Today's Washington Post has a story about a lawsuit by a dentist against one of its patients. The dentist had the patient to sign a "do-not-talk" contract prior to treating the patient's aching tooth, but the patient nonetheless posted a negative review on two sites when faced with an unexpected $4,000 bill. Attempting to control online reviews by contracts that squelch patient speech is an approach that is bound to backfire; patients will wonder why you feel the need to restrict their honest views and what kind of negative reactions other patients have had. Moreover, as the article pointed out: online reviews are only one tool patients can use to choose a doctor -- and only a small percentage use them doctors have many other lines of defense when bad reviews are posted -- including the courts if a review is defamatory the vast majority of reviews are positive! One website, RateMDs.com, has even started a "wall of shame" where patients can report doctors who attempt to prevent reviews by pre-emptive contract. Not the kind of publicity any practice wants! Don't let paranoia about negative reviews lead you to make this kind of mistake. Reputable physicians can use reviews to their advantage -- not just through the benefit of positive reviews, but through the opportunity to learn about (and address) customer service problems in the office that may be invisible to providers.
My partner Joe Capko and I just had a new article published in Practice Link, a magazine for job-hunting physicians. Our assignment was to explore the idea of a "15 minute MBA for doctors." In other words, are there guideposts that we can draw from business school training that might help physicians know what they need to learn, and how to develop the business skills they'll need to thrive in the future -- whether they run their own practices or work for a larger system? We're delighted with the input we had from the physicians we interviewed -- wonderful advice for newly minted doctors. We spoke with a wide range of physicians -- including anesthesia, OB/GYN, pediatrics, family practice and academia -- as well as a number of practice management experts to get a diversity of viewpoints. Check it out here - we'd welcome any feedback.
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 other kinds of small businesses. There's a lot to be learned from examining the success factors that apply to seemingly-unrelated businesses. Plus, it's kind of interesting and fun to think about other businesses in the 'real world' and how they deal with their challenges -- almost like looking at your own organization through a different lens. If you're interested in checking out the Small Business Lessons for Physician Practices series, here are the links: Small Business Lessons for Practices: Human Resources Getting Started with Marketing Financial Basics Operations Management for Physician Practices
It's that time of year again ... when every goal you've imagined for your practice seems possible, and every problem seems fixable. So you make that long list of resolutions, but, by week two, you're already overwhelmed and discouraged. After all, there was a reason you didn't fix all those problems or implement all those big ideas last year: it was too much to do all at once. Before you get discouraged, start again. And this time, pick just ONE thing. Focus on that, and you can tackle it. And once that one item is conquered, you can then move onto the next. For more on this approach, visit this article from Harvard Business Review. Need help setting your priorities for success in 2012? We can help. Contact us for more information about our practice assessment services and practice management consulting. Let's make 2012 your best year ever!