Are You Making These 5 Financial Mistakes In Your Medical Practice?

We know doctors don’t get finance or accounting training during the time they spend in medical school. As a result, they tend to rely heavily on practice managers, accountants and other financial experts with managing their money.

 

But as medical practice owners (aka small business owners), the buck stops with the doctor. Thus, it is wise not to rely blindly on the “experts” and from time to time take a look at areas of the business for yourself.

screen-shot-2016-03-26-at-11-33-49-amBelow are five areas I’m going to suggest for you to explore. Get acquainted with these suggestions. You never know. Overlooking them may be affecting your practice’s bottom line.

1 – PAYING HIGH-INTEREST RATE LOANS

Loans can be great financial tools to help practices remain liquid (aka have cash in hand) when cash flow is low or if an unexpected expense arise.

But practices that mismanage these loans can end up paying fees and interest that eat up what are already thin margins.

It is important to be aware that not all bank loans are created equal. Equally important is understanding terms – interest rates vary depending on the type of loan – and knowing concepts like the difference between a secured loan vs. a non-secured loan.

Overusing loans, not reevaluating them periodically and failing to adjust to current circumstances or failing to stay informed on interest rates are all things that can erode business’ income.

2 – OVERLOOKING HOW YOUR CREDIT CARD MAY BE CHARGING YOU INTEREST

Doctors love to credit cards to pay for practice expense. Why? For the credit card points, of course. A single doc can potentially accumulate six figures in points by paying for vaccines alone. Free airfare anyone?

Even though you may pay the balance in full every month, I suggest to look carefully at the card’s fine print first to understand how the credit card charges interest. Because some cards charge a daily interest based on the daily balance.

Let’s say you have a credit card that charges 10% monthly interest. But you’re not concern about the interest because no matter how much you charge the card in a month, you pay it off – in full – at the end of the month.

Banks are well aware of this. So to make money off people that pay their balance in full, they divide the monthly interest by 28 (cycle days). So a 10% monthly interest, the credit card will charge you .0357% daily on your balance.

3 – MAXING OUT CREDIT CARDS

Thirty percent of your credit score is based on how much of your available credit you are using. If the card is in your name, and you have cards maxed out, your credit score drops.

Low credit scores can be an issue, of course, when applying for a loan of any kind; high credit card balances often lead to denied applications.

Are you paying a higher interest rate on some of your credit cards because you carry high balances on others? It’s worth checkin.

4 – NOT PLANNING FOR A RAINY DAY

Most practices are tremendously unprepared financially for unforeseen circumstances. Partly because most, if not all, the money that comes into the practice is spent or distributed in full to each partner at the end of the year.

You don’t need to be around long to know the unexpected comes by often. Hence, the practice should always have a reasonable amount of money set aside because sooner or later you’re going to need it.

Not only is it crucial for your business to set money aside for financial emergencies, but it also is good business practice.

Not to mention that with cash reserves, instead of drawing from those high-interest loans or maxing out your credit card, you’ll have what I like to call a cushion fund for times when we need money to get us through a rainy day.

5 – NOT DRAFTING A PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

I’ve seen this happen before. A few docs decide to quit their employment to start their medical practice.

The group aligns with the vision of serving patients better, the lure of sticking it to the man and the prospect of increasing their income.

The excitement of opening up your practice with friends or like-minded coworkers and everybody coming together towards a common cause often puts the task of drafting a partnership agreement on the back burner.

Don’t delay a partnership agreement. In fact, do it as soon as possible. Here is why:

a) It’s the wise thing to do.

b) It is better to work out details when everybody tends to be happy excited and looking forward to the future than to work out the details during a nasty, vicious divorce.

Drafting a partnership agreement when you are angry, resentful, feel duped or taken advantage of is… well, I don’t have to tell you it’s bad.

It is also important to review and update your agreement every few years with your attorney to ensure it reflects current circumstances.

 

 

Learn How To Create A Budget For Your Medical Practice

In medicine, the mention of the word profit is often viewed or interpreted as a dirty word. It is as if the word does not belong in the lexicon when health care is addressed.
 Broke doctor
I argue (in the context of the private medical practice setting) that profitability is a medical practice’s responsibility for one simple reason. If the medical practice (also known as a business) doesn’t deliver profits, health care providers are unable to provide for those in need.

Why Profits?

Profits pay for infrastructure, technology, education and human resources, all of which translate to superior pediatric care when employed correctly.
Another way I like to put it is by saying,

 

…a broke doctor does do anybody any good.

 

Calling vs Profits

Indeed, our medical businesses differ from other companies in that we care for children. And the notion of withholding medical services or restricting access to a sick child merely by the patient’s parents inability to pay for health care services is simply not in a pediatrician’s DNA.
However, it is important to accept the reality that without a way for a doctor or the practice’s income to outpace expenses, health care providers are unable to provide services of any kind. At least not for the long term.

Is there a solution?

How do we reconcile these two competing issues? On one hand, it is necessary for a medical practice to deliver profits if it wants to remain sustainable. On the other, we have an intrinsic motivation to put the patient’s needs first.
I am glad you asked.
These two dichotomies can co-exist – and even flourish – alongside each other. There is indeed numerous tools and principles rooted in business that can help medical practices manage what otherwise appears to be opposing forces.

A Resource You Don’t Want to Miss

Today, I want to tell you about a resource I’ve been working on to help your office obtain financial success, while simultaneously providing unsurpassed pediatric care to your patients.

To help you succeed in your financial success, I’ve written a comprehensive eBook on budgeting that walks you through the process of creating a budget for your medical practice. The materials also cover basic principles necessary to put the exercise into perspective.

Budgeting is a major component of financial success. Moreover, financial success is essential to the continuity of care.

To read more about this offering, click on the image below.

Medical Practice Budgeting
Click on the image

I do hope that you buy the book, but more important, that you find the eBook helpful, useful and valuable.

11 Straightforward And Practical Tips To Improve Your Practice’s Bottom Line

It is our responsibility as captains of our ships, however, to equip our practices and our staff members with the necessary tools and information if we want to have any chance of overcoming these real threats.

You do not have to be a marine captain to know that there are countless potential dangers navigating waters.

With a little imagination you know there are many risks. Some hidden, like currents, while others are painfully apparent (i.e. howling winds, waves and torrential storms).

 

Compass Direction GuideWe know there isn’t anything the captain can do to eliminate weather conditions or enforce her will on ocean currents.

However, we can all agree the captain has control over the vessel. We can also agree that the captain has the responsibility to equip the ship and its crew member to its maximum potential if they have any intention of overcoming environmental threats.

Running a “profitable” practice is indeed becoming more of a challenge. For many, it is uncharted territory. And while there are many extrinsic reasons – like decreasing insurance payments, high deductible plans, and the increased cost of providing care – that are contributing towards the “remaining profitable” challenge, the truth is, there is little – if anything – we can do to eliminate those threats.

It is our responsibility as captains of our ships, however, to equip our practices and our staff members with the necessary tools and information if we want to have any chance of overcoming these real threats.

Below are 11 STRAIGHTFORWARD and practical tips you can implement immediately to help you navigate these rough waters.

  1. Review fee schedules regularly to ensure your fees reflect market conditions in your region.
  2. Adjust fee schedules for certain procedures to improve providers’ competitiveness.
  3. Review all E&M charges by a certified coder before submitting claims.
  4. Hire coding consultants for annual chart reviews to ensure accurate coding.
  5. Monitor and report payments of your top insurance-payers.
  6. Run reports to understand payments by different networks or other contract types.
  7. Renegotiating (or consider dropping) contracts with payers who have low payments.
  8. Monitor how long it takes for charges to be entered and claims to be submitted to make sure claims are being filed timely.
  9. Consider provider training or implement random audits to ensure billing slips are completed clearly and accurately.
  10. Review your practice’s policies for routing super-bills to ensure claim submissions are sent as soon as possible.
  11. Implement processes so your billing staff works missing super-bills, claims, denials, consistently.

Imagine for a moment navigating open waters without navigation tools. Now, imagine what would happen if conditions were less than excellent?

If your boat ran off course or worse, capsized, would you blame the environmental conditions? Or would you take responsibility because you didn’t have the proper equipment and tools to navigate in challenging conditions?

10 Signs You Are An Over Stressed Medical Practice Administrator

I ran across this list a long time ago. So long ago, that I don’t remember where I found it.  I can’t take credit for all of them, but some are originals. Feel free to add your own.

Enjoy!

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1. You haven’t booked your vacation yet because you are waiting to fill out a prior-authorization form.

2. You insist on setting an example so you schedule time with your friends and family in 10 – 15 min increments depending on the reason for the visit.

3. You’re incline to charge a no-show fee when parents don’t RSVP for your children’s birthday party.

4. You are going to burst into flames if you hear one more time from a patient “my insurance company said you billed it wrong.”

5. During confession you had the priest sign a Notice of Private Practice (NPP)

6. When your kids bring up an issue of concern, you ask them if they documented it in the chart?

7. When you go to the pharmacy to buy something, you feel like you’re aiding the enemy. Especially if there is a MinuteClinic.

8. You stop whatever you are doing to engage with anybody that says doctors make too much money.

9. You often confuse EOBs and your bank statement.

10. You insist on checking if your purchase has been adjudicated when buying from Amazon.

Why Your Practice Is Having A Hard Time Making Ends Meet

The front desk representative handed me a stack of forms to fill-out as soon as I announced I had an appointment with the specialist. It was the beginning of the year. Everything had to be updated. We all know the drill.

While the front desk clerk was making copies of my insurance card (why do we still make copies?), I reached into my pocket to pull out the money to pay for the copay. When she got back to her chair I extended my hand with the money. She said, “We’ll bill you. Don’t worry about it. We just changed computer systems and everything is crazy.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 8.49.03 PM

The PM in me wanted to ask for the administrator of the practice and tell that person, in a polite manner, ARE YOU CRAZY? Have you considered the financial impact of co-payment collections in your practice?

The manager wasn’t around, but since you’ve read this far, let me tell you the financial impact of not collecting a copayment.

Let it slide

Say the front office lets one co-payment “slide” each morning and afternoon, how much money are we talking about? Let’s do simple math:

2 x $25  x  5 days per week  x  52 weeks =  $13,000!

$13,000 over the course of a year if we assume each co-payment is $25 each.

If each copayment is $35, the number jumps to $18,200

But wait…

But that is not the end of it. By not collecting at the time of service, the practice then incurs a cost to collect the money owed. That is not the end of it either. Chances the practice will collect 100% of those missed copayments is unlikely. Certainly not impossible, but unlikely.

Wild guess

A practice that isn’t very good at collecting copayments up-front is probably not very good at collecting for patient balances after the fact. Is that a safe assumption? I think so.

We’re talking about the practice’s margin

There was a time when copayments and patient balances did not command a large percentage of a practice’s revenue. But things have changed. Now, copayments and balances account of upwards of 30% of a practice’s revenue.

Analysts say the percentage is increasing as insurance companies continue to shift the risk to their customers (did I hear somebody say high deductible plans?). And by customers they really mean health providers because we are the ones stuck with the responsibility to collect for patient balances.

First things first

My advice to the administrator of that specialist practice? Join SOAPM and thank me later. 

My second piece of advice: train, empower and support your front office staff to take the necessary steps to collect co-payments (and patient balances) while the patients is in the office.

It is your best chance (sometimes your only chance) to get paid for your doctors’ work.

 

Customer Service Axioms For Your Pediatric Practice

Have you noticed that everybody knows how to deliver exceptional customer service, except those that actually do? We’re all customer service connoisseurs. We all can recognize excellent service. And we are even better at pointing out bad service. But when it comes time to execute, most fail.

I think that the reason customer service is hard to execute, is not because we don’t know how to, but because we easily forget. We often get wrapped up in our task, that we lose the service-centric service that we started out with.

Samuel Johnson said, “Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.”

With this in mind, I’ve put together a slide deck that highlights a few axioms I use to remind team members (as well as myself) how to get back on a customer service-centric track.

In the comments, share with us what are your favorite customer service axioms?

Time Management Lesson That Has Helped Me Increase My Productivity

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Last year, I put myself at a crossroad. I’m sure you’ve been at the same crossroads before. It is where things to do, the things I want to do, and things I had to do intersected with this little nuance we all agreed to call time (or lack thereof).

Like many, I would find ways to be more efficient and find ways to get better at time management. But this strategy was not working out. I was still overworked and felt unproductive as if I was in a hamster wheel. I felt the need to approach my crossroads differently.

I decided to approach my dilemma by exploring and thinking about how successful people, whether they were business leaders, athletes or artist, dealt with  time management.

I discovered that people that are experts at a craft, writing, a sport, or an instrument, for example, all had enough time to do what they do. If it weren’t true, they would have not reached their level of mastery.

I realized that my problem wasn’t a time management problem or using my time more efficiently, but rather my problem was a task management prioritization issue.

The people that have time to do the things they need or want to do was not as a result of applying Steven Covey’s time management methods better than me, but rather because they are jealous of their time and only what is really important to them gets the time. Everything else, has to wait.

Which led me to conclude that:

The thing that distinguishes me from them is not better time management skills, but rather they are better determining the order of dealing with task according to their relative importance.

What did I do with this insight? How did I apply this to be a better practice manager of a small business? Glad you asked.

I sat down and I wrote all the things I did. This included everything from projects I was working inside and outside the practice, like speaking engagements, consulting and the blog. I then added all the things I wanted to do, but couldn’t find the time to do them. This included things like working out to finding time to meet with people that are smarter than me.

Once I looked at the list, it was apparent why I wasn’t being effective. It was too long. Nobody, no matter how good or disciplined they are, could manage a list that long and still be effective.

What did I do next? I prioritized all the things on the list. But before doing that, I took time to determine what was important (not urgent) to me/us ( us = partner ). In order to determine the important over the urgent, you need to have clarity with what it is you are trying to accomplish, exactly. Like, you know… have goals.

Once that was figured out,  I drew a line after number three on my list. Top three were now my only areas of focus.

I make it sound easy of course. But cutting down the list to three main areas of focus wasn’t easy. There were  a bunch of things I really wanted to do that fell below the line I drew.

Moreover, the focus on the three couldn’t happen over night. I was already committed to several projects that weren’t on the list, but I still had to deliver on.

But with a clear focus on what I needed to do, I began to get a better handle on how to protect my time and put more effort into carving out time for those things that only enhanced, improved or were in pursuit of the three main things.

What does have to do with practice management?

Simply put, nobody drifts into productivity. Nobody “happens” to find time to exercise, garden  or write a book. Nobody just happens to get better at something. In order to be better, you have to be intentional. And being intentional with our time, instead of letting  all of our “things” dictate our time, is not a scalable solution. At best you’ll crank the hamster wheel a little faster.

If you want to make progress at something, you have to direct your focus at that something. Thus, in order for me to become the best practice manager I could be and lead my team well (in addition to being a better husband and father), I needed to stop doing more – which was hindering my progress altogether – and start saying no.

Perhaps some of you  are thinking this is absolutely unreasonable and if I knew everything that is going on in your life, I would agree with you that you couldn’t keep a list of only three things to focus on.

I’m going to disagree. I too have a super hectic life. But it can be done.

Read the biography of any great leader in history, whether a politician, CEO, or successful entrepreneur, and you’ll begin to see that despite their crazy busy schedule and work demands, they were laser focused with a few priorities.

Keep this in mind… the top three things are areas of focus… not necessarily specific task. What I mean is that one will still have a lot to do. But the difference for me is that each task, job, interview, meeting, outreach is done with a purpose.

And remember, we make time for our priorities. But if we don’t have priorities, areas of improvement or specific goals of what to do with our finite time, well, then, it is no wonder we don’t have time.

So my challenge for you today is this; start looking at your time management issue as a task management issue and shift your mind to think in terms of areas of focus and let that determine how you should spend your time. And I bet that once you do that, you’ll have a bunch of time on your hands to do the things that are important.

Until next time.

Q/A With Dr. Kristen Stuppy: Mother, Wife, Practicing Pediatrician, and Social Media Maven

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 11.46.47 AMLast year, Dr. Kristen Stuppy and I had an opportunity to do a webinar together for the AAP about social media.

While preparing for the webinar and deciding on the content we were going to address, Dr. Stuppy and I exchanged several emails. Below, I’ve compiled our email and phone conversation along with the questions I asked Dr. Stuppy in preparation for the webinar.

Dr. Stuppy’s answers provide a lot of insight in to the value of social media; not only personally, but also professionally. She shares how she manages her online presence, where she finds content and patient’s reactions to her online efforts.

Dr. Stuppy, could you share with us a little bit about your how long you’ve been practicing, where your practice is located, and how many docs?

14 years, practice in Overland Park, a south west suburb of KC. 4 docs and several midlevels

So, you are the SM champion of your practice, I know this because I follow you closely. But before we get into how you manage a strong online presence, work in a busy practice while balancing work and home life, share with us how long have you been on social media?

Some time in 2009-10 a senior partner suggested I start our office FB page. He suggested me because I had done our website’s articles. At the time I had a personal FB account that I rarely used, so I first played around on it for a bit to see how it worked, then opened a business page.

Did you first dive in as most people do with Facebook as a way to connect with family and old high school friends?

I don’t know that “dive in” is accurate. I have a personal page, but it is not used as frequently as my business page. It can be very addictive to spend time looking for good updates. Big time waster. When I find an old friend, I look at pictures of their kids. That is always fun. I will sometimes see updates, but I don’t post very often to my personal page. No one needs to know what I eat and everything I do. Those posts I find annoying. Business pages are much more informational and suit my needs more, so I spend my time there.

At one point, you started hearing about the potential of social media in medicine, walk us through how this idea of using social media as a pediatrician started to form.

As I mentioned, a Sr partner suggested it. He was good at coming up with ideas and giving the work to someone else. While I could have declined, I thought it was a good idea that suited me. I enjoyed being on the high school newspaper/yearbook staff and even my medical school yearbook staff. This seemed like a new way to share that type of information. I wasn’t afraid of computers, so thought I’d try it out.

Did you have an epiphany of sorts or did your interest grow as you learned more about SM?

My interest grew as I did more online. I originally planned on posting several times a week and more about our office itself. I still post our flu shot clinics, weather closings, reminders to schedule PEs, and other office business, but I have found that another great purpose is to share information.

The more I followed various pages on FB, the more pages I found to follow from their shared posts. I soon found that I had to register for email newsletters from my favorites because I missed great posts on their FB pages. It has become really important to me to share reliable medical information, something I don’t think I considered much when first starting out. The information out there has grown too. My original goal was to post 2-4 times/ week. I currently post 3-4 times/day on average.

Can you describe what is so cool about it? As a practicing pediatrician, what is it that you see in these internet tools?

Very little in medicine gets immediate positive rewards. Telling a parent that their child has a cough and it will take a couple weeks to get better, watch for these complications… it can get old.

Parents never give thanks for that. But with social media, you get instant “likes” or comments. I found that I can share solid reliable information with many people in a short time. Safety, illness treatments, insurance tips, and more.

We can communicate with followers in a way that fosters learning in both directions. Comments might drive me to find more articles to post that show it in another way because parents are still questioning, or comments might even initiate a discussion in my office on how we can improve based on a negative comment.

Do you view your SM media efforts as a hobby, or do you view this new way of communicating with people part of your job as an advocate for children?

Some people watch TV. Others golf. I surf the web. It is a hobby to me. I enjoy my time reading and sharing the right articles. It is also an advocacy position. That makes the hobby more rewarding.

You manage more than just your practice’s Facebook page. You have a presence in other social media sites, like Pinterest. Run down for us all SM platforms you engage.

In addition to my office FB page, I am one of the administrators on the unofficial AAP SOAPM “We Are Pediatrician’s” page. You mentioned Pinterest– that page is personal, but linked to my office website so I can share websites with patients. I also use Twitter and have an account at LinkedIn but don’t use it. I have a GooglePlus account, but use it mostly to share my own blog updates. I probably need to work more with Google, since more people are joining it.

Share with us your philosophy or your purpose. Do you do this as a marketing strategy for your practice? Do you view this as just a more efficient way to advocate for children in a broader capacity?

The original purpose of SM for our office was of course marketing. I’m sure it does draw new patients, but we’ve never measured that number. I personally feel the biggest benefit is educating my current patients. I love it when I start to do the car seat talk and mom says, “Oh, we’ll be rear facing for a long time… saw that on your FB page.” I then can stop that discussion short and spend more time on something else. I know the people who frequently interact on FB and I do change my well visit discussions with them. I can spend more time on things I don’t post regularly. It makes the time in the office better spent.

How about the tools you use and the difference in each one of them?

I rely heavily on HootSuite to manage my accounts. It is one of several scheduling tools that allows me to pre-post articles. I can choose post to my 2 FB accounts and Twitter at the same time, different times but the same information, or select which SM site I want it to go to. It doesn’t take any more time to post to all 3 than it does one – except that Twitter limits characters, so I often change my intro statement for Tweets.

Often times, people think of SM as Facebook and Twitter, but SM is more. For example, blogging. You also blog, could you tell us why blogging matters?

Blogging allows me to talk about what’s on my mind. We all get tired of giving the fever talk a million times a day, but I can write about it and share with hundreds within a week. It can slow the phone calls in my office or when I’m on call to blog about the current illness going around.

I have also used it to answer common questions that I couldn’t find good information to post, such as “will standing hurt baby’s legs?” I also hope to educate families about children’s healthcare on a bigger scale.

I find great satisfaction knowing that thousand’s have read my article on generic Concerta substitutions. I am worried that going back and forth between brands will cause overdosing due to the difference in time release of the different formulations. If I can save one child from the effects of an overdose, it will be worth while.

How do you find topics for your blogs?

I tend to write about what is on my mind. Most are illness related or parenting topics. This time of year complaints start coming in from parents who get billed for summer PE components. I really hate those phone calls, so I wrote about why they get a bill.

I can refer to that when I talk to parents, but my hope is that people start reading this information before the next PE, so they won’t have the surprise bill in the first place.

 How often do you post?

I schedule 3-4 posts per day. Sometimes something comes up, such as recall notices or a fun community event that I learn about too late to pre-post. Occasionally our office administrator will share things, such as a fun picture taken at the office (with parental written consent if applicable), phone problem notices, etc.

Where do you find content to share?

I follow many FB business pages, such as other pediatric offices, parenting sites, AAP section and State pages, poison control, pro-vaccine sites, CDC pages, sleep consultant pages… so many!

FB rotates which pages I see on any given day, so I can choose to go specifically to a page to see it. I also manage the pages by adding them to interest lists, so I can choose from Nutrition, behavior, fun kid stuff, etc. (whatever I have grouped together).

My favorite blogs I don’t want to miss I subscribe to their newsletters so their posts come by email. Twitter is another great source that I don’t use as much as I should.

How do you decide what content goes where or do you post the same message all across the board?

I differentiate posts based on the audience. My office posts are geared toward patient families. I watch the Insights statistics to see what posts people are actually reading.

Highest numbers tend to be funny cartoons, quotes, or other quick information. Another trend I’ve noticed is when I post something with a warning (such as “don’t read if you get offended with bad language”), people tend to read those more.

I guess parents are like kids, they want to see what’s of questionable nature. I do restrict those types of articles to only those with a very strong good point, but sometimes it is too good of an article to not post.

When I first started, I decided to steer away from funny cartoons and things, but when I posted one and got such a response, I started to post more. I still try to mostly post information I want people to read, but we have fun on the page too! It is good to try to get people to comment or at least Like a post so it shares on their wall– that’s how posts go viral!

The We Are Pediatricians (WAP) page has a completely different audience. I see this as a blend between personal and professional. The followers should be my peers, not patients, though it is an open page and anyone can follow it.

I do post the same patient directed articles there, but also business management articles. I do post more liberally the questionable or controversial articles on that page, since I want pediatricians to be aware of those issues. I hope people read articles before they share on their office FB pages!

My Twitter followers also tend to be more professionals, so I post some business things there as well as patient information. I keep it pretty non-controversial too since the feed displays on my office website.

My blog automatically posts to Google+, but unless I hit the G+ on an article I really like or comment on a Google blog, I don’t post to Google specifically.

What are your thoughts on hiring somebody to drive a practice’s SM effort?

While I can see how starting a FB page seems like a time consuming and daunting task, I try to make it easy with the WAP page. If someone follows it and a couple other pages they can find plenty to post every day. The benefit to doing it yourself is that you can add your own thoughts in the introductory statement. This is a great opportunity to let your patients know your thoughts.

If you hire someone to do this for you, you will need to know how that person will choose content, what they will say about it, and how they will respond to comments.

Be sure they understand how to pick articles that have reliable healthcare information. There’s a lot of misinformation out there. I will sometimes love an article but one part of it is not what I agree with. I can use the intro statement to add my 2 cents about what I would do or say differently with an overall endorsement of the remaining article. How would a non-medical marketing person handle that?

As long as you have the ground rules for them, it can be done. But in my opinion that is money not well spent. It is not hard to do it yourself.

How much time would you say you spend on SM a day or a week?

This is hard, because I spend about two hours weekdays doing computer work, all before my kids get up or after they go to bed. This is all my personal and professional email, scheduling posts, checking FB for comments, and more. I do spend a little more time on weekends, but mostly because I use that time for blogging and reading articles I didn’t get to during the week.

 Is it necessary to spend that much time? Could you spend less time and still have a presence?

Remember that I probably do a lot more than someone who just wants to post a few articles per day. This is my hobby too! I make it easy for others to just share articles by posting to WAP. If all you do is share some of those articles, you could do this in a few minutes a day.

What do your patients think about all this?

I hear so many positive comments, which makes it very rewarding. I’ve even been stopped in the hall by my partner’s patients who thank me. They love the information and have given many specific examples over the years on how it helped them.

How do you think social media has benefited your practice, your patients or your parents?

As I mentioned before, sharing information has allowed fewer phone calls due to improved education of parents. It can decrease time during visits discussing common issues, saving time for more specific concerns of a family.

It has also allowed sharing of important office events, such as late openings due to bad weather, phone line problems, and vaccine clinics. Patients have had fun seeing their pictures at times.

Do you separate your personal digital presence and your professional presence? If so, how do you?

I think since I must be professional on my social sites, I don’t really separate them much. I tend to be a bit more careful online- especially with my office page, since in the office I can be a little more free of speech if I know who I’m talking to. That’s the same with all social media. I would advise anyone to be careful what they post since it can be misunderstood and it is forever discoverable.

To visit or follow Dr. Stuppy’s online presence, click on the links below.

Big is Not Necessary Better – How a Solo Doctor is Changing Pediatric Healthcare in Her Own Way [Pediatric Practice Management AwesomeCast]

Today on the AwesomeCast, we had the pleasure to talk to Dr. Robin Warner.

Dr Warner is a solo doc outside of Cleveland. Chip and I were interested in talking to Dr. Warner for several reasons. For starters, we wanted to learn about her experience as a solo doc. We also uncovered some interesting patterns that I think are great lessons for those of us that have smaller practices.

Dr. Warner also shared a project she has been working on that I think is absolutely brilliant. Here is a hint… she is embracing the smartphone craze, leveraging people’s attraction to on-line games and using it to provide deliver awesome pediatric medicine.

Stick to the end of the PodCast. There are a lot of nuggets that if you aren’t paying attention, you’ll miss.

Enjoy!

To listen to the audio, click below.

Audio

iTunes

Today’s Special Guest is SOAPM Troublemaker, Dr. George Rogu [Pediatric Practice Management AwesomeCast]

For today’s AwesomeCast, we get to talk to Dr. George Rogu. If you have spent time on SOAPM, you know who Dr. Rogu is. A troublemaker. That is right. For those of you that don’t know, Dr. Rogu works for RBK Pediatrics in Long Island, NY.

I think this episode is going to be one of my favorite episodes of all time. I learn so much from Dr. Rogu. I even took notes. Dr. Rogu shares with us his experience negotiating with big payers. You will not want to miss the technique he used to pester executives at the insurance company and how one day he got a call from the insurance company executives asking him to tell his patients to stop calling them. He also gives great advice on how to prepare and execute contract negotiations with insurance payers.

We also spent time talking about technology and the approach Dr. Rogu has taken in order to find the best of the best as it relates to technology.

It is a great AwesomeCast. You should definitely listen or watch the YouTube video below. I think you’ll want to take notes on this one.

Enjoy!

To listen to the AwesomeCast, click below.

You can also download the audio version of the episode on iTunes