#17 What Every Medical Practice Needs to Know about Web Design [Pediatric Practice Management AwesomeCast]

For today’s Pediatric Awesome-Cast Chip and I sit down with Alan Houser of Squareflair. Alan is a web designer. He and I worked together on Salud Pediatrics’ website.

I really enjoyed working with Alan. I’ve also enjoyed talking with him. We’ve had some interesting conversations ranging from web design (of course), to managing a small business, to how our wive’s use the iPad.

So I thought, why don’t we bring Alan on the AwesomeCast so we could talk about web design, some of the pitfalls people run into when designing their web sites and what are the things we could all do to make better websites that not only look pretty, but are also functional for our parents.

So we did.

We always like to make our AwesomeCast available in multiple formats so you can consume however you’d like:


Don’t forget to visit the PPMMC Google+ page, and PCC.

#16 Going From An Old EMR To A New EMR: Featuring Dr. Seth Kaplan [Pediatric Practice Management AwesomeCast]

Meaningful Use and ARRA have brought a huge interest in practices adoption Electronic Medical Records for the very first time. But there is also large number of practices that are in the process of going through the process of switching to their second EMR.

In fact, our practice is one of those practices ready to make the transition.

Chip and I thought it would be good idea to talk to somebody that has gone through the transition and learn a little more about how this process works, what are some of the considerations we must remember not to forget, and a few lessons learned.

Today, our special guest is Dr. Seth Kaplan, who transitioned from his original EHR and tells us about the lessons he learned.

Don’t forget to visit the PPMMC Google+ page, and PCC.

To listen or view:


#14 Dr. Natasha Burgert Joins Us To Talk About Social Media [Pediatric Practice Management Awesome-Cast]

Wow, we scored big this week and somehow convinced Natasha Burgert – queen of pediatric social media – to speak to us. Her real-life stories are great.

Don’t believe us? Watch/listen and see her Twitter effort or check out her blog.

A special shout out to an awesome vaccine-related charity that Dr. Burgert supports: Shot @ Life!

As always, you can get the AwesomeCast in different formats:


Google+ PPMM Community Page

Pediatric Practice Management MediaCast

#13 What Will You Do With All That Money? [Pediatric Practice Management Awesome-Cast]

For this episode of our pediatric awesome-cast, Chip and I discuss a series of little items that have piled up over the last few weeks.

We discuss pediatric practice management seminars, the avoidance of autoposting and eligibility checking, the compensation model survey, and some important considerations for those expecting the ACA-Medicaid-Payment-Adjustment boost this year.

In fact, the ‘gold’ of this episode is probably in the middle, so make sure you listen or watch all the way through!


Google+ PPMM Community Page

Pediatric Practice Management MediaCast

#9 Marketing Your Pediatric Practice [Practice Management VideoCast]

Marketing is a topic that most private practices are interested in. Who doesn’t want to get the word out about their practice and draw more patients, right?

When we think about marketing, however, we often focus on the tactics. In other words, we think about whether an ad in the paper or a post-card or social media is better than mailing a letter to daycares in the area announcing the new doc that joined the practice.

 But marketing is much more than the tactics.

Unfortunately, many among us, focus too much on the tactics and not enough on the important.

In this episode, Chip and I talk about what is the essence of marketing and what are the steps or activities we ought to embrace in our practice in order for the tactics to really have an impact.

As always, we’ve made the episode available in various format.  See the links below for details. Also, if you liked our discussion, we’d love to hear from you. Oh, and don’t forget to tell your friends about this AwesomeCast.

Different Ways to Engage:

1. Google+ Community

2. Pediatric Practice Management Mediacast PodCast

3. iTunes

And of course, YouTube:

If you would like to learn more about the conferences Chip and I mentioned in the recording, check out the links below.

Goryeb Children’s Hospital 15th Annual Pediatric Gurus Conference at Skytop Lodge

PCC Users and Practice Management Conference in Burlington, VT

#7 Key Metrics We Should Use to Gauge the Financial Health of Our Medical Practice [Practice Management VideoCast]

In his 20 plus years in practice management, Chip has advised thousands of medical practices. So it occurred to me,  why don’t I ask Chip how he assesses a practice? In other words, when he is preparing to counsel a practice, what reports, data sets or financial instruments he uses to identify whether or not the practice is a financially healthy practice.

You don’t want to miss this episode because Chip share with us some of the key metrics he uses to pin point the weaknesses and strength of a practice.

As always, we’ve made this episode available on various platform. Below are the links:

1. Google+ Community

2. Pediatric Practice Management Mediacast PodCast

3. iTunes

And of course, YouTube:

To follow along, you may want to view this chart that Chip uses as reference.

Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 9.47.05 AM

Easy, Easy Way to Implement A Survey Tool in Your Medical Practice

I’ve been thinking about implementing a more streamlined survey tool. But this is one of those things that you know is important, but not necessarily a priority. That is, nothing

surveyis going to fall apart if you don’t send a survey to a patient.

Today, this comment (see below) came across on my screen from the SOAPM listserve that caught my eye.

I emailed Dr. Adams and asked him if I could post this on PediatricInc. He agreed. Dr. Adams discovered a really easy way to implement this using Google Drive.

Dr. Adams writes:

There are many free survey tools out there now, like SurveyMonkey and LimeSurvey.  SurveyMonkey even has the CAHPS survey preconfigured. However I found SurveyMonkey to have some limitations.

Google Drive has a very easy to use survey tool and is implemented at our checkout desk.

It is self explanatory, and requires no prompting or input from the receptionist. It displays a short questionnaire, and when the patient submits it, another comes up for the next patient. It is all automatic.

Google Drive constantly and painlessly tabulates results, placing them in charts that are easy to access anytime, with no knowledge of Excel.

As a bonus, NCQA is requiring surveys now. If you use questions from the CAHPS, as I have have done, then this requirement is met, automatically.


Love it when people find practical ways to do taks that are sometimes a little boring and time consuming.

What does your practice use to survey patients and how do you tabulate the results?

10 Ways to Find Ways to Improve Your Medical Practice

We often forget about improving things in our medical practices. We get comfortable and complacent. We often assume, we do a good job, no need to fix what isn’t broken.

But time and time again, I’m reminded that there is always areas of improvement. I’m also reminded that on occasion, we don’t do things as good as I see them in my mind.

The problem for many is that because we are so used to doing things the way we’ve always done them, it is hard to step back and look at things from a different perspective. It is like reading something you’ve written 20 times and then giving it to someone to proof read it for you and then they find 3 mistakes in the first line. C’mon, how could I have missed it? I READ IT SEVERAL TIMES! I often scream.

With that in mind, I’ve put together a few ideas or tips that will help you see things differently in an effort to show you ares of improvement.

  1. Send a message, as if you were a patient or prospective patient to the email on the website and see how long it takes to get an answer.
  2. Call the practice. Act as if you are a prospective patient/customer and see how the front desk or receptionist treats you.
  3. Call the billing department and ask them if they could explain all these things in your EOB. Decide if the billing staff is genuinely trying to inform the patient or being condescending, dismissive or simply not helpful.
  4. Pull a patient aside that just checked in, explain that you want to document how long an entire visit takes and ask if they agree to help you with your experiment. Have her write down how long each process takes, including how long it takes from the time she checks in to time she is called in; time it takes the doctor to step in after triage is done; how long does it take to get a refill on a Rx, etc.
  5. Print a patient’s statement and hand it to a relative that knows nothing about medical billing. Ask them if they know what is owed, how to pay the bill or if it is easy to identify where to call if they have a question.
  6. Search Google for each of your docs name as well as the practice’s name. See what comes up.
  7. In Google, type “pediatrics” or Pediatrician and your office’s zip code (or town). Hopefully, your practice will come up. If it doesn’t, you have work to do.
  8. Call several OBs in your area and ask if they know of any good pediatrician’s office in the area. If they don’t mention your name, call later and introduce yourself. You may want send them a pack of business cards too.
  9. Think about this question, If our practice relied solely on donations, what would you do different. Write at least 5 things down on a piece of paper and start working on the things on the list.
  10. Switch place for an entire day. If you are a biller, work the front desk. If you work the front desk, work as a biller. If you are a triage nurse, make appts for a day. Of course, this won’t work for everybody and I’m not suggesting for docs to answer the phones for the day. But the exercise will not only help appreciate others’ roles, but it will also allow people with different perspective take a look at what you do and perhaps find improvements. Much like the person that is reading your draft.

What else? Could you add to this list? What other things can we do to help us identify areas of improvement?

Why Your Practice Should be On Google Places

According to a Pew Internet study, 87% of adults use search engines (mostly Google) to find information. And an increasingly amount of those searches are for local stores and establishments. Seventy-three percent of all online activity is related to local content, according to data released by Google.
One of the ways to take control of your listings on search engines is to sign up for a free service by Google called Google Places.
This free tool allows you to not only list your medical practice, but also list how it appears online. You can add a map of your location, your services, photos, health insurance plans you currently take or anything else that helps you stand out from other practices in your area.
Here is a great video that explains how this service works.
In addition to the listings, Google Places offers a lot of data that tells you who’s searching for you on Google, how they are finding you and where they are coming from.
Don’t overlook this valuable (did I mention it was free?) resource that Google offers that will help your practice get the visibility it needs online.

Medical Practice: Understand The Business

Because to compete in this new, value-driven and aggressive health care market place, our doctors will require our leadership to carefully rethink each component of the business. For our survival requires bold and decisive actions

public-speaking-firstpointI was talking to a friend the other day who’s trying to get a public speaking business going. He was telling me about one of his recent gigs and how several people came up to him after his presentation to ask him for his presentation slides.

He told me he was happy that people thought his material was good; but at the same time, he was offended that someone wanted him to hand over the slides he worked so hard on. He said that most of the people that came up to him were college professors, as if saying, “how dare they want my material.”

I told him I thought he was looking at it the wrong way.

I told him he had a big problem. He wanted to get this new public speaking career off the ground, but nobody knows who he is. He has all this great content, but nobody knows he has it.

By not sharing the slides, I told him, he missed an opportunity to let others know about his work. Those professors probably teach hundreds of kids in a given year. If five professors share the presentation with their students, my friend could have potentially had several hundred people now know who he is.

I asked him, “What is your business? How do you make money?” He responded by saying, “speaking.” Right! “So you are not going to lose any money by giving the slides away.” I said. Give them to anybody that wants it. Heck, tell them to share it with anybody they want. Just make sure all your contact information is on the deck (i.e. email, website, Twitter, Facebook, blog, everything).

“But what if those professors steal my work?”

I said, “let’s think about this… if people “steal” his stuff, if anything, that is validation that his stuff is really good. If nobody bothers, then he has bigger problems.

But let’s give people the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say they don’t steal his stuff (I would argue this is safe assumption considering professors are keen about plagiarism), but instead they share it with everybody. At least by sharing the slides, he has a better chance of jump-starting the business. Whereas by not sharing the content there is NO chance he will get known.

The turning point for my friend was understanding that his business was speaking, not the slides. However, he could use the slides as an advertising vehicle to promote his work.


Google does it best

A perfect example of understanding this notion is Google. What is Google’s business? Gmail? Google Maps? Search? Google Chrome? Google Earth? No! Their business is advertising.  Would Google have become the giant it is if they charged for search? Probably not.

googleappsSo, how does Google drive usage? By creating all these cool services that drive eyeballs. And eyeballs drive advertising dollars.

Google understands their business.


Know the business

There is a lot of talk about how the Obama administration is going to reform health care. I suspect regardless of the final outcome, consumers of health care will have their skin in the game one way or another. Consequently, patients will discern more than ever price vs. value vs. outcome. 

As medicine becomes more a more like a traditional business, we as practice leaders need to understand what drives our businesses. Like Google and my speaker friend, we need to comprehend what drives value vs. what drives revenue vs what is contributory.

Because to compete in this new, value-driven and aggressive health care market place, our doctors will require our leadership to carefully rethink each component of the business. For our survival requires bold and decisive actions.


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