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Category Archives: healthcare News

Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard likely will not return until after All-Star break

New York Mets star pitcher Noah Syndergaard has been told not to throw for six weeks, making it likely he won’t return to the mound for New York until after the All-Star break.

Syndergaard partially tore a muscle behind his arm against Washington last weekend, and he spoke Saturday for the first… – Los Angeles Times

A template for your next health care infographic

Yes, it’s an infographic on how to produce an infographic.

This template can help PR and marketing pros share a plethora of tips and news to educate patients.

To begin, you must have a clear map in your mind of where to place images and bits of information. Consider the flow of:

  • Pie charts
  • Bar graphs
  • Statistics
  • Text

Take a look:

(View a larger image here)


(Image via) 

This article was first published in September 2016.

Congress seeks solutions for fraud in home care for seniors, disabled

A House subcommittee heard from officials from the GAO, HHS’ Office of Inspector General and the CMS on how to combat home healthcare fraud.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

Donald Trump Slams Media While Skipping White House Correspondents’ Dinner | TODAY

Source: – Sunday, April 30, 2017

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Is Concierge Practice the Right Decision for You and Your Patients?

Is Concierge Practice the Right Decision for You and Your Patients?

Jam-packed waiting rooms, busy schedules, longer wait times, doctors too stressed to listen to their patients — such feedback is common when we talk about healthcare practitioners.
However, what may come as a surprise to us is that these sentiments are conveyed by both doctors and patients. This is why many medical practitioners are seeking a solution called “concierge medicine.”

What exactly is a concierge practice?

In the hospitality industry, “concierge” means personalized service. For instance, we can request a hotel concierge to make lunch reservations for us and say thanks with a tip that can be paid before or after the services are rendered.

Similarly, in the medical world, concierge practice, also known as boutique practice or direct care, is about delivering personalized services, from a doctor to his or her patients. A concierge practice charges patients an annual fee in exchange for personalized and enhanced services that are usually not covered under insurance plans.

The patient pays an annual fee for personalized care, as defined by the physician. The personalized and enhanced medical services may include unlimited office visits, easier and quicker appointments, less waiting time, immediate access to the physician through a phone call, texting or email consultations, easy renewal of prescriptions, home visits and wellness services such as annual checkups. However, concierge practices vary widely in their structure, payment conditions and range of medical services covered.

According to research conducted by Concierge Medicine Today, more than 12,000 physicians in the U.S. operate concierge practices. Most concierge practices bill patients’ insurance for regular services and charge an additional annual fee for round-the-clock access to doctors, extended appointments and other services, such as house calls.

Merritt Hawkins, a healthcare search firm, conducted the 2014 Survey of America’s Physicians and revealed that a huge percentage of physicians are planning to pursue the concierge model. Some of the key findings from the survey are:

  • Seven percent of physicians are already practicing concierge medicine.
  • More than 13 percent of physicians plan to transition to concierge medicine at some point in their careers.
  • Younger physicians, aged 45 or younger, are more likely to consider concierge practice.
  • Physicians who convert to concierge from traditional practice can retain about 25 percent of their existing patients.

However, concierge practice is not a substitute for health insurance. The annual fee or retainer, no matter how expensive, does not cover out-of-office visits to specialists, ER, hospitalization, major surgery or high-end diagnostic scans. On top of that, patients’ insurance or Medicare does not reimburse the annual fee, while some of the cost may be covered by the patients’ health savings accounts.

Concierge medicine comes in many variations. In some concierge practices, patients pay an annual fee in addition to office visit fees; in others, the annual fee is inclusive of all in-office care. There is another option known as the hybrid practice, where the doctor continues to see all patients but schedules a few hours each day for patients who pay an extra fee.

Is Concierge Practice the Right Decision for You and Your Patients?

Are you thinking of switching to concierge practice?

Physicians who switch to concierge practice say they do so because they were fed up with the assembly-line medicine and ever-rising overhead costs. The flat and reduced insurance reimbursements further fueled their decision to opt for a concierge practice. According to most physicians, the only way to keep afloat is to see many patients and spend less time with each one.

However, critics are of the opinion that if too many doctors choose concierge practice, we will be left with fewer doctors to go around, making it tough for patients to find a physician.

Critics have apprehensions about the impact of the concierge practice model on the health of patients. This is primarily because concierge practice works on the convenience side, and getting extensive consultation may not necessarily mean better care. Industry experts are of the view that concierge care may lead to overtreatment, which will not benefit the patient.

In case you are considering converting your traditional practice to a concierge care model, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Assess your existing patients: Is your current patient base looking for 24/7 Internet access? Will they prefer home visits? It is critical to understand which services will appeal to patients with this kind of arrangement. It is equally important to gauge which services and facilities patients will want to pay extra for. A patient survey will also help you evaluate patient loyalty. Are your patients emotionally attached to you and the practice? Will they follow you wherever you go and whichever new services you offer to them?
  • Create a package and fee structure: Your menu of services and fee structure will depend on your potential patients’ needs and their willingness to pay for premium-level care. You will need to put together a complete package — wellness package, weight management, exercise tips and comprehensive tests with everything from stress testing to a full body test. You may continue to see sick patients, but your focus will be toward preventive medicine. Later, based on your potential patient population, you can calculate what you need to charge to deliver excellent-quality services.
  • Create a schedule: Transitioning from a traditional practice to a concierge practice is labor-intensive. A realistic plan, complete with milestones and benchmarks, will help you keep things on track and maintain continuity.
  • Pay attention to legal issues: You will need to work with a reputed healthcare attorney who is familiar with the legal procedures and requirements for structuring a concierge-style practice.
  • Create promotional literature: In order to reach out to existing and potential patients, you will need to promote a new brand image that is consistent with the premium level of services you will be offering.
  • Have meetings with insurers: As a rule, health plans cannot stop physicians from opening concierge-style practices. Insurers will continue to cover contractually obligated office- and hospital-based services. Still, insurers are being careful. You must be prepared to share whatever promotional material you have and to make any reasonable changes.
  • Send an introductory letter to patients: Send a letter to your current patients explaining your transition from a traditional practice to concierge-style practice. This may be the hardest step in your transition. It is critical to have a well-crafted letter in order to recruit established patients to your new practice. Keep the letter short and crisp, and invite patients to contact you for further information. Moreover, even the most professionally written letter may not win over all hearts and minds. Some patients will unconditionally follow you, others will wish they could, and some patients will be angry.
  • Follow up with patients: After sending the introductory letter, you can invite patients for one-on-one meetings. These follow-up meetings will give you the chance to talk in greater detail about your concierge practice and the premium level of services you will be offering.

Is Concierge Practice the Right Decision for You and Your Patients?

Different flavors of concierge practice

Most concierge practices can be categorized as fee-for-service care (FFC), fee-for-service extra care (FFEC) or hybrid concierge.

In the FFC model, patients pay an upfront annual fee that covers most of the services offered by the physician. However, there is an additional patient charge for vaccinations, lab work, X-rays and other services that fall outside the annual fee structure. FFC is usually known as a no-frills, low-cost variation that includes fewer services in the fixed price.

In the FFEC model, the patient pays an annual fee, but the extra services that fall outside the retainer are billed to the patient’s insurance provider by the physician.

The third business model is called a hybrid concierge model. In this model, the patient gets two choices. First: Pay annual fee for specific services with insurance billing for services not part of the package. Second: Opt out of the enhanced services package so that the practice bills all services to the insurer.

However, in all three business models, the practice is responsible for determining what services are included in the package. The practice also decides whether or not to accept cash and/or credit card payment. In addition, the practice decides on the frequency of fee (monthly, quarterly or annually).

For most physicians, the key benefit of adding a concierge service to their practice is the ability to spend quality time with patients. Personalized service and longer visits usually result in increased patient satisfaction. According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan, School of Public Health, patients are happier with their medical care when they have extra time to spend with their doctors.

Some pros and cons!

Better patient care will be a clear result of having the extra time to spend with them. For doctors who treat chronic illnesses, concierge arrangement can vastly improve the quality of care and overall health of their patients.

Concierge practice can also help patients feel they are getting value for their money. After paying an up-front fee, unlimited access to their doctors with extensive consultations can feel very comforting, especially for patients with chronic health problems.

In a time where insurance reimbursements are decreasing, and costs are increasing, considering a retainer may be a good way to increase revenue, but the decision to switch from a traditional practice to a concierge practice comes with some drawbacks.

You may lose patients who do not want or cannot afford your payment structure or amount. Even if you are lucky enough to gain a significant number of patients after the transition, that initial loss could be upsetting for your practice. The loss of existing patients and the cost of attracting new patients are why most practices do not forsake the traditional payment system of commercial insurance and Medicare.

You should also consider the new demands that personalized services will place on your practice. Some concierge practices offer a broad range of services, including 24-hour access to the doctor, transportation and home visits. If your practice still has limited staff, you may not be able to meet every need without hiring outside help, and that may prove costly. You may choose to see fewer patients, but that may not be feasible considering your financial goals. Providing a flat fee for regular visits will not justify the cost for most patients, and therefore you will have to include additional services to make concierge practice worth it.

For some physicians, concierge practice is an excellent way to increase profits, save time, develop better relationships with their patients and provide quality care. For others, it may mean loss of profits and patients. If you are planning to make a switch from your traditional practice to concierge practice, it is important to consider its impact on your profitability and patient care.

Is Concierge Practice the Right Decision for You and Your Patients?

Medical Healthcare Marketing

New not-for-profit hooks Mount Sinai’s most vulnerable patients up with lawyers

Mount Sinai Medical-Legal Partnership joins the growing movement to build groups that can address the legal needs of the most vulnerable patients.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

Better billing? Healthcare can learn from other industries

With more patients being pushed into high-deductible plans, hospitals are increasingly dependent on collecting bills. They’re also confronting a patient population, schooled in electronic consumerism, that is no longer willing to put up with…
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

Worried relatives of U.S. citizens jailed in Iran seek Trump’s help in gaining release

Relatives of U.S. citizens jailed in Iran are trying to press the Trump administration to secure their release as worries grow over the health of an imprisoned father and son.

Baquer and Siamak Namazi, convicted of espionage in a secret trial six months ago, are being held in a section of Tehran’s… – Los Angeles Times

How Can a Physician Liaison Program Grow Your Practice’s Referrals?

How Can a Physician Liaison Program Grow Your Practice’s Referrals?

Doctors and specialists are constantly looking for more referrals. This is probably their biggest marketing goal. But not many medical practitioners put a plan in place to ensure a steady stream of referrals through their doors. The most simple and efficient answer to this catch is the addition of a physician liaison professional in your medical practice.

The physician liaison job is relatively new in the healthcare community. A physician liaison’s role is to support and grow your medical practice by representing and promoting the services, physicians and marketing efforts. Your physician liaison officer will become the voice of your practice in the medical community. The number-one goal of a physician liaison is to increase patient referrals from existing providers and secure new business from non-referring physicians.

Physician liaisons are at the core of communication practices, and their goal is to maintain an open line of communication between the medical practice and physicians so that the facility can retain and grow their patient referral base. Needless to say, customer service skills are an essential part of the job, as well. Being a good salesperson and a consultant are added advantages. Usually, medical facilities looking for a physician liaison prefer someone with an advanced college degree, such as a master’s in healthcare administration.

Traits of a successful physician liaison

The seven most desirable traits of someone who wishes to enter the field are:

  • Self-motivated
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Experienced in a specialty
  • Relationship builder
  • Positive thinker
  • Friendly, yet professional
  • Highly organized

What is the role of a physician liaison?

The role of a physician liaison is not easy, as the primary goal is to make sure everyone within a healthcare system, including doctors, staff and managers, is on the same page. A physician liaison needs to ensure every individual function has an effect on the overall status of the medical facility.

A physician liaison’s priority is not to circulate brochures and pamphlets, but to build resourceful relationships between your medical practice and the referring physicians. This is the most important skill of any successful liaison, and not all liaisons are suited to do justice to this role. A good physician liaison is professionally trained and experienced and will follow up with your referring offices consistently, not hand out business cards during conferences and seminars.

Forming new relationships and enhancing existing relationships with referring practices are essential components of a physician liaison program. The physician liaison focuses on nurturing new relationships by identifying your practice’s needs and addressing the concerned areas. Your physician liaison can help you enhance existing referral relationships through listening to the feedback from referral providers. If problems persist, your physician liaison is available to address those issues and make the required changes.

How can a physician liaison program help your practice?

A physician liaison program can help you increase patient referrals, strengthen existing relationships with referrers and staff and provide exceptional customer service. The ultimate goal of a physician liaison is to increase patient referrals from different sources and to ensure your practice stays at the top of their referral list. He or she can educate existing and potential referral sources about the unique benefits of your practice, such as treatments, procedures, location benefits, ample parking and much more.

The physician liaison will serve as a personal contact for physicians, managers and employees. He or she is available to address questions and concerns as they arise as well as promote your unique services and treatments. The physician liaison program is designed to nurture positive, active and helpful relationships among medical facilities, staff and providers. The relationship acts as a bridge between the practice and the referring sources.

Some other key benefits of a physician liaison include:

  • Identifying and establishing business from new referral sources
  • Strategically promoting the practice’s unique features, services and treatments
  • Strengthening the reputation of your practice in the community
  • Positioning your physicians as experts in the field
  • Managing negative feedback in a professional manner
  • Keeping practices updated on changes in the marketplace

Does your practice need a physician liaison?

Most medical practices employ physician liaison programs that are focused on improving referrals and physician outreach, and they understand the value of these programs. However, there are still a lot of private practices that have not considered implementing this marketing strategy, but it can prove to be an affordable option that pays sooner or later.

While there is an investment cost associated with the physician liaison program, it can bring increased referrals and profitability into your practice. This is because the physician liaison is built around meaningful relationships between the practice and the referring sources.

According to recent research, physicians refer to specialists only if they trust them and have strong relationships with them. In a survey conducted by the Clinical Advisory Board Physician Survey, nearly 66 percent of physicians said they were “very unlikely” to rework their existing referral patterns without a physician liaison actively collaborating and initiating relationships with them.

How Can a Physician Liaison Program Grow Your Practice’s Referrals?

A skilled physician liaison develops resourceful relationships by establishing trust and confidence. This is achieved with consistent communication and active listening skills along with constant interaction between physicians and providers.

Your physician liaison will actively work to bring your practice into the forefront of the referrers’ minds on a regular basis. This is achieved through face-to-face meetings, training sessions and circulating educational material that adds value to the relationship and positions you as the expert in your specialty.

Tips for maximizing the physician liaison program

Some of the driving forces in an active physician liaison program are attainable goals that mirror the strategic initiatives of your medical practice. A well-designed physician liaison program is an invaluable source of information for management. So, how can you make sure that your program has the potential to drive your strategic initiatives?

Here is a quick checklist to help you measure and track your physician liaison program:

Define goals: It is important to tie the physician liaison program with targeted growth goals through a strategic plan that prioritizes outreach activities. You must also consider suitably rewarding the physician liaison through an incentive program.

Develop a tracking process: If you do not have an accurate way to measure the results of your program, you may lose a substantial portion of its benefits. To make tracking easier, you can engage your IT department to develop a tracking process in targeted offices. Alternatively, you can have the liaison create a spreadsheet to capture vital information until a more advanced approach is in place.

Conduct regular meetings with the liaison: You must be sure to schedule and attend a monthly meeting between the liaison and senior management of your medical practice. This will help you in two ways: The liaison gains knowledge and insight about new services that the practice is introducing to the market, and the management obtains real-time information about the medical community and its perceptions on how well your practice is delivering on its promises.

Be responsive: Many practices successfully implement a physician liaison program, only to be complacent with the substandard quality and outcomes. If your liaison has critical information about a physician’s office, you must intelligently apply that information when making strategic decisions. If you are noticing activity in one physician office fall off, take action and dig out the reasons. If a physician notifies you of an issue in a department, you must provide timely resolution to the physician. Even if the issue is not resolved to the physician satisfaction, the transparency and communication will prove beneficial.

Interact with the doctors: Even if it is occasional, you must take the time to accompany the liaison on visits, especially to meet new physicians in the market. You can also bring along a specialist to make the introduction. This will not only help the specialist but may also bring more business to your practice.

What can you expect from the physician liaison program?

You have to understand that the physician liaison program is an ongoing process that involves the establishment of tangible goals and commitment from the liaison as well as the management. The addition of a physician liaison will not bring overnight success to your medical practice.

While many practices understand and acknowledge the benefits of a physician liaison program, the added cost of another staff member can cause them to pause. However, the physician liaison can prove to be an affordable option if you choose to hire a part-time professional rather than recruiting a full-time employee. In fact, physician liaison programs are designed to pay for themselves in the new business. When a practice calculates the benefits of growing referrals, enhanced relationships and increased exposure, adding a physician liaison program looks like the most fruitful option.

However, to have a successful physician liaison program, it is important to have a plan before “working the plan.” Your plan should be looking both internally to assess the existing state of your practice, and externally to evaluate the market and define goals and plans.

Physician relations are changing just as rapidly as practices are changing. It is essential for you to embrace the change, define your evolving role and reap the rewards. Contact us if you are interested in learning how Practice Builders can help you with physician liaison programs.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

3 dashboards marketers can use to measure their efforts

How many business tools do you have open in your web browser?

Whether you work for a small business or a nonprofit organization, you probably have multiple places to hunt down metrics for your marketing campaigns .

Wouldn’t it be easier to have everything in one place? Business dashboards connect hundreds of common applications, curating the data you want into one easy-to-read display.

Here are a few business dashboards that offer a clean way to analyze all your marketing results:

1. Dasheroo

If you’re new to business dashboards, Dasheroo has templates to get you started quickly.

Dasheroo lets you analyze your email reports and contact lists. You can create a dashboard showing the total number of email address added to your list and track the overall engagement. Sending one email to several lists? Dasheroo lets you track engagement based off each list, giving you insight into how well your email performed with different audiences.

You can even the overall success of your last 30 emails alongside other business apps, including Google Analytics and your social media channels.

[RELATED: Attend the Practical PR Summit and become more successful in the new media landscape.]

2. TapClicks

TapClicks has created over 100 integrations to visualize and compare marketing activities, including promotional emails.

Running online advertisements through Google AdWords or Bing? TapClicks enables you to create categories that help you measure success based on your marketing channels.

Whether you’re running a special discount or holding an event, you can create a dashboard to understand the increased website traffic from your emails.

3. Cyfe

Cyfe lets you monitor individual departments, projects, websites and more—even from your mobile device. You’ll get a variety of tools including custom widgets to display data from your business’s databases.

You can also set your dashboard on TV mode, rotating dashboards and displaying your results at the office. Whether you’re monitoring your expenses or simply keeping a close view on your latest projects, Cyfe offers a variety of templates to get you started.

Ryan Tartaglia is a marketing specialist at Constant Contact. A version of this article originally appeared on the organization’s blog .