The larger purpose of physician practice management: Patient care

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Deb Beaulieu

Deb Beaulieu

I hope this week's column finds you well and safely on your way to recovery from the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, if it affected you. If you're one of the unlucky practices to be currently treating, or have lost, patients to the recent meningitis outbreak, my heart goes out to you. You see, while my job here is to address these issues from an operational, business standpoint, it doesn't always feel right to talk around serious tragedies and loss of lives. For those aspects of healthcare, the ones you face every day, I admittedly don't really know what I can say, except to let you know the thoughts are there between every line of this newsletter.

As I wrote last week, this year's Medical Group Management Association conference is the one, after a decade of writing about physician practice management, that I felt I got the most benefit from. Part of that feeling might be the joy of a continuously clearer understanding of the content within the presentations I attended--something I'd imagine to be similar to the day someone who's been studying a foreign language for years realizes he's reached a level of comfortable fluency. (And if you're new to this industry, believe me that I empathize with your growing pains--and encourage that it will make sense soon enough.)

But it's not just the terminology that clicked. It was valuable to me personally that I got to hear (e)Merge's Jamie Verkamp talk about the difference between job function and job purpose. My function, in simple terms, is to round up the most important practice-management news of every week and deliver it via concise, actionable written posts. My purpose, on the other hand, is to help you fulfill your purpose, which is to care for patients.

The healthier and more-informed your business, the better I hope you can execute on that central goal. To those of you who told me, in person, that FiercePracticeManagement is a valuable tool in helping you do your job, know that comment sunk in, grew my confidence a couple of sizes, and then bolstered my commitment to ensure this newsletter keeps getting better and better.

Impressively, just about everyone I met at MGMA last week seemed to understand and appreciate their purpose--and also be dedicated to continuous improvement. From those at microphone to in the hallway, I heard the passion for how each of your roles fits into the bigger picture. In turn, I've got some new ideas for how to shape content for FiercePracticeManagement going forward--along with plenty of questions as to how I'm actually going to find and deliver the best resources to address your pain points.

So although we're probably all happy to be back at home and getting back to our regular routines, I want to remind you to keep the dialog going. Like I said last week, keep talking to one another. But don't forget to loop me in! I want to hear from you what challenges your particular practice is facing--and definitely about how others could learn from those you've overcome. As for the other serious difficulties, know that the purpose of this newsletter is to support you in facing those realities, too. - Deb (@PracticeMgt)