List of all Medical Articles:

We will try our best to update this blog regularly with articles about the following topics:

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  • Includes the following:
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  • NEUROLOGY
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  • OPHTHALMOLOGY
  • ORTHOPEDICS
  • PEDIATRIC
  • PODIATRY
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  • PSYCHOLOGY
  • UROLOGY


10 Tips To Improve Practice Profitability

Unfortunately not only do physicians have to cope with reduced reimbursement from Medical Aids in a period of accelerating expenses, but the economy is having a significant impact on some practices.

Many patients are losing jobs and not quickly finding replacement employment. This causes them to curtail elective expenditures, and health care is often viewed as elective, especially when medical aid benefits expire.

Even so, there are practices that are not only holding their own but actually thriving and achieving new records of productivity and profitability. Listed here are a few of the techniques they employ that might help you too:

1. Increase Efficiency

Inefficient practices on the part of both the physician and staff waste time and money. Seeing just one more new patient per week can increase net profits by R300,000 or more per physician per year. Review your systems and behaviors and eliminate or streamline inefficiencies.

2. Minimize Waste

Audit your practice for wasteful procedures. Review your inventory control system for currency and put one person in charge. Over ordering wastes cash and storage space and under ordering wastes labor. Negotiate for better supply prices.

3. Eliminate Staff Overtime

If regular overtime occurs you are probably understaffed and should hire extra part time staff at reduced rates. If overtime at “time and a half pay” does occur limit it to over 40 hours per week, not over 8 hours day to day. If you always run late, maybe you can keep just one person late, not the whole staff.

4. Train Staff

Rarely do I find staff that doesn’t appreciate training to increase their abilities, and rarely does training not pay. Have staff report back to the group on what they learned and how it can help the practice. Listen to their suggestions. Hold regular in-service training on your specialty.  Be clear on what you expect of them and train them to be exact.

5. Buy Equipment That Will Help You Make Or Save Money

Fax machines, computers and pocket phones qualify when used properly. I have no clients that have them that would give them up without a fight. Clinical instrumentation needs to have accurate financial and usage projections calculated. Make sure you or your staff use what you buy by asking them first.

6. Increase Marketing

This is an area that should be built up in a recession, not decreased. Every practice should know how many new patients per month it takes to keep busy and take action to insure that flow. Marketing can be as subtle or bold as you dare, as long as it produces adequate results. If you are not meeting your new patient count goals, get help.

7. Present Appropriate Care

In my observations more physicians undertreat rather than overtreat, in often misguided deference to their patients’ wallets. Present appropriate care and let the patient decide whether or not to make the investment. Even in a down economy many patients value their health above all else.

8. Audit Your Charts For Oversights

In many specialties I find that patients “slip through the cracks” on follow up or even surgeries due to missed appointments or unscheduled recalls. Review 10 charts a day for compliance and call patients that need to be seen.

9. Look At Your Own Productivity

We all do things to “sabotage” our own success at times, like not staying late to return calls, maintaining chronic tardiness, etc. Ask your staff what you can do to make their jobs easier or to make patient visits more pleasant. Listen to their input and take action.

10. Ask Patients For Their Input

Having patients fill out a simple customer satisfaction survey can give you a lot of insight.  A simple WHAT DID YOU LIKE, WHAT DID YOU DISLIKE and a rating from 1 to 5 for dissatisfied to very satisfied is all you need on the survey.

10 Quick Tips To Market Your Practice

Here are 10 quick tips to market your practice ethically and keep it thriving:

  1. Print a professional practice brochure with your contact details, office hours, list of services, documentation needed for consultation, website link (for more info), after hours number, etc.
  2. Get a professional website – everyone’s searching on the internet.  Not only can you include all the above information, you can also include more details about the medical conditions you treat, medical procedures, pre- and post op care, etc.  Also get website marketing services.  What good is a website if it can’t be found on the internet?
  3. Customer satisfaction survey.  Ask your patients to complete a simple survey.  On the survey need only be:  WHAT DID YOU LIKE ABOUT THE SERVICE, WHAT DID YOU DISLIKE and a 1 to 5 rating for dissatisfied to very satisfied.
  4. List your practice in all available online directories:  Yellow Pages, MedPages, Every Doctor, South Africa/Doctors, etc.  Make sure to highlight your specialty and services.
  5. Build good relationships with your staff.  Your staff is your first line of public service, patients talk to them first before they get to you.  A thank you is often more appreciated than an award.  Consider a team building event.  Happy staff will treat patients well.
  6. Increase word of mouth through customer satisfaction.  Patients will promote services where they got good service.  Analyse your customer service from the moment of entrance to exit.  Is there room for improvement?  What about patient waiting time?  And a lollipop for every patient still works.
  7. Ethical weekly email newsletter.  Ask your patients if they want to receive your weekly newsletter.  Write 4 short articles about a specific health topic in your specialty, at the beginning of the month and send one every week to your newsletters subscribers.  You can also include news and updates about the practice.  (Your secretary can handle everything).
  8. Appointment reminders via a simple sms. Not only to those patients that are coming to see you the following day, but also to follow up patients, reminding them to book an appointment.
  9. Referrals.  How to get those?  Network, network, network.  Not only with colleagues, but also socially and in the community.
  10. Improve office stationery.  Every piece of paper that leaves your office should promote your practice.  Professional looking stationery improve your practice’s image.

Advertising Guidelines For Medical Professionals

Queries are regularly received on the type of information that may be included on HPCSA registerant’s websites.

The following ethical rules exist and any advertisement (websites as well) should be measured against these rules for possible unprofessional conduct:

“(1) A practitioner shall be allowed to advertise his or her services or permit, sanction or acquiesce to such advertisement: Provided that the advertisement is not unprofessional, untruthful, deceptive or misleading or causes consumers unwarranted anxiety that they may be suffering from any health condition.

(2) A practitioner shall not canvass or tout or allow canvassing or touting to be done for patients on his or her behalf”.
A few pointers in this regard:

  • Do not draw attention to personal qualities, superior knowledge, quality of service, professional guarantees or best practice as this could be construed as canvassing patients.
  • Do not draw attention to one’s offers, guarantees or material benefits, not falling within the categories of professional services or items.
  • Graphics and anatomical structures or a photograph of a medical practitioner on websites are permissible provided that it is not indecent, deceptive, misleading or bring the profession into disrepute.
  • Avoid using phrases like “conditions apply” – such conditions must be specifically indicated.
  • Do not advertise the practice’s tariffs to the public at large. You may put up a notice in the practice to inform your own patients of the tariffs.

The following information may appear on adverts, letterheads, account forms and electronic stationery (websites included):

  • practitioner’s name;
  • profession;
  • registered category;
  • speciality or subspeciality or field of professional practice (if any);
  • registered qualifications or other academic qualifications or honorary degrees in abbreviated form;
  • registration number;
  • addresses (including email address);
  • telephone and fax numbers;
  • practice or consultation hours;
  • practice code number;
  • and dispensing licence number (if any).

5 Creative Ways Doctors Can Make Money With A Website

There are many ways to make money with a website.  Here are 5 creative ways for doctors to make money with a website:

  1. Write an ebook about your speciality and promote it on your website – no publishing, no shipping, direct payment and download.
  2. Use SEO and Social Media Marketing to rank your website in search engines and drive customers to your website then sell ad space to medical companies.
  3. Start an online slimming & fitness clinic and receive monthly membership fees.
  4. Sponsor and sell good products (weightloss, bodybuilding, high energy vitamins, etc.) on your website.
  5. Promote your expertise on your website and become a country/world wide convention speaker or consultant.

Can you see that having a website is an investment, not just another expense?