Practice Management Tip of the Month: Physician Wellness
Given the current and future healthcare climate, physician health and wellness is and will remain a significant issue. Tips for reducing physician burnout from a daily medical practice perspective were discussed in the October 2017 edition of Practice Matters! Now, here are some tips for the individual physician to help improve wellness and reduce burnout:
• Take care of yourself. Physicians are often involved in taking care of family members, including spouses and children, in addition to treating patients. Maintaining adequate sleep, nutrition and exercise is important, as is making sure to address your own physical and emotional issues by regularly seeing healthcare providers.
• Find a sanctuary outside of medicine. Take up a hobby or volunteer for a cause you believe in to help alleviate the daily stresses of practice.
• Take your scheduled vacation time to destress and allow a “recharge” of energy. Many physicians do not fully use their allotted vacation times.
• Take small breaks during the work day, including breaks from electronic devices.
• Focus on the positive aspects of work as well as family and personal issues, and maintain a sense of humor regarding these topics.
Remember, as healthier allergists/immunologists, we can be even better advocates for our patients and our wonderful specialty.
Reference: Nanda A, Wasan A, Sussman J. Provider Health and Wellness. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract 2017; 5: 1543-8.
Practice Management Tip of the Month: Sample Anti-Harassment Statement and Policy
allegations have made the news repeatedly in the last few months. The AAAAI has added a sample anti-harassment statement and policy here
for your consideration, but remember to always consult legal counsel in your own state before adopting any new policies and procedures in your practice.
Looking for more ways to improve your practice? Select recordings from the 2017 Practice Management Workshop are available for purchase in the AAAAI Continuing Education Center. Registration for the 2018 Practice Management Workshop, July 20-22 in Salt Lake City, Utah, will open March 1.
Use Social Media to Engage with your Patients and your Community
A recent Google Think survey found over 76% of patients were getting their healthcare information online. Make sure your practice website is up-to-date and engaging, and then leverage other social media platforms to engage with your patients and your community.
• Facebook: Establish a Facebook page for your practice and post information regularly (weekly, at a minimum, is best). Ask patients to “like” your practice page. Keep your personal Facebook page separate and don’t accept “friend” requests from patients.
• Twitter: Why Tweet? It’s a real time network with more than 328 million monthly active users. Use Twitter to communicate simple messages like pollen counts, shot hours and office hour changes. Build up a network of followers and connect with other allergists on Twitter.
• YouTube: This video sharing site can help you market your practice. Post short videos on key allergy topics, procedures (patch testing, etc.), or to answer common patient questions. You don’t need expensive equipment. You can use your smartphone to record and upload the video.
Find more tips on our Social Media 101 page, or Take a look at the slides from the 2017 Practice Management Workshop session on new practice marketing techniques. (Only AAAAI members can access this document.)
Practice Management Tip of the Month: Do You Need an Employee Handbook?
An employee handbook is needed whether you are a solo physician, practicing in a single specialty or part of a multispecialty group. It is the document that will provide your employees with the proper guidelines and rules that govern your practice and will allow you to reward or discipline an employee when needed. Fair employee treatment cultivates loyal employees. The employee handbook should include the following:
1. Mission and vision of the practice. It’s important to invest in developing a mission and vision that reflects your goals and beliefs and fits your practice style. Great mission and vision statements will motivate your staff.
2. Job titles and descriptions for all categories of the office staff.
3. The office hours of the practice.
4. What constitutes part-time and full-time employment and what benefits each are entitled to receive.
5. An outline of all benefits (medical and dental insurance, life insurance, CME allowance, PTO) and how to qualify for them.
6. A description of what actions result in disciplinary actions, as well as steps for disciplinary actions.
7. Rules about use of cell phones during office hours and personal use of office computers.
8. A statement and mandatory education on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) including the consequences of HIPAA violations.
9. Your sexual harassment policy, including your complaint or investigation procedure.
Employees must read the handbook and sign an acknowledgment that they read it. The signed acknowledgement should be page kept in each employee’s file.
Looking for more ways to improve your practice? Select recordings from the 2017 Practice Management Workshop are available for purchase in the AAAAI Continuing Education Center. Registration for the 2018 Practice Management Workshop, July 20-22 in Salt Lake City, Utah, will open in March.
Practice Management Tip of the Month: Negotiating Managed Care Contracts
Is your practice experiencing declining reimbursements? Here are some tips consultant Ron Howrigon shared during the 2017 Practice Management Workshop:
• Negotiation is a process, not an event. Your first plan generally won’t survive the first round; be prepared to adapt, adjust and overcome.
• Set goals for your negotiation. Reimbursement rates are essential, but contract language can be just as important. Set your opening position, identify areas open for negotiation and be clear on your walk away points.
• Knowledge, analysis and planning are essential for a successful negotiation. To strengthen your position, make sure you:
- Create a master fee schedule of each payer’s reimbursement level.
- Know your payer mix. How hard do you want to negotiate with a company that is only responsible for 6% of your payments?
- Know your contracts. Create a contract summary form that includes the fee schedule, effective dates, contract point outliers, etc. for each payer.
This session and other select recordings from the 2017 Practice Management Workshop are available for purchase in the AAAAI Continuing Education Center. Mark your calendar for the 2018 Practice Management Workshop, July 20-22, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Practice Management Tip of the Month: Reducing Physician Burnout
Physician burnout can be caused by excessive workload, poor work-life balance and lack of control. Here are some tips from the American Medical Association (AMA) Steps Forward Campaign to reduce physician burnout:
1. Daily huddle with your team: Spend 5 to 10 minutes each day talking to your nurses and other office staff to plan how your day might go. Discuss the scheduled patients who might need more time with the provider or need any labs, tests and records to be retrieved or done before seeing the provider.
2. Have a documentation team: Nearly half of providers say they spend too much time on clerical tasks. Have your nurses help you enter clinical data. Train them to get better on their technology skills. Increasing the number of your support staff might actually save you more money. Consider hiring a medical assistant to serve as your scribe and as your nursing assistant.
3. Better prescription management: When prescribing a medication, consider prescribing a 90 day supply of medicines with 2-4 refills and try to be consistent in doing this. It will reduce the number of calls into your office for refills and other prescription changes. If a patient calls asking for refills, then you and your staff know immediately that a patient has not been to your office in a while and needs a follow up appointment.
Visit the AAAAI Continuing Education Center to order the recordings from the 2017 AAAAI Practice Management Workshop, which includes the topic "Practice Transformation: Reducing Burnout and Rediscovering the Joy in Practice."
Practice Management Tip of the Month: Handling Biologics in Your Practice
Here are a few tips from the 2017 Practice Management Workshop presentation on How to Handle Biologics in Your Practice:
1. Determine the number of patients that your practice has on biologics. It might be time to assign or hire a person on your staff to solely manage the handling, billing and administration of biologics.
2. Keep a detailed inventory and tracking log, and update it every day. The log should include patient names and insurance and specialty pharmacy information, payment information, dosage, and vials and milligrams used.
3. Do not forget about disaster management. In light of the most recent weather-related disasters, do not forget about having disaster insurance on your inventory of biologics and allergy extracts and vials. Even a simple prolonged power outage can destroy thousands of dollars’ worth of biologics, extracts and medicines.
To learn more tips, the AAAAI is offering select recordings of the 2017 Practice Management Workshop for purchase at the AAAAI Continuing Education Center.
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