Business of Medicine

By Steve Barrett
Sunday, September 1, 2019

Lighting a Path to Cost Savings

Well-designed lighting systems in hospitals may confer benefits such as improved patient sleep, research has found. They can also reduce costs.

Proper lighting saves money on energy and maintenance alike, according to Philips Healthcare Lighting, which recommends healthcare facilities undergo a lighting audit to find ways to maintain a good patient and staff experience while improving the bottom line.

When healthcare organizations are considering overhauling their lighting, Philips recommends that they:

  • Balance upfront costs against performance issues, such as how long the new lighting may last compared with the existing fixtures.
  • Remember that more durable lights that sustain their lumen output may reduce maintenance costs.
  • Factor the longer life of more efficient lighting into calculations of down-the-road costs to dispose of ballasts, fixtures and lamps.

How Not to Leave a Medical Practice

Lawsuits and injunctions are among the potential consequences for physicians who leave a medical practice without regard to the legal obligations of such a move, according to Steven Babitsky, Esq., Co-Editor of The Biggest Legal Mistakes Physicians Make: And How to Avoid Them.

Babitsky, President of SEAK, a Massachusetts company that trains expert witnesses, points to patient abandonment as a key area of concern. Adequate notice to all affected patients — those who come to the practice as well as others, such as nursing home patients — is vital before severing the physician-patient relationship. Legal requirements for avoiding abandonment vary by state, Babitsky notes.

Ignoring noncompete clauses in employment contracts can also prove costly, he advises. Physicians should talk with an attorney to ensure they will be in compliance if they take a new job.

According to Babitsky, physicians should also have a contract regarding proper maintenance of patients’ medical records, rather than leave storage up to an informal agreement with fellow providers.

Attracting Patients: A Little of This, a Little of That

Some strategies for attracting and retaining patients are relatively straightforward: Hire knowledgeable, courteous staff, for example.

Others are less obvious but still effective, according to Spartanburg, South Carolina-based Practice Builders.

Ask for referrals. Make existing patients aware that you have new service lines or are accepting new patients. Thank them when that effort bears fruit.

Refer. Other physicians will remember colleagues who send patients their way.

Join local online directories. Most patients seeking physicians rely on services such as Yelp and Whitepages.

Adapt. If patients want early evening hours, offering them a less-than-coveted 8 a.m. spot won’t create a reputation for patient-centered flexibility.