Business of Medicine

By Katy Mena-Berkley
Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Practice Promotion 101

It’s a given that physicians enter their chosen careers to pursue the practice of medicine. However, in the current landscape of healthcare, clinicians — especially those in private practice — must also be skilled businesspeople to stay competitive.

Several variables factor into how effectively a private practice physician can keep his or her exam rooms full, according to the AMA.

These may include tangible components, such as office amenities and the visibility of an eye-catching and intuitive website.

The physician’s demeanor and accomplishments, such as educational credentials and demonstrated commitment to patient satisfaction, are also strong determinants of a practice’s financial success. Together, these components create a physician’s brand — his or her reputation in the community, including the online community.

Physicians in private practice may find it worthwhile to invest in optimizing their online presence and getting more patients in the door. Once those patients arrive, it’s essential to spend plenty of one-on-one time and provide the best possible service. The results will speak for themselves.

Investing in IT Without Breaking the Bank

In the era of modern medicine, countless priorities are competing for the same limited dollars. While information technology may be a tempting item to place on the back burner, wise IT investments can enhance the business’s bottom line.

An up-to-date IT system provides clinicians access to the latest data about patients and treatment options, offering the opportunity to improve clinical quality and outcomes, according to John Muir Health CIO Jon Russell. By implementing the right data and analytics strategy, healthcare organizations also have the potential to manage patient relationships more effectively.

In addition, spending money on thoughtfully designed IT can ease the burden on administrative professionals by offering automated communication services, reminding patients about appointments via email or text. By working together, hospital leadership and IT professionals can determine which platforms and enhancements provide the most strategic use of the budget.

Simple Steps to Enhance Clinical Efficiency

Physicians have always spread themselves thin. With the shift toward embracing new technologies while keeping up with a traditional patient load, the demands on a private-practice physician’s time are increasingly strident. However, a handful of habits can help maximize productivity. According to The Scope of Practice blog, ideas to try include:

  • Gain a solid understanding of EHR templates.
  • Invest in dictation software.
  • Type while talking to your patients whenever possible ... but only if you are capable of making eye contact while typing accurately.
  • Have patients confirm appointments ahead of time.
  • Review charts and draft notes before seeing a patient.
  • Set appointment times for 20 minutes before you plan to see the patient. This way, patients can complete pre-visit work, such as filling out forms and having vital signs tested, in a timely fashion.
  • Delegate whenever possible by passing tasks that do not require a physician on to a nurse practitioner, physician assistant or other staff member as appropriate.