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What you need to know
- Communications & Technology
Medical professionals who wish they could take their practices with them when they're away from their offices can pretty much have things their way. Communication technology continues to spawn mobile gadgets with capabilities that range from simple telephone connection to e-mail, instant messaging, word processing and record keeping.
- Patient Relations
As vital as patients are to medical and dental practices, surprisingly little quantifiable data is available regarding the impact of good patient/doctor relations. What is interesting, though, is that articles, editorials and advice columns on the subject abound.
- Marketing and Advertising
Aside from topnotch patient care, many analysts concur that an organized marketing strategy serves as a powerful business builder. In addition to tried-and-true methods, such as referrals and the patient grapevine, today's practitioners have a range of high tech tools to spread the word about their practices - and with a landmark 1982 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, unlike their predecessors, doctors of the 21st century can take full advantage of advertising opportunities.
- Employment and Training
Like any business operation, a successful medical or dental practice largely relies on happy, well-trained employees. The Medical Group Management Association reveals in a 2006 study of 1,250 multidiscipline practices that among factors such as profitability, efficient billing and well-organized revenue collections, effective staffing is one the chief factors contributing toward excellence.
- Billing and Accounts Receivable
With excellence of patient care the top priority in today's medical and dentistry practices, a number of industry analysts point out that invoicing and accounts receivable practices just don't get enough attention. That the health care disciplines pump billions of dollars into the economy lends particular irony to the situation.
- Vendor Relations and Purchasing
In the realm of medical and dentistry practices, the purchase of provisions and equipment happens on nearly a daily basis. The high price of everything - from office and exam room supplies, to furniture, pharmaceuticals, computers, x-ray machines, imaging tools and kitchen gadgets - can drain a smaller operation's resources, especially in start-up practices.
The Hippocratic Oath said nothing about huge cash outlays for professional insurance. Nonetheless, newly-minted physicians often find that malpractice coverage takes a hefty bite out of annual income. And, according to a report from the American Dental Association, while awards against dentists - typically $30,000 to $50,000 - average one-10th the size of medical malpractice claims, the cost and emotional duress of a professional liability suit is no less traumatic.
- Striking a Work/Life Balance
By definition, burnout is a sense of emotional and physical exhaustion contributable to work-related stressors such as staff difficulties, heavy workloads and other demanding situations. Burnout can lead to chronic fatigue, volatile emotions, chronic depression and susceptibility to ailments such as colds, fevers and headache.
- Temporary Practice Coverage
Regardless of work ethic, every doctor needs time away from the office. Unfortunately, physicians in small practices find real vacations - let alone sick days - are out of the question, because no one is available to cover patient care.
Social Media Best Practices & Applications
Health practitioners are exploring social media in a
variety of ways but keeping a watchful eye on compliance
issues and legal issues that could crop up from their use
of tools from blogs, microblogs and social networks to
audio podcasts and video uploads.
- Industry Financials