MarketingProfs has a nice summary of how important it is for any small/local business to monitor, own and, if necessary, "clean up" its listings in online directories. For medical practices, this is doubly important, because of the increasing number of medicine-related directories and ratings sites that are pulling from licensing and other databases -- databases that are often outdated. Moreover, patients often look for listings online while on-the-go -- for example, using mobile phones. Keeping tabs on this information helps insure all the places you're listed relate to the "real" you -- i.e., the real identity of your practice. It doesn't have to be time-consuming. Work on it over a few weeks, one site at a time, until you get all your medical site listings and main yellow pages directories claimed and cleaned up. Then be sure you have Google Alerts set up so you'll receive notices when pages are launched or updated containing your practice information -- so you can fix any erroneous data. (Find Google Alerts here.)
Is this a good thing? The Wall Street Journal and Slate report that Wellpoint will capitalize on the famed Watson computer's ability to analyze as much as 200 million pages of content in as little as three seconds to aid their own nurses as well as physicians in researching diagnoses. Oncologists are the first target group of physicians. Some concerns are being raised, though. Will the system be programmed to find the best -- not just the most cost-effective -- treatment options? And, of course, the data used to generate physician recommendations will be of critical importance. What are your thoughts on this news? An important advance for medicine? Or a potentially problematic development that could unintentionally create more bureaucracy, and put more control in the hands of non-doctors? Read more about this story: On The Wall Street Journal
If there's one thing you can do to make a huge difference in the credibility of your website, it's using real photos of yourself and your staff instead of stock photography. Stock photos never look natural -- and can even be misleading, especially when stock photos of people with different gender/age are used on pages showing your "doctors" at work. People don't expect you or your staff to look like models. They do want to make a connection to fellow human beings -- remember that they may be working with your practice at moments when they feel weak, nervous or vulnerable. Making your image warmer and more real will go a long way to connecting better with patients and prospective patients. For a humorous look at the pitfalls of stock photography, check out this slide show from Marketing Profs. You'll see immediately why stock photography can be so cringe-worthy!
The foundation for effective management of the revenue cycle is the practice's financial polices - so make yours rock-solid! They need to reflect the practice's culture and payment philosophy. This becomes more critical with the increase in high deductible insurance plans that place more responsibility on the patient. Here are some key factors in developing effective financial policies: Physicians need to agree on what their payment expectations are and let the manager enforce the policies. Include everyone involved in the process in the development of the financial policies and procedures. This often includes the scheduler, receptionist, data entry, coder, billing clerk, collection department and the manager. It is important to get their buy-in to develop policies that will work! Provide consistent training and support. Establish benchmarks for accurate patient registration, charge entry/payment cycle and error ratios, and days in accounts receivable. Provide adequate oversight to recognize when additional support is needed and to hold staff accountable to the standards outlined in the policy. Financial policies unify the practice and improve consistency in collection procedures To be effective, physicians and managers must define their expectations and clarify the processes necessary to achieve those expectations. Capko & Company a leader in medical practice management and marketing consulting. Judy Capko is the author of the runaway best-selling book: Secrets of the Best-Run Practices!
Our website is now updated with Judy Capko's most recent article links -- click here to read her 2011 and 2010 contributions to Physicians Practice, Urology Times, Repertoire and more.
Medical practice revenue is tighter than ever. It's time for you to take critical steps to keep costs under control and improve profits. The first step to fixing the bottom line is to look for the waste. Wasted energy results in a loss of potential revenue and lots of frustration. There is waste throughout the typical practice, but most of it is silent and doesn't get the attention it should. Here's some common threads we see in your world: A lack of clearly defined job responsibilities that result in duplication of effort. Accepting poor performance and inferior outcomes Mistakes that one person makes and another one corrects because it seems faster or easier. The good news is all these things are fixable. Make the commitment. Look at the action that needs attention. Is it the scheduling, patient visit or billing and collections, or something else? Then flow chart the processes involved and identify the cause for errors and inefficiency, discuss the possible solutions and pick the one that makes the most sense. Then [and this is important] assign someone the responsibility to see it through, set a reasonable time-line to get each change completed and schedule meetings to review progress along the way. You may need to hire a consultant to get the ball rolling and develop a process improvement plan, but it will be worth the effort. Start thinking lean and reduce the waste! Once you see improvement it's time to celebrate. Your bottom-line will improve, staff will enjoy their work more and patients will be happier. Sounds like a win-win-win. So just do it! Capko & Company, experts in practice management and markeeting - We are here to help make your practice shine. s
Respectful engagement is about real behaviors that make a difference in patient safety, productivity and financial performance - your bottom-line, according to Dr. Mitchell Kusy and Dr. Elizabeth Holloway of Zolo Healthcare Solutions and authors of the fabulous book: Toxic Workplace! Managing Toxic Personalites and their Systems of Power. Here are a few tips from these experts. Develop zero tolerance strategies to reduce productivity losses Support staff engagement to uncover bad behaviors Designate an accountability partner for every leader Certainly a blog does not give this topic the attention it deserves. I highly recommend you buy the Kusy-Holloway book as an investment in your permanent library and make it required for every physician and manager. It is your responsibility to keep things civil and protect the workplace environment. Failure to do so will cost you plenty! Capko & Company is a leading healthcare consulting firm.
Did you know that American workers spend nearly 20% of their time goofing off on the job? That's what a 2006 survey conducted by Salary.com and AOL revealed. I doubt that medical practices are excluded from this phenomenon. Here's what these employees are doing the most when they should be busy at work: Surfing the net; Socializing; Errands; and Spacing out. Why is this happening and what can you do about it? I believe the primary reasons for monkey business happening on your time are boredom, a lack of direction or people not really liking their jobs very much. Stand up and take notice. Make sure you are clear on your expectations and provide a work environment that makes people feel important and helps them succeed. Employees can make a break your future - you need everyone on the team contributing and feeling valued. Capko & Company experts in healthcare business management and marketing. Call on the Capko consulting team: www.capko.com
Here's seven key points that exist within a Dream Team. Players are motivated toward the same goal. There are effective communication channels between each team member. Criticisim is respectful, honest and constructive. No idea is considered stupid. The culture is deep-seated in team unity. Team is willing to compromise to achieve goal in real time. Ability of team members to face obstacles objectively. With a strong leader you can inspire your staff and work toward creating the Dream Team. It's worth the effort! Capko & Company is one of America's leading healthcare practice management and marketing consulting firms.
The holiday season has arrived. It's full of hustle and bustle and year-end activities that occupy our time. Despite economic concerns and regulatory issues that continue to impact the way we operate our medical practices, it's still a time to be grateful. Be grateful for the patients that put their trust in you and recognize there are many opportunities to grow the practice and the bottom line in 2011. Here's a few things to consider: Thanking your referring sources still has a lot of power and is a true expression of your appreciation. PQRI, the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative, offers an opportunity to be eligible for year-end bonuses if you are reporting on standards of care when submitting claims. To find out more, go to the CMS website. For practices that have more than an occasional missed appointment, you can add an impressive amount of revenue to the bottom-line by managing the schedule better and taking corrective actions to ensure patients are committed to keeping their appointments. Look at your 2010 performance and set the benchmark higher for 2011 in key areas such as increasing the number of new patients, improving collections, and managing or even reducing staff overhead (the highest cost on your income and expense report). If your staff is accumulating over-time hours it's costing you plenty. Find out why and solve it. Honor your patients. In January send your patients an appreciation card for selecting your practice. It's also a good time to remind them to take good care of their health by scheduling annual check-ups and follow up appointments. We are grateful to our clients and the trust they have in us. Here's wishing all of you a prosperous 2011. Capko & Company is one of the nation's leading practice management and marketing consulting firms.
Yeah life in the medical practice isn't what it use to be, but neither is driving in the fast lane. Your best road to success is to focus on the positive and to realize you have choices. No more grumbling about what is wrong with the system - it's time to take action. Here's what you can do....First, learn more about your own practice. Look at the numbers - tangible evidence of practice performance! Then ask how your practice compares to same time last year and what actions can you take to ensure you are better off in the future?Next, take action! Set goals and strategies to achieve them. Make the investment in resources, time and money to take your practice to a new level and protect your future. Make the commitment.Then involve the staff. Ask them for input in how the practice can achieve its goals by tapping into their talents. Get everyone on board and the amazing results will surprise you.Finally, when goals are achieved, celebrate with staff and share the rewards. The future's yours. Grab it and make a difference. You'll be glad you did.Now readers, tell me what you think and give our readers something to think about!Judy Capko is one of America's leading practice management and marketing consultants and author of the runaway top-selling book: Secrets of the Best-Run Practices. www.capko.com
We hear a lot these days about best-practices, benchmarks and key performance indicators, but what does it really take to be a better-performing practice?It starts with developing your own report card. Determine what key performance indicators you want to follow. Here are some standard industry measures: Total accounts receivable (A/R) and days in A/R (DAR)Percentage of A/R over 120 daysPercentage of insurance contract adjustmentsCollection ratio as a percentage of charges minus contract adjustmentsIncome and expense as a percentage of revenueStaffing costs as a percentage of revenueNumber of full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) based on 40 hour work weekNumber of new patient visits and established patient visitsNext, Review your data and past performance history. Prepare your calculations based on per FTE provider number. Compare this year's practice performance to the same time last year. Also compare your figures to national data from MGMA's Cost Survey, http://www.mgma.com/ and NSCHBC's statistical report, http://www.nschbc.com/ for your specialty. Some of the national data represents the average among all the sampling practices - that is the 50% mark, so this should only be a base. Shoot be in the top 10% to be a best-practice. Now set improvement goals where you are not in top 10%, increasing your goal each year until you reach the mark.If your performance with these key indicators is already at the best-practice level, expand the tracking to include other indicators that compare your performance in these suggested areas:Indicator: GoalLow turnover: Rolling three year average under 15%Staff over-time pay: Less than 3 hours per provider each weekPatient wait time: Less than 15 minutesClaims error rate: Less than 3%Collection at time of service: 90%Missed appointments: Less than 5%Now you'll have some real tools to work with - so start tracking! If you need help, call on a consultant in your area.Judy Capko is one of America's leading practice management and marketing consultants, and author of the runaway top-selling book: Secrets of the Best-Run Practices. https://capko.com/
Communicating better improves morale and performance, and cuts down on turnover. Poor communication wastes time and makes those you interact with feel discounted. It's even more magnified with the younger generation. Generation Y wants lots of feedback and they want it NOW! The annual review just isn't enough, so start communicating better. Talk about youd expectations, their achievements and what can be done differently. Share your goals and build a culture that supports it - beginning with communication. And remember, communication is a two-way street. Be willing to listen to feedback, as well as giving it! You'll be glad you did. Now, tell me what you think - share it with my readers.
If you want to get the most out of staff, keep them happy and keep them keeping the patients happy, pay close attention to these facts.A top down attitude is a hierarchy that focuses on management discussing problems and making decisions with minimum input from staff. It's a mentality that threatens the practice team, destroys morale and guarantees high-turn. The costs to the practice and the patients is a killer. Don't let it happen to you!Involve those affected by a potential decision in the decision-making process. Be a good listener and value their input - They can provide you with critical information that helps you make a better decision. Without their input you will not have their buy-in, which will almost guarantee that the change process will not succeed [or yield the desired results.] This could be because staff does not have a clear understanding of how they will benefit from the changes and may feel threatened. Then again, it could be due to deliberate sabotage. Either way, you lose!Your success depends on everyone working for the common good of the group, but this can only be achieved by valuing staff and gathering information, greater participation in the decision-making process.Don't you agree?Followers; share your opinion and pass this blog on to your colleagues for their reply.Judy Capko is one of America's leading practice management and marketing consultants. Go to www.capko.com for more information
The government's push for physicians to get on board with electronic health records, EHRs, is outlined in the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, ARRA, of 2009 which has changed the landscape regarding electronic medical records.Federal stimulus funds are available that promise as much as $44,000 per physician to implement EHRs before the end of 2012 – Not all that far away.To get these funds, physicians have to prove meaningful use. Meaningful use is still in the process of being clearly defined by the Feds. Specific requirements are outlined in the proposed rule published in the January 13, 2010 Federal Register.Stage 1, the initial period of EHR described in the proposed rule, defines use focused on capturing health information electronically. 25 criteria for physicians to meet Stage 1 of meaningful use includes such things as:Maintaining an up-to-date problem list;Generating and transmitting at least 75% of all permissible prescriptions electronically;Maintaining an active medication list with at least 80% of all unique patients; and Having a least on entry providing clinical summaries to at least 80% of all patients for each office visit. You can see this will, indeed, change the way most physicians currently work and manage their patients’ health records. The proposed CMS requirements set the minimum standard for acceptable EHR use, which at this time means being CCHIT certified. This certification is accomplished through the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology, which rates EHR products on usability ensuring that vendors meet the major objectives of meaningful use.Until the proposed legislation is finalized physicians will not have essential information to guide the decision process. In the meantime gather information to help you make an appropriate EHR decision. Selecting and EHR is a long and arduous road. Make sure you are armed with the tools to make the EHR decision that best fits your practice specific needs. Certainly the ARRA’s financial incentives are designed to convince many physicians to implement EHRs and will be effective in doing so. But don’t leap into it without a clear understanding of the government’s final requirements once legislation is passed. Contact Judy Capko,
So many doctors are disenchanted with medicine - the regulations, the restrictions, the expense, and sometimes the patients' attitude. It's easy to understand how after all the years they dedicated to education, training and building a patient base they are singing the blues. Practicing medicine just isn't what it use to be and certainly isn't what many of today's doctors envisioned. But its up to you to make it better - so quit singing the blues and do something. Get back to basics. Think about why you went into medicine in the first place. Focus on those these. Then ask yourself how you can get back the zest you once felt. You have choices and you can make decisions. Don't get stuck in the mud, do something to make your practice life better. Be strategic. What is it you want and what will it take to get there? Start looking at the pros and cons and draw on your strengths. Seek the resources you need, be decisive - set goals and develop a path to achieve them.Its up to you - Go for it! Quit singing the blues and take positive steps to make your future brighter. Then, let me know how your doing. Consultants can be your strongest ally. Contact Judy Capko, one of America's leading practice management and marketing consultants. e-mail email@example.com - I'm on your team!