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    How can physicians combat industry shortages and meet patient demands?

     

    While third-party software products come with a price tag, technology investments can help your practice to stay competitive instead of falling behind. 

    You do the math. With services like telemedicine, Skype consultations and giving patients the option to schedule appointments online or through apps, you free up your time and resources to help more patients. You’ll also have more time to develop strategies to build a smarter and more streamlined practice.

     

    FURTHER READING: It's time a real investment is made in primary care

     

    Nonetheless, the growing role of technology in the delivery of care introduces cybersecurity concerns. More than 27 million patient records were compromised in reported healthcare data breaches in 2016, so establishing a strong cyber security program is crucial. Restricting access to protected health information, implementing firewalls and training employees on IT security best practices can help protect your patients’ health information.

    2.     Think creatively when approaching your practice’s organizational structure

    When was the last time you examined your practice’s office locations and hours? Taking a closer look at patient needs, emerging market trends and more can reveal opportunities to assist more patients and increase revenue.

    ·       Open additional types of service sites. Consider establishing your own urgent care center so your practice can take care of patients in critical times of need instead of losing their business to competing healthcare providers.

    ·       Expand office locations. Research market trends and population changes across surrounding areas. Opening office locations in underserved areas experiencing population growth asserts your presence before other practices follow suit. Also take a look at demographics and see how you can tailor your new office’s design and services to meet particular needs. For example, older patients may respond well to quiet, comfortable seating areas in the waiting room while younger patients might prefer phone charging stations.

     

    HOT TOPIC: Physicians need to be like the Ritz-Carlton to improve healthcare

     

    ·       Reevaluate office hours. Take a look at appointment patterns. Do most of your patients prefer appointments later in the day or earlier in the morning? Should you offer weekend hours? What about extending services later in the evening, when people are out of work? Instead of becoming complacent with standard office hours, test new hours and see how patients respond. Tailoring hours by office location will better serve patients while maximizing your staff’s time and resources.

    Next: Collaborating with payers

    Kevin N. Fine, MHA
    Kevin N. Fine, MHA, is a director of healthcare advisory services in the Miami office of Kaufman Rossin, one of the Top 100 CPA and ...

    4 Comments

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    • [email protected]
      In all respect, Mr. Fine, are you serious? My partners and I have been in primary care for collectively nearly 100 years. We have witnessed a wonderful primary care specialty eroded and now controlled by bean counters and suits. Doctors no longer "doctor", they record, work EMR tasks, and search for morsels scattered by third parties. Our incomes are controlled by the "big" guys who dole out promises if certain "standards" are met, or bonuses for signups to gain control of our practices. We are chess pieces on a large play board and have no say or control anymore. Your suggestions ballon overhead and steepen the spiral to burnout. However, we are stubborn and changed our 6000 patient traditional practice to a 1500 patient Direct Primary Care model. No third parties, no forms, no handcuffs,no hassles. 30 patients per day is now 12 patients per day. All have long educational visits with us. We no longer have a waiting room, instead a reception lobby since no one waits. Free beverages, WIFI, and personal care from the parking lot to the exam room. We run on time and the patients are delighted. Our overhead dropped by two thirds. This is the only survival model for primary care. A piece of heaven has returned to Central Indiana. [email protected]
    • [email protected]
      Some crazy ideas. I do functional medicine. I signed out of medicare 2 years ago. I'm getting ready to move to a concierge practice and getting rid of the two remaining insurance plans as I'm tired of the rules and regs that say spend less time with patients and more time on documentation so you can get paid less. I already do phone and Skype consults/visits which many patients like, but they also last 15 or 30 minutes which patients really love. The number one complaint I hear from a new consult is that their doc only spends a few minutes with them and hardly looks at them as they are entering data in the EMR and hardly touches them yet they can read a full exam in their handy portal when they review the visit note - fraud anyone??? I very much doubt that any primary care doc can figure out anything useful in a 2 minute telemedicine visit. That's why my practice is booming - I spend TIME with patients and we figure out what's really wrong with them and help them heal. What a novel concept!! Color me a Marcus Welby fan but that's what primary care is about - low tech and high touch - not hiring more PA's or NPs to herd more patients through to make more money......
    • Anonymous
      Oh yes, you can embrace the technology and still take less from the insurers. You can be scrutinized how you treat pain or anxiety. You can work later into the day to treat patients who have no loyalty to your practice and will go to an urgent care center rather than wait thirty minutes to see you. You can give up going to treat your patients in the hospital since most now have hospitalists who do a crappy job and make your job harder. You can also tell them all to pound sand and enjoy life! I chose early retirement and it is wonderful. Have lunch in the sun and enjoy a cigar.
    • [email protected]
      Interesting that he doesn't mention hiring PA's or NP's as a source of income. Our office has hired 2 PA's and 2 NP's and we were able to open two more offices. We're making a lot of money and everyone is getting well paid!

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