One of our previous clients decided to move on from her group practice to set up her own practice.   After being in town for just a few short years it would be important for her to have a following of loyal patients. For this reason, I decided to research how patients were rating her, and […]
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Summer’s here! If the change of the season has you thinking about reading on a beach, a back porch, a dock, or a hammock, we’ve got the reads that you need. Judy and Laurie have both published new books. They’re both easy reads packed with intriguing case studies of real practices — the furthest thing […]
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A new study from the University of Florida found that patients’ rudeness towards their physicians can have a “devastating” impact on medical care. Patient rudeness may play a critical role in medical errors, which by some analyses are now the third leading cause of death in the US. The Florida researchers determined that patient rudeness […]
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I’m working on an ebook right now about medical practice staffing. More specifically, it’s about how the instinct to cut staff, to be as leanly staffed as possible, can backfire*. There are dozens of little details that any practice can explore to improve profitability. These small changes can be made with much less risk than […]
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Are some jobs at your medical practice just too urgent or important to assign to specific people? That’s the argument some practice managers and physicians make, e.g: “Phones need to be answered by the first available person, whatever their job” “Everyone should keep an eye on the fax machine, and deliver faxes they see piling […]
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Employees who are not always busy working are frequently a source of consternation to physicians. Sometimes, practices attempt to remedy the situation by restructuring staff jobs — not always with good results. Consider the front desk, for example. In almost any practice, front desk workload will ebb and flow.  Depending on variables like patient punctuality, the […]
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If you’ve visited here before, you might have seen some of my posts about the challenges physicians face in managing their practices.  In most medical practices, the physician-owners are also very busy health care providers whose business management time is quite constrained.  This makes it that much more difficult to know what’s really happening on […]
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It’s not too soon to think about the holidays and how you are going to honor staff for everything they’ve done to get you through the year. Will it be the typical holiday party and a gift exchange or do you plan on giving Christmas bonuses – which can be troublesome? I say this because […]
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When I was in business school, the idea of continuing ed for MBAs was occasionally bandied about.  It just seemed odd that other professions like law and medicine made ongoing education and improvement a priority while ours didn’t. Of course, the most obvious response to this is that the competitive nature of the business world […]
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The Patient-Centered Medical Home is so much more than just a payment innovation — it’s an idea that appeals for clinical reasons to so many physicians and practice managers, who were already aiming to provide the higher level of care-coordination and patient engagement that is the foundation of the PCMH.  But many small practices we […]
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Yahoo! reports that a recent study by the Workplace Bullying Institute showed that bullying — defined as “abusive conduct that is threatening, intimidating, humiliating, work sabotage, or verbal abuse” — is a problem at nearly half of all US workplaces.  They also found that 27% of all adult Americans have directly experienced it, 21% have […]
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Sometimes, the business of medical practice management is a fuzzy science.  Managers have to keep the patients, and their bills, moving through the practice.  Most often, physicians are satisfied if their managers accomplish that much. But managing optimally includes softer skills, like bringing out the best in staff.  Recently, we’ve worked with several practices with […]
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Turnover and hiring are costly.  Staff are so important to your practice’s patient service, financial performance and overall functioning.  Given these things, one of the best investments you can make in your own leadership abilities as a physician owner or practice manager is to develop the skill of delivering effective feedback to employees. The importance of giving effective […]
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Leadership sets the tone for the entire practice.  Staff will model your commitment and follow your expectations.  Much of the manager’s role focused on managing practice finances, maintaining practice viability, and keeping a highly motivated and efficient staff that is respectful and trustworthy.  Add to the list a new yardstick that changes how physicians get […]
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If you follow this space, you may already know that I’m dubious about the value to physicians of stopping out for an MBA.  As an MBA-holder myself, I think the coursework can be overkill for independent physicians who just want to run their practices better (this is less the case for those that intend on […]
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Today’s Harvard Business Review  features a wonderful tip for medical office managers: Know when to coach versus when to teach. Teaching — i.e., demonstrating or instructing an employee on exactly what to do — is key for bringing new employees up to speed (aka, training).  It can also be useful when corrective action is needed […]
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Harvard Business Review recently published a “Daily Idea” about leadership that seems tailor-made for medical practice managers and doctors.  The idea: the best leaders are both tough and nice. Those of us who’ve worked primarily in business know that the question of whether toughness or niceness drives more productivity from employees is almost as old as […]
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If you haven’t read Dan Ariely’s entertaining, highly-readable and best-selling book Predictably Irrational, consider adding it to your summer reading list. Ariely, a cognitive psychologist at Duke, designed and conducted many experiments that illuminate some surprising reasons that guide behavior. Many of these experiments have relevance for the way that medical practice administrators manage their […]
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Practice managers and physician owners might look at the media attention focused on Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to end work-from-home at her company and think, well, that doesn’t apply to me.  And it’s true, with only a few exceptions (say, billing), medical practice staff members are unlikely to be able to do their work […]
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Most practices have an underutilized resource – namely, their employees’ ability to identify and solve problems. As practices deal with the day-to-day business, it’s all too easy to fall into a routine-inspired complacency. To establish some positive momentum, make a point to ask each of your staff to identify problems and possible improvements – and […]
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Good practice managers understand the importance of regular performance reviews for motivating staff and making them feel appreciated as well as addressing and documenting needed improvements.  But sometimes the manager’s own review by the managing physician of the practice slips through the cracks — and, physicians don’t always understand the importance of giving structured feedback […]
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A poorly-timed departure of a key employee can really put a crimp on your enjoyment and profitability. Recent survey data reported in the online Business Insider cite a lack of trust in corporations and wanting to be their own boss as the top two reasons these workers leave. These data bolster our oft-repeated recommendation that […]
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My partner Joe Capko and I just had a new article published in Practice Link, a magazine for job-hunting physicians.  Our assignment was to explore the idea of a “15 minute MBA for doctors.” In other words, are there guideposts that we can draw from business school training that might help physicians know what they […]
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Joe Capko did a webinar with Medical Practice Management Web Advisor earlier this week on how effective leadership translates to more productivity from your staff — and vice versa.  One of his themes was establishing trust by listening and treating people fairly, and letting them know they are valued.  People give more to their jobs […]
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Do you have conflicting personalities in your office? Do such differences result in petty squabbling?  While inter-office conflicts are common, there are a few things an administer can do to greatly reduce conflict in the workplace.  It’s important to address conflicts before they affect the professionalism of your practice, the morale of your staff, and […]
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Harvard Business Review posted a great tip today about “real teams.”   The pointed out that “real” teams — i.e., groups that really work together as one — all share three important characteristics: Shared sense of purpose Flexible skills Mutual accountability There’s a great lesson here for medical practices.  Physicians set the tone of purpose and accountability.  […]
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Our last post talked about some of the key performance indicators a practice can examine to understand how well it is performing.  Now we will dig a  little deeper and look at other indicators that identify if a practice is above the norm and meeting the expectations the team has set. Managing referrals and the […]
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By Joe Capko, Capko & Company Every year, changes to the CPT codes take medical practices by surprise — even though everyone knows the updates are coming.  Whether it’s because doctors and administrators assume that coding changes won’t likely apply to their specialty, because it’s hard to find time to go through the materials, or […]
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