How to Evaluate a Private Practice Transition Company

18091680_blogThe advantages that come from transitioning to a private practice are virtually unending. Not only are you finally able to enjoy a deeper one-on-one interaction with your patients, but you’re also allowed the freedom to set your own course regarding practice, payment, and billing guidelines. Operating in such autonomy is the dream of nearly every physician.

Yet making this transition will often require knowledge and skills that lie outside of your area of expertise. It’s at these times that it pays to have a professional consulting partner to help ease you into this transition. As you embark on the search to find such a partner, you’ll quickly find that you have no shortage of options. These days it seems as though anyone with an MBA feels qualified enough to advise just about anybody on the secrets to success in business. Yet what’s lost in this sea of potential transition partners if that each and every industry has its own subtle nuances that may not seem incredibly impactful during the early stages of a business-model changeover, but end up being the deciding factor in the long-term success of an enterprise.

Thus, the need to work with a company that’s experienced in private health care practice transitions is abundantly clear. Once you’ve established that fact, you’re ready to move on to how to best evaluate a consulting partner.

Points to Ponder

Managing a successful private practice transition requires much more than a basic knowledge of the service and payment models of the health care industry. A consultant should also understand how the areas of patient care, billing and claims submission, and reimbursement and recovery will be affected. With this in mind, here are some important things to consider when interviewing a potential transition partner:

  • Can they offer multiple financial models? Your move to private practice may also be accompanied by a change in billing philosophies. Whether you plan on adopting a direct-pay or concierge medical practice model, or you intend on staying in the traditional “fee-for-service” world, you’ll need to know the financial projections for each scenario. The transition company you work with should be able to offer data on both, or even project what your revenues may be by using a hybrid model.
  • Do they understand the characteristics of the local patient population? The success of the service and/or reimbursement model that you choose to follow in your new practice will be greatly affected by the wants and needs of local patients. The demographics and economic profiles of the population you aim to work amongst are a good indicator of how your service will be received. For example, areas with a high number of self-employed residents will likely be drawn to a provider who offers discounted services for point-of-service payments. On the other hand, communities full of working professionals may prefer working only with doctors contracted with through health insurance carriers.
  • Can they accurately forecast upcoming changes within the industry? The Affordable Care Act and its ramification have physicians across the country scrambling to know how their reimbursement will be affected both in the immediate and long-term. Knowing exactly what and how one will be paid should be a top priority when transitioning to private practice. Yet potential changes to current federal guidelines could just as quickly set the industry on its ear, and place you and the financial viability of your practice in doubt. Knowing this, you’ll want a transition partner who has their pulse on the health care industry’s future.

In your road to establishing a successful private medical practice, you’ll encounter plenty of companies and consultants offering to extend a helping hand to you. Which one you choose to take is a decision that could decide the ultimate fate of your endeavor. Wouldn’t it be nice to have multiple sources from which you could receive a wide range of advice regarding your practice management decisions? That’s just what AAPP membership has to offer. Nowhere else will you find such extensive resources dedicated to your success as a private physician. Your association with AAPP can produce untold benefits for both yourself and other members. We bring doctors together to help plot course for where health care is going in the future.

 

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Tips for Communicating With Patients During a Transition to a Private Practice

doctor and female patientTransitioning to a private practice gives you a great deal of control and flexibility over many aspects of your practice. To keep your patients onboard with the changes you are making, you need to open up the lines of communication. Whether you are slowly making the transition or are considering it, here are some ways to improve communication.

Environment

During the transition, you may be tempted to focus on creating an environment that you want. But, you have to remember that your patients are an integral part of your practice, regardless of whether it is public or private. Therefore, your environment should be designed with them in mind. The environment should be warm and inviting to encourage your patients to want to spend time there. Neutral colors should be used to improve the mood and atmosphere as well.

Professionalism and Courtesy

Your staff need to be trained to perform their roles in a professional yet courteous manner. Patients can be very temperamental, and when your staff treats them in a cold, dismissive or indifferent way, this can severely damage the rapport you have with your patients. Your staff should be kind, helpful, open, warm and courteous to encourage your patients to relax and open up with their health care providers.

Availability

You may gain more control over your schedule in a private practice, but that doesn’t mean that you should not arrange your availability around the needs of your patients. One big challenge in getting patients to communicate is to get them in the door. Once you have accomplished getting your patients in the door then your chances of getting them to be open and responsive increases significantly. Your availability should be arranged so that patients can have access to you when it is convenient.

Consistency

Trust and respect are vital components that need to be in place when communicating with patients. Without them, you will have an extremely challenging time getting your patients to talk to you. It is a good idea to develop a consistent and effective approach to meeting, greeting, and treating your patients. This consistent approach needs to be undertaken by every professional in your private practice. Consistency opens the door to trust, respect and communication so that you can further enhance the value of your relationship with your patients.

Communication Tools

According to a study done by the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, one of the easiest ways for a doctor to enhance communication between themselves and their patients is through the use of modern communication tools. While it is still possible to reach patients over the phone, many would prefer to communicate electronically by email. Email communication is not only more convenient, but it gives patients more flexibility over how and when they respond. It also reduces the amount of follow up expense for your practice by reducing the need for cold calling.

Effective Health Management System

With the transition to electronic health records well underway, the last thing you should be dealing with is paper records. The right software can effectively and efficiently handle all of your billing and healthcare records management needs. This will improve the quality of care and communication that your office delivers.

Surveys and Feedback

Regardless of the scope of your practice, encourage your patients to provide feedback. Make surveys available at the receptionist desk and entrances. Email your patients asking for their input and feedback about how they perceive their experiences with your practice. You can’t just rely on having a certain amount of patients to know how well your transition to a private practice is going. You need to learn firsthand from your patients what is working and what is not so you can use that information to make improvements and adjustments as you finalize your transition.

Sources:

  1. http://www.jabfm.org/content/18/3/180.full
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Top Three Reasons to Establish a Relationship with Your Private Physician

The relationship you establish with your doctor is essential to managing your health, even though at times concierge-medicine-overall-healthvisiting the doctor can be challenging. There is an excess of information to gather, protocols to follow and insurance to decipher.

The unremitting economic pressure on providers from insurance companies and the government has jeopardized the personal doctor/patient relationship. A physician with thousands of patients has limited time to listen to each one, making it difficult to establish a strong personal bond.

Cutting down on the number of patients a doctor sees to enable more personalized service and enhanced care is driving a growing trend in the medical marketplace, namely that of concierge medicine.

Building a Connection

Emerging technological innovations are offering myriad health care alternatives. The rise of wellness with an emphasis on personalized care is driving patient empowerment and meaningful health discussions. Now more than ever forging a bond with your private physician is essential. The top three reasons include:

  1. There is considerable healing power in the doctor-patient alliance.

Patients should be full partners in decision-making. Working together toward a health goal offers the opportunity for you to develop a significantly healthier quality of life. The power of the relationship can make you feel better by just providing an explanation, support, hope, time and space for healing.

  1. Greater transparency leads to better-informed decision.

It takes time to meet with a patient, to reach an accurate diagnosis design and negotiate a mutually agreed upon treatment plan. This process requires time in each visit and often multiple visits. Insurance companies force a rush to judgment despite the fact that the extra time spent on a proper diagnosis and carving out the doctor-patient relationship is considerably more cost-effective over the long-term. Sadly, most primary care physicians spend less than 10 minutes with a new patient on the first visit and are pressured to make a snap diagnosis. Establishing a connection with the patient allows the practitioner to make unrushed judgment calls and discuss future treatment options, rather than just prescribing those indicated by insurance companies.

  1. Thriving medical encounters demand adequate communication.

Success indicates that the patient and practitioner have developed a partnership, the patient has been thoroughly educated on their condition, and different methods of addressing the problem have been discussed. This technique empowers the patient to be involved actively in the decision-making process and authenticates accepted preconceptions, beliefs and goals. Timely responses to questions outside of office hours in a suitable manner will positively augment the expectation that the doctors are looking out for their patients. Further, it will show that they genuinely care about and are involved in the outcome.

It is the quality, not necessarily the quantity, of physician-patient communication that is indispensable, particularly when time counts. Patients often measure quality by how well their doctor listens, validates a complaint and supports concerns. It is also estimated by how well the practitioner explains the diagnosis and treatment options and involves the patient in decisions regarding future care. These factors play an integral role in the manner that patients comprehend, remember and assess their visits with the doctor.

Evolving Partnerships in Your Health

The availability of powerful treatments is amazing and should enhance, not replace, the healing powers of the doctor/patient relationship. In order to support the relationship, physicians must provide the safest, highest quality of care. They must promote evidence-based medicine that provides examinations and guidance to support patient decision-making. Above all, they should focus on creating the conditions for patients to participate fully in achieving their own health and well-being.

Sources:

  1. http://depts.washington.edu/bioethx/topics/physpt.html
  2. http://profitable-practice.softwareadvice.com/should-you-consider-concierge-medicine-0413/
  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allen-frances/treating-the-ailing-docto_b_5747848.html
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Top Reasons to Join the AAPP

aapp_logoWhether you are a medical student, dental professional or a physician who is considering or currently managing a private practice, The American Academy of Private Physicians is a great organization for you to join. We are a nonprofit organization that has been around since 2003. We strive to continuously provide medical professionals with support and a variety of growth opportunities to improve the quality and focus of care they give to their patients.

The face of private practice is evolving. Instead of providing care for the privileged few, we are focused on providing care to all patients who are in need of our services. We understand that the healthcare industry presents a variety of challenges for many physicians, regardless of whether they are a private practice or not. That is why we advocate our physicians and work hard to provide them with state of the art resources they can use to transform the face of private practice. We are proud to be an information and advocacy source for direct care physicians everywhere. No matter what your level of experience is, here are several reasons why you can benefit from joining the AAPP.

Ways to Increase Patient Empowerment

Ou members are committed to providing the best in care to empower their patients to learn more about their health. That way they can continue to seek out the care they need. Our members strive to make quality care more accessible, convenient and affordable by identifying and treating more of the risks that are associated with chronic health problems.

Tips to Enhance the Patient and Physician Bond

We provide a variety of publications, seminars, classes and other educational tools that you can use to strengthen the bond between you and your patients. You can also read and share stories with other medical professionals and gain insight into different challenges and methods they use to overcome them.

Transparency and Adaptability

We recognize that in order to provide patients with the best in healthcare, medical professionals need ongoing training and education from a variety of avenues. We keep track of all policy and legislative changes in the healthcare industry. We create our publications, research initiatives, standards and a variety of other informational sources to advocate and encourage our current and potential members to adapt their practices to meet the needs of their patients.

Discounts

We provide members with discounts on various services help reduce costs incurred by your practice. Our Medical Malpractice Insurance Program is endorsed and offers members very attractive discounts to minimize their practicing expenses. We also provide our members, their families, and their private practice clientele with reduced price membership for global air medical transport protection for personal and business travel.

Networking Opportunities

Membership in the AAPP opens up many doors, including networking opportunities. We encourage and support our members to collaborate, network and support each other to strengthen their commitment to their patients, their private practice and to increase the cohesiveness of our community within the healthcare industry.

Exclusive Access to Vendors

We encourage our members to build, manage or transition to private practices of their own. We provide exclusive access to a whole host of vendors that offer a variety of services to make building and running a private practice much easier and more affordable. We provide members with collective bargaining power for vendors as well.

Member Directory

To make it easier for our members to reach out and communicate with their peers, we maintain a robust member directory. Our directory can also be used by patients to find doctors that provide the scope and quality of care they seek. The directory contains vital information on credentials, practice areas, and descriptions of practices.

Annual Conferences

The American Academy of Private Physicians holds conferences each year to help support private physicians with the knowledge and tools they need for success. AAPP encourages all members to attend the annual conferences to network with industry-leading experts in the medical and healthcare field. Everything from medical legal counseling and healthcare marketing to medical technology and long-term business planning, there will be programs for all interests.

Sources:

http://aapp.org/aapp/

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Receiving Complete Care Through Private Medicine

18091680_blogWith private medicine, patients can select the physician who will be treating them. Treatment options include outpatient at a clinic or as part of the patient’s hospitalization. Private medicine, also known as concierge physicians, retainer practices, direct care practices and boutique practices, is a direct and individual financial relationship between the provider and the patients. The focus is on a commitment to restoring the doctor-patient relationship. The fundamental approach to returning to this connection is eliminating financial dependence on insurance and Medicare reimbursements.

Raising the Bar to Better Health

A premier private medicine practice is a group of primary care specialists who provide individualized attention for all their patients. The private medicine model provides physicians the time to take a preventative approach when providing healthcare. Physicians practice medicine with open, honest, and personal communication building a genuine relationship with their patients.

Medical practices are becoming larger and more impersonal, and millions of previously uninsured people are being added to our medical system. With fewer young doctors specializing in primary care, it is more challenging than ever to establish a rapport with your doctor or receive individualized attention or care.

When you meet with a private medicine physician, the visit will begin with a comprehensive health exam that goes well beyond the limited concept of an annual physical. The primary focus is on cardiovascular health and risk factors, using advanced lipid testing, blood tests and vascular ultrasounds for predisposed markers. In particular, your doctor looks for evidence of insulin resistance, a pre-diabetic condition that is reversible when caught early. In addition, factors such as body composition, exercise capacity, lung capacity, vision, a large panel of lab tests, hearing and an EKG are also incorporated. At a subsequent visit, the physician will review your results in-depth, provide you with a written report and give you recommendations and a road map for healthy living.

Complete Care and the Keys to Prevention

Private medicine focuses on what matters most to you and your doctor. In the traditional health care system, wait times are long, appointments are short and medical decisions are often too heavily impacted by determinations made by insurance companies. When medical practices rely wholly on coverage allowance and reimbursements for their survival, the determinants and parameters for treatment inevitably define and shape the care you receive. This is true even if you do not have health insurance.

No one wants to pay extra for health care, but an increasing number of individuals recognize that developing a relationship with a private medicine physician is a smart investment. The private medical movement provides the ability to make your own decisions out the standard of care you desire for you and your family. A few of the benefits include:

  • Patient-centered approach
  • Create, refine or maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • Proactive, not reactive medicine
  • Focused on prevention and wellness
  • Little to no wait time

Prevention requires time for thorough risk assessment, education, counseling and developing a comprehensible and distinct roadmap to reduce risks. The private medicine approach is based on sound science and an open-minded methodology.

Make Your Health a Priority Today

Don’t put your health on hold any longer. Private medicine is an innovative and improved system of providing health care to patients. It removes the controls that misrepresent and weaken the doctor-patient relationship, and it produces the ability for a physician to focus entirely on serving a small group of patients.

You will find these opportunities and many more by exploring the benefits of establishing a connection with a private medicine doctor. Each practice and practitioner are unique, so just as you would for other services, shop and compare before reaching your decision.

Sources:

  1. http://www.privatephysicians.com/whatisaprivatephysician.html
  2. http://www.kiplinger.com/article/spending/T027-C000-S002-6-things-to-know-about-concierge-medicine.html
  3. http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngoodman/2014/08/28/everyone-should-have-a-concierge-doctor/
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