
"There are four pillars of a successful practice and each one must be strong and effective. [The four essentials are:] satisfying patients, attracting new patients, motivating and rewarding staff, generating repeat referrals. Take any one of the pillars away and your practice will suffer."
Patient Surveys Produce Satisfying Results
This feature looks at how some physicians are using patient surveys to improve their patient satisfaction levels and as a marketing tool in promoting their practice.
Simple Approach to Measuring Patient Satisfaction
Success in practice, says Neil Baum, MD, a urologist in New Orleans, starts and ends with satisfying patients. Dissatisfied patients, on the other hand, can destroy a practice. Since one dissatisfied patient usually talks about that dissatisfaction to at least 12 people—friends, relatives, co-workers, and referring physicians—such
Minnesota Employers Elevate Physicians’ Status by Eliminating Middlemen
This year, about 7,000 Minnesota physicians—most of them in Minneapolis-St. Paul—began contracting directly with the Buyers’ Health Care Action Group (BHCAG), a coalition of 28 self-insured employers. The health plan, called Choice Plus, eliminates utilization review and makes physicians accountable for costs, quality, and patient


Stephen C Schimpff, MD said...

These are important concepts.

Most physicians have not yet grappled with the coming disruptive change called “consumerism.” A brief definition might be “The patient is no longer willing to be patient.” Medicine has traditionally been provider-oriented and now it must become consumer (patient)-oriented. Those physicians and hospitals that do not make the transition will be left out as patients demand and expect a different approach. Patients will soon be expecting a more professional attitude, rapid responsiveness, use of eMedicine (email, just like their accountant or lawyer; telediagnosis; telemedicine, like using Skype; and ePrescriptions) and a decidedly friendly encounter.

Satisfaction is not always the best measure. The real question is whether the patient would refer a friend or colleague to the physician. Generally, this occurs if the patient perceives that he or she has been truly listened to, has been able to engage in a meaningful interaction and has felt assured of privacy. In the future, patients will be less loyal and will move on to another provider if not pleased. These are important trends and disruptive of the current way physicians (and hospitals) practice medicine. Change will need to come, and quickly.

Consumerism is but one of many disruptive trends in how medicine will be delivered in the coming years.

Richard L. Reece, MD said...

Dr. Schimpff is dead on. Consumerism is coming on strong, and doctors who wish to control their own destinies will capitalize on this megatrend. I look forward to reading more of Dr. Schimpff's thoughts on his blog

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