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How To Adopt A New Plan For Your Doctor’s Practice To Earn More And Pay Less

How To Adopt A New Plan For Your Doctor’s Practice To Earn More And Pay Less
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The way healthcare is situated today, doctors spend a lot of money to get their degrees but end up not making enough. Many doctors are leaving their practices because they can’t afford to sustain an income. But, innovative people are offering a new business model that can change this dynamic and allow doctors to make more money while spending less. Primary care physicians have to ensure they have the necessary volume of patients to cover their costs.

Doctors have many restrictions on their earnings. For example, insurance companies will pay for only so much. Many patients are being provided reduced or free healthcare, courtesy of the state or federal government. They have to hire employees who understand nursing, medical terminology, and billing. These employees don’t come cheap. Often, primary care physicians see their patients once a year. Equipment is expensive to buy and maintain. Overhead costs can be high. Because of these financial restraints, many doctors are leaving their practice because they can’t afford to sustain an income.

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But, innovative people are offering a new business model that can change this dynamic and allow doctors to make more money while spending less. The business model involves grouping services in an area to spread out the costs of equipment, human resources, billing, and overhead.

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What are the problems?

  1. Being a primary care physician is stressful. Doctors have to ensure they treat the right number of patients to generate an income. They also have to oversee the clinical staff and  business operations. They are required to stay current on changing regulations. They have to deal with clinical challenges and human resource issues. Doctors also have to pay attention to insurance companies and their requirements, which are often listed in small print.
  2. A significant number of patients fall under state or federal programs. These federal and state programs are complex and confusing. Figuring out payment structures is daunting, and doctors face severe consequences if mistakes happen.
  3. Insurance company rules are problematic. A patient must have insurance approval prior to treatment. Co-pays must be verified and collected. Forms and patient charting must be filled out accurately and have to match exactly with the selected diagnosis codes.
  4. Keeping records is a headache. Records must be entered into the Electronic Medical Record precisely and without errors. Many other items in the Revenue Cycle process have to be done correctly and timely. If anything is not done exactly as required or in a timely manner, the physician will not get compensated. The days of sending a bill and getting paid are long gone.
  5. Missing financial reports cause problems. To run a practice efficiently, physicians need the proper financial reports and tools. These include monthly income statements, balance sheets, A/R reports, monthly benchmarking reports, efficiency reports, and staffing reports. Practices are suffering because the reports aren’t being used or generated regularly.
  6. Doctors work too hard to sustain income. Physicians believe they have to work harder to maintain their incomes, but they really need to be more efficient in how they work.

What are the solutions?

  1. Coming together in groups. With groups, standards of care are developed; they share resources for IT; they share a business office; they share accounting; they share insurance contract negotiations;  benchmarking data is used; and human resources and payroll issues are shared.
  2. Add other services under one roof. Doctors get a large financial advantage when they include urgent care, imaging facilities, laboratories, X-ray units, and pharmacies in their practice. These services add profits because they cost less than having them done at hospitals.
  3. Adding services makes the practice more efficiently run. If you could put 10 primary care doctors in one center, instead of two each in five offices, you would have a very efficient, state-of-the-art, patient-centered operation.
  4. Outsource services. Practices become more efficient when they outsource accounting, human resources, and billing. You also can turn to Doctors CPR to find the right employees to make your business more efficiently run.

Doctors can adopt this new business model. It will help them reduce expenses, which will, in turn, let them keep more of what they earn. Partnering with others in related fields has helped many other industries. They have adapted to a world that works best by collaborating with others. Because so many things are online, collaboration on problems is becoming the normal way of doing business. Now, it is going to help primary care physicians.

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Featured photo credit: Seattle Municipal Archives via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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