Monthly Archives: April 2014

Could an incentive ‘nudge’ improve your medical practice patient flow?

The idea of 'nudging' in behavioral economics gets a lot of play in healthcare. But most of the attention is on the public health/patient side -- i.e., how to persuade patients to do what public health administrators believe is best for them.  These ideas often focus on negatives and can be controversial -- prompting cries of 'nannying' and 'coercion.'  But some fascinating recent research by Balaji Prabhakar of Stanford shows that positive, incentive-based nudging can help reduce traffic and even help people have a little fun at the same time -- and it got me to thinking, should we take a look at this type of positive nudge as a way to improve medical practice workflow? If you have a minute, take a look at this brief article on the Stanford Business School site -- it explains how Prabhakar was inspired to try to help address the insane traffic problem he observed when visiting Bangalore on business.  A commute of 9 miles to his client's office in one of the busier areas of the city took employees an average of 71 minutes!  Prabhakar thought a scheme of incentives might help persuade employees to commute at off-peak times. His goal was to apply a key insight from his work as a computer scientist: that reducing peak load by just 10% would dramatically improve other metrics like wait times.  Could this insight also help your practice? Prabhakar used an interesting incentive to encourage off-peak commuting: lottery entries.  Each early arrival earned an entry into a weekly lottery -- so more early arrivals meant more chances to win. This was a positive approach (unlike some nudges that are perceived as punishments), and it helped make the program fun and created weekly excitement. So what if your practice wanted to reduce congestion -- say, due to late-arriving patients?  What about rewarding patients who arrive on time with a thank you and a scratch ticket or other small gift?  And are there times of day that are harder to book at your practice?  Perhaps a little reward for patients that can come in at those less

By |2022-01-01T22:52:07-08:00April 30th, 2014|

Payer, hospital directories get in on the ratings act

There have been some interesting developments in the world of physician directories and ratings sites.  First, payers have started opening up their directories, allowing prospective patients to see which doctors are participating before deciding on a plan.  This is useful for practices, too, since it makes it much easier for you to see if your listing information is incorrect (without, for example, needing to contact your rep or access the data through a physician portal). A second interesting trend is that payer sites -- perhaps inspired by the success of commercial physician review/rating directories -- have started adding reviews and ratings to their directories.  While some of you may be groaning as you read this, I think that this is mainly a good thing, provided that patients need to log in as plan members before rating (as seems to be the case where I've seen ratings on payer sites).  This validation of membership helps ensure that the people doing the rating are actually patients -- and not, as sometimes seen on generic reviews sites, people who don't seem to be patients, but instead are just friends with opinions or even disgruntled employees attempting to pose as patients. Hospital directories have also joined the bandwagon -- providing more data about doctors with privileges and affiliations, and even adding ratings in some cases. Which relates to another trend -- it's becoming more common to see a whole bunch of directories at the top of the results for virtually any physician category in many local markets.  With hospital directories, payer directories, physician reviews and ratings sites, generic reviews sites like Yelp and Angie's List, and even Google's own Places/+ directory listings all competing for the top spots, it is becoming much rarer for any practice's own site to make it onto the first page of search results (much less the top half).  Which means it's more important than ever to take the initiative and manage your practice's (and individual physician) online image and reputation. My upcoming ebook will feature practical and quick tips on how to do it -- to be alerted when

By |2022-01-01T22:52:08-08:00April 26th, 2014|

Authentic strategic planning for your medical practice

Medical practices are taking note of the importance of strategic planning, as they tread the unknown waters of healthcare reform and adapt to changes they may not have invited if given a choice. But do the key stakeholders of most private medical practices really understand what it takes to succeed with efforts to create and successfully execute a strategic plan? Do they know the importance of developing an authentic and that in order to be authentic it must be driven by the practice mission? If the strategic plan is not authentic in consistently delivering on the mission it is likely to fail.  But if it is authentic, it will guide the practice in achieving its strategic goals. Start on your path to strategic success by keeping these essentials in mind while going through the strategic planning process. Begin the strategic planning process by making sure the plan encompasses what the practice is all about and what it represents to the community. This means the goals and the decisions outlined in the strategic plan must be aligned with the practice’s mission and vision.  It is important to articulate the significance of this from the onset and revisit it as you go through the many processes of strategic brainstorming, goal-setting and formulating the written plan. This helps ensure that the decisions and actions identified in the strategic plan are authentic to your very purpose in being a medical practice. Next, identify what differentiates your practice from its competition. It is critical to examine market data to understand external factors that may impact the practice now and in the future. It is also critical to take an objective look at the practices strengths and weaknesses, exploring what opportunities this presents and what obstacles must be overcome.  Sometimes, this is referred to as a "SWOT" analysis, for "strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats."  These analytical steps help the practice address issues it must contend with and make appropriate strategic decisions based on the reality of your market position. Practice-wide engagement is needed to succeed with implementing a strategic plan.  This means communicating your strategic goals

By |2022-01-01T22:52:08-08:00April 22nd, 2014|

The patient-centered specialty practice (how special are you?)

In 2013 NCQA rolled out the Patient-Centered Specialty Practice, PCSP, Recognition Program to distinguish specialists that achieve specific marks with: Developing and maintaining referral agreements and care plans with primary practices; Providing superior access to care (including electronically) when patients need it; Tracking patients over time and across clinical encounters to ensure patient care needs are met; and Providing patient-centered care that includes the patient, and when appropriate, the family or caregivers, in planning and setting goals. The motivation behind the PCSP program began when reporting discrepancies were identified between referring physicians and the specialists they refer to.  For example, referring doctors claimed that between 25 and 50% of time they were unaware if the patients they refer are actually seen by the specialists.   Another discrepancy was the specialist claiming they sent consult reports 80% of the time, but the primary care physicians state they receive this information only 60% of the time. With the PCSPs intent on improving care coordination and communication between specialists and their primary care physician, managing chronic and acute conditions across continuum of care will be better accomplished. The PCSP program also evaluates medication management, test tracking and follow-up and information flow over care transitions. This recognition program is expected to result in a better patient experience and improved outcomes.

By |2014-04-17T18:31:36-08:00April 21st, 2014|

Special Judy Capko webinar event: The Secret to Strategic Planning – Making the Most of Your Practice’s Future (May 8, 2014)

Join Judy Capko, author of Secrets of the Best-Run Practices, for a special, 90-minute webinar for physicians on strategic planning. A strategic plan will provide your practice with a strategy to respond to key regulation like the Affordable Care Act and secure your future in times of rapid change.   A strategic plan will help you clarify where you are, help you understand your needs and determine what strategies will help you achieve your goals. By participating in this webinar you will learn how to: Overcome challenges and obstacles that hinder performance; Understand the essential requirements in preparing a strategic plan; Take concrete steps that capitalize on your strengths; and Develop a plan that positions your practice for success. Regardless of practice size or specialty, a strategic plan is essential in guiding a practice to achieve its objectives, stay competitive, and be profitable without compromising the quality of care and service you provide. This course covers the key elements required in developing and structuring a strategic plan – and how to get everyone on board – so you can guide your organization in this time of unexpected change. To learn more about this webinar and enroll, visit this link: https://www.greenbranch.com/store/index.cfm/product/1405_20/secrets-to-strategic-planning-making-the-most-of-your-practices-future.cfm

By |2022-01-01T22:52:08-08:00April 14th, 2014|

Thinking portals and Meaningful Use Stage 2? Join my free webinar

Does Meaningful Use Stage 2 have you thinking (perhaps worrying) about offering a patient portal to your EMR?  Or do you have a portal, but wonder if it's getting the use that it should -- and whether it's really helping to engage your patients? Next Wednesday, 4/16/14, I present a free webinar on successfully implementing your portal as part of Kareo's webinar program.  I'll take a look at: Why patient engagement matters -- and how portals fit in Keys for a successful portal roll-out Tips for promoting your portal to patients How portals satisfy Meaningful Use -- and why it's not just about Meaningful Use! Please join me on 4/16 to explore this important and exciting topic. Click to sign up for the free webinar on Patient Engagement, Patient Portals and Meaningful Use  

By |2016-03-04T11:54:55-08:00April 10th, 2014|
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