Latest Commentary

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.

4 tools to help physicians, staff and patients manage stress

I'm planning a trip to an amusement park with my family this summer and I'm stressed. While the kids are with sheer joy counting down the days to roller coasters, swimming, exciting sights...

What are the secrets to physician satisfaction?

This week, FiercePracticeManagement reported on two surveys taking the pulse of what current challenges are most acute for medical practices and what differentiates the ways they handle the stress. As someone who's covered a lot of doom and gloom over the years, I found it refreshing to see Jackson Healthcare's analysis of what satisfied physicians have in common. A number of the happy-physician traits, however, such as being younger, female and inexperienced with private practice, are interesting to note, but not qualities physicians themselves can control. It makes sense that a physician who wasn't yet practicing in "the good old days" doesn't know what he or she is missing.

Practice report cards: What patients really look at

Summer is finally here! But in the midst of trading backpacks for beach bags, many of us engage in another late-June tradition: scrutinizing report cards. I don't know about you, but the items schools measure and "grades" to achieve changed a lot since I rode a yellow bus. My generation's "M" for "meritorious" is now a "4" for "independently applying skills with accuracy." Elementary student "citizenship" is now comprised of several elements, such as, "Contributes to a positive learning environment."

Non-medical patient education: 3 strategies to help the newly insured

If you think your office staff is confused by all the new Affordable Care Act-driven health insurance products streaming into your practice, just imagine how overwhelming it is for patients...

Push your practice out of its comfort zone

"You only ever grow as a human being if you're outside your comfort zone." --Percy Cerutty, track and field coach. I've always believed in this quote, but never so much as I have since completing my first Tough Mudder obstacle run last weekend. Even though I've been a lifelong distance runner, this type of event was never exactly on my bucket list. Endurance training is plenty satisfying without barbed wire and mild electric shocks, I thought, and that was before I even knew about the 15-foot water plunge. But when my cousin asked me to join his team back in December, I just couldn't say no.

Sharing the load: How to help patients help themselves

Call me sentimental, but I celebrate every publishing anniversary of FiercePracticeManagement as though it were the birthday of my third child--sans the piñatas, face paint and sugar-crash tantrums. Another marked difference between FPM's milestones and those of my offspring is that I don't get to marvel at how, year over year, the newsletter becomes more self-sufficient.

Physician lifestyle research offers powerful retention clues

For physicians, perhaps more than many professions, work life can profoundly impact personal life. It's no secret that physician burnout is a major problem. And one factor that makes the some stressors even worse is feeling isolated. Do you ever wonder if other doctors are plagued with late-night paper work? If your colleagues are as worried about retirement as you are? Or even if you're the only practice that still hasn't joined Facebook?

What not to do after a bad outcome

When a patient suffers a bad outcome or dies, the patient or family members turn to the physician for answers. Even though 'apology laws' in a number of states protect doctors' expressions of sympathy or empathy from being admissible in court, physicians frequently say and do things during this stressful time that can cause serious damage to their defense, according to Don Karotkin, a malpractice attorney with Karotkin & Associates in Houston.