Monthly Archives: September 2018

You’ve got a marketing advantage: capitalize on it [practice management tip: marketing]

Medical practice management is filled with unique challenges. But there's also a unique marketing advantage that practices have -- at least traditional, insurance-based practices. When your practice accepts insurance, the insurance plans you contract with, and even patients' employers, become a potential funnel of patients. The key is to be sure your practice is able to take advantage of it. Consider the process a patient will likely follow when looking for medical care. If the patient needs a new primary care practice, they'll almost surely start with their health plan's physician directory. Even if they ask for recommendations from friends and family, they will still want to confirm that your practice is in their network. And even if the patient needs a specialist and gets recommendations from their primary care physician, that in-network confirmation will still be crucial. Despite how critical it is for patients to know whether a physician is in-network for their plan or not, payer directories are often inaccurate. Any mistake in a directory can mean that your practice misses out on a patient that would have come through your doors. Some errors are particularly damaging -- like leaving a physician out of a plan altogether, displaying an obsolete or inaccurate location or phone number, or showing "not accepting new patients" when the physician is, in fact, accepting new patients. It seems logical that payers should want these directories to be accurate -- and they probably do. But it's harder to keep them updated than it might seem, and that means errors are common. Even if it's not technically your practice's responsibility, payer directory accuracy is too important to leave in the payers' hands. Someone on your practice should periodically check all payer directories, to be sure that they're sending patients to you and not passively turning them away with incorrect information. Besides the basics of accurate information, many payer directories now offer the opportunity to enhance your listings with photos and other information. Take advantage of it! It's your chance to stand out versus the competition in the best free marketing resource around.  

By |2018-07-21T16:35:20-08:00September 30th, 2018|

Creative ways to support more services — and more patients

A few years ago, my partners and I worked with an open-access pediatric Medicaid clinic that had a very creative approach to helping as many patients as possible. Their ingenious ideas helped them bust many of the assumptions about Medicaid (especially the big one: that patients can’t be served without losing lots of money). One of their biggest gambles was investing in a small bus to transport people who couldn’t get to the clinic because they lacked transportation or child care. Ultimately, the bus wasn’t much of a financial risk at all, since it brought patients in when the clinic was typically less busy. Plus, if a parent had one sick child and one well child, everyone could come to the clinic on the bus. The well child could be seen for an overdue check-up at the same visit as the sick sibling. This allowed the clinic to deliver more timely preventive services to more of its at-risk patients, while also generating more revenue. It helped address a clinical challenge while also improving the clinic’s financial picture. With the list of preventive screenings always seeming to grow, finding creative ways to accomplish more in less time—without putting more pressure on clinicians or the budget—is essential for any busy clinic. Of course, providing open access or transportation for patients is not an appropriate solution for every pediatric or family medicine clinic. But every practice can discover novel ways to do more with the same team by thinking creatively and questioning long-held assumptions. Here a few ideas that are a bit more conventional than adding a shuttle bus, but still might spark your practice team’s creativity about how to provide more services without adding stress: Group visits. Transportation and child care are common obstacles for Medicaid patients. Establishing evening group visits might make it easier for families who are in the same neighborhood to travel together for wellness checks. Because everyone in the group attends everyone else’s visit, messages about the importance of screenings and vaccines can be amplified. For example, if the nurse or physician asks one parent about lead testing

By |2022-01-01T22:51:45-08:00September 20th, 2018|
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