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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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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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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If you’ve found that your practice can’t sustain profitability at your providers’ current level of productivity, you may be thinking that it’s time to ask your physicians and mid-levels to start seeing more patients per day.  But have you evaluated whether your patient workflow actually has extra capacity?  Sometimes, your providers may have already maxed […]
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It’s commonplace to see staff and physicians hunched over their computer monitors squinting as they work.  When you consider the amount of time each day that people are working on their computers, the benefit of alleviating eyestrain with larger monitors is clear.  While many off-the-shelf computer bundles (CPU and monitor) purchased a few years ago […]
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Our work with medical practices often involves analyzing a practice’s data against benchmarks from sources like MGMA, NSCHBC, specialty society surveys, etc.  But, it’s not enough just to compare against the averages and percentiles; you have to know whether meeting or beating a benchmark is a good thing.  Believe it or not, this is not […]
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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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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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Just back from speaking at the wonderful Association of Otolaryngology Administrators (AOA) annual conference — what a valuable event. It’s such a great experience as a speaker to participate in such a well-attended, well-run event. In both of my sessions, attendees  were so attentive, taking notes, asking great questions, and making great comments and sharing […]
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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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Many practice managers do anything to keep staff busy — lest doctors see them “doing nothing” and start to believe they’re overstaffed. It’s admirable to want to get the most from the team, but obsessing about staff utilization to the point of burdening them with unnecessary tasks is a pitfall.  Here’s an example: recently we […]
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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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It might be the toughest message a practice management consultant has to deliver to a physician client: you’re just not working hard enough.  When doctors bring us in to analyze their practices’ profitability problems, they usually expect us to find they’re over-staffed, or that their building expenses are too high, or that their billing service […]
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I recently completed a series of articles for Kareo’s Getting Paid blog about how small business management issues relate to practice management.  While medical practices have an important mission that reaches beyond business, they can’t achieve that mission without succeeding on business terms.  And, in many fundamental ways, medical practices are not so different from […]
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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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Balancing work flow and eliminating troublesome bottlenecks in a busy medical practice are chronic problems, but if ignored they become a financial drain and compromise patient service. In fact, a decline in profits and patient gripes are often the things that alert the physician or manager that workflow problems have gotten out of hand. But […]
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Medical practice revenue is tighter than ever. It’s time for you to take critical steps to keep costs under control and improve profits. The first step to fixing the bottom line is to look for the waste. Wasted energy results in a loss of potential revenue and lots of frustration.  There is waste throughout the typical practice, but most of it is […]
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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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Did you know that  American workers spend nearly 20% of their time goofing off on the job?  That’s what a 2006 survey conducted by Salary.com and AOL revealed.  I doubt that medical practices are excluded from this phenomenon. Here’s what these employees are doing the most when they should be busy at work: Surfing the net; Socializing; Errands;  and […]
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Here’s seven key points that exist within a Dream Team. Players are motivated toward the same goal. There are effective communication channels between each team member. Criticisim is respectful, honest and constructive. No idea is considered stupid. The culture is deep-seated in team unity. Team is willing to compromise to achieve goal in real time. Ability of […]
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Patients first. Patients are a priority in every practice, in fact, they are the purpose. So why don’t doctors pay closer attention to patient complaints? The top three complaints all have to do with time and these issues can be solved. What bugs patients?? 1. Waiting more than 1/2 hour in the office2. Waiting too […]
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Medical practices are feeling the impact of the looming recession, as patients become more concerned about personal finances. They thiink twice before scheduling an appointment and put off treatment that doesn’t seem urgent. Yep, with gaps in the schedule, revenue starts to slide and practice economics become uncertain. So how can you fill those gaps […]
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