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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Recently, the check-in automation company Phreesia invited me to write an ebook on one of my favorite topics: the patient-centered practice. It’s called “Beyond Five-Star Reviews: Why the Patient Experience Matters, and How to Improve It,” and it’s available free with registration — just click on this link. The idea of being more patient-centered and […]
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Technology for the medical practice front office has many benefits. It can speed up processes, keep critical data safe from fire and flood, allow practice staff to tap resources from other organizations via the Internet, and so on. The list is long and growing. But my favorite front office technology benefit by far is the […]
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Does your specialty have an association just for practice administrators and managers? Specialty practice management associations like the AOA (for ENT administrators), ADAM (for dermatology managers), and others are some of the most lively and valuable networking and education groups around. If you haven’t looked into whether your specialty has a practice management association, it’s […]
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Q4 is here! For many practices, it’s the busiest time of the year, as patients who’ve been timing their care to maximize the value of their insurance coverage or their tax deductions are now ready to schedule. During this period, a greater proportion of reimbursement will usually be collected from health plans, rather than patients. […]
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This amusing television ad from Cigna is bound to attract a bit of attention from fans of Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs, House, ER, and MASH. It’s cute. If you recognize any of these tv docs, you’ll likely enjoy it. And it has a message that can help patients get more out of their insurance, and help […]
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I stumbled upon this quote by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently: I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress. This makes so much sense for any enterprise. If you’re stuck, try chipping away at the easiest part […]
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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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Whether you’ve got the deductible reset blues or have simply resolved to keep your schedule as full as it can be in 2016, I’ve got some ideas to share in my new webinar, “Five Tips to Fill the Schedule in 2016.” It’s free (sponsored by Kareo). Some highlights of what will be covered: Reputation management […]
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It’s almost that time again: deductibles re-set in less than a month. Got your game face on? For many practices, the end of the year is so busy, it’s hard to think about planning for slow business in January, February and March.  Ironically, the cause of the busyness in Q4 is related to the cause […]
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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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Anyone who encourages me knows they’ll get an earful about front office technology tools — they’ve become a passion of mine.  I’m referring to things like: Patient responsibility payment estimators (e.g., Wellero, Navicure, Zirmed) Check-in tablets and kiosks (e.g., Phreesia) Online patient payment tools like portals and pre-payment sites (e.g., SpendWell) Patient payment apps (e.g., […]
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The concierge practice emerged more than 10 years ago and centered on family practice and internal medicine. Since then, practices have adapted the model to suit their preferences and styles, and the concierge approach has even moved beyond primary care as private practice physicians of different specialties search for a more profitable and fulfilling career […]
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What’s the worst thing that can happen when you staff aren’t trained to manage patient deductibles and collect up front?  It’s not that you won’t ultimately get paid.  There is something worse that can happen, and it’s not that uncommon: your practice can end up losing the revenue for the service and losing the patient. […]
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If you missed Laurie’s webinar, “Front Desk Collections: the New Linchpin of Profitability” (sponsored by Wellero) — one of her most popular webinars ever! — you’re still in luck.  Sign up here and watch it whenever you like. This practical presentation hits on some ways you can immediately increase profitability while avoiding pitfalls that can […]
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Medical practices are taking note of the importance of strategic planning, as they tread the unknown waters of healthcare reform and adapt to changes they may not have invited if given a choice. But do the key stakeholders of most private medical practices really understand what it takes to succeed with efforts to create and […]
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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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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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There are lots of reasons to spend time in the exhibit hall when attending practice management and other medical conferences. By visiting the exhibit hall you will learn a lot about what’s going on in the industry, how vendors are seeking to meet your future needs and what technology changes have emerged that can make […]
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We were recently called into a group practice where the physician owners of Struggles Medical Group were disillusioned with the practice of medicine. Their concerns were typical, shrinking reimbursement, dismal profits and the threat of new competition, as a large urban academic faculty practice was beginning to penetrate this suburban community.  Sound familiar?  This is […]
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This is certainly a reasonable question to ask considering the rapid-fire change, threats and unknown factors medical practices face due to the Affordable Care Act.   But here are a few things you can do to deal with all of this. First, keep your eye on the ball.   Don’t throw up your hands in frustration, but […]
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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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I’ve previously recommended Dr. Christian Terwiesch’s introductory MBA-level operations management course on Coursera — and, great news, it’s being offered again this fall. UPenn/Wharton have expanded their selection on Coursera to include four “MBA foundation” courses in operations, marketing, finance and accounting — an incredible opportunity for physicians and practice managers alike to explore these […]
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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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A new year has already begun! If you are hoping for significant year-over-year improvement you need to act – and sooner rather than later.  Here’s how great practices help ensure that each year is better than the last. Examine past performance.  Consider what data points are important to review.   As a guide, great practices will […]
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