Latest Commentary

No easy answers: Practicing medicine amid the push and pull of healthcare

I'm not sure if I love it or hate it when this happens, but today's issue of FiercePracticeManagement is an example of one that includes more discussion points than clear-cut advice. Many questions raised by these stories surround the idea of influence--identifying it, disclosing it and attempting to control it.

How doctors can overcome social isolation

For as long as I've written about medical practices, a recurring theme is the plight of solo physicians to preserve their autonomy. But one of this week's top stories touches on a darker side of independence. 

4 ways to address and embrace constructive conflict

People always advise: Don't shy away from productive conflict. Letting problems fester, in the long run, leads to far more miscommunication and preventable issues. I'm far from alone in having trouble adopting this concept into my own behavior. Both professionally and personally, learning to call foul--at the right time, in the right way--is an area of high anxiety.

3 ways to get employees to do the right thing

Sometimes in my role as messenger, I relay practice management advice I don't entirely agree with. This week, I shared one physician's rather rigid stance on employee time theft, which essentially amounted to zero tolerance for staff members' personal use of the Internet or cell phones during work time. 

Customer service: Small gestures can make big impact

Often when we talk about customer service and patient satisfaction, we focus on high-level issues, such as overall politeness of staff and convenient parking. But while these elements certainly matter to patients, seemingly small gestures can also impact patients' impression of your practice.

Get stronger by thinking beyond yourself

During the past week or so, many of you reading likely dumped a bucket of ice water over your head, on camera, to help raise donations and awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). And chances are actor Robin Williams' death from apparent suicide stopped you in your tracks when the news broke Monday evening.

Communication tip: Write before you run your mouth

Have you ever walked away from a conversation, perhaps a sticky one, and wish you'd mentioned a certain point or used a better example to explain your message? Or maybe you found yourself regretting that you couldn't swallow a statement or two.

3 ways to serve as your own mystery shopper

If you host a party, chances are you miss most of the good stuff. After all, your hands are full, you're focused on not dropping the h'ordeurvres and making sure you interact with each and every guest. If something pulls your attention away from any one of these tasks, there could quite literally be a fire in the kitchen.

ACA reality: Expect the unexpected

Almost exactly a year ago, FiercePracticeManagement described key ways to prepare your office for healthcare reform, including steps to ready your practice for a predicted influx of new patients. Reality brought some surprises in that arena, however, and more. New patient visits actually declined slightly in the first five months of the Affordable Care Act, according to a report from AthenaHealth.

Practice tip: 5 ways to renew your morning huddle

To start your day right, practice management experts often recommend gathering your team for a five-minute morning huddle. This strategy can build morale and help the practice run more smoothly. However, as with any routine, this exercise runs the risk of growing stale. To make this time worthwhile, here are five ideas to freshen things up.