HealthLeaders Media PhysicianLeaders - August 28, 2008 | Under a Microscope View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Under a Microscope
Elyas Bakhtiari, Managing Editor

As costs continue to rise and overall profit margins shrink for physician practices, many groups are forming partnerships and looking to other forms of consolidation and collaboration to bring in additional revenue, expand market share, and generally make it easier to navigate the healthcare minefield. However, these financial arrangements are under a lot of scrutiny, and setting them up can be a major headache. [Read More]
  August 28, 2008

Editor's Picks
Same-day appointments lower patient satisfaction?
This is a little counterintuitive: A study published in the British Journal of General Practice found that increasing the number of same-day appointments by 10% actually lowered the number of satisfied patients by about 8%. I wouldn't take this is a sign to abandon advanced access scheduling, however. One of the tradeoffs of same-day scheduling is that patients often cannot see their own physician, and being treated by an unfamiliar doctor may play a role in the lower satisfaction. [Read More]
HHS: Docs can refuse to provide abortions
Earlier this week the Bush administration proposed stronger job protections for doctors and other healthcare workers who refuse to participate in abortions because of religious or moral objections. I wrote about a very similar debate happening in California just last week. The proposed rule would require as many as 584,000 employers ranging from major hospitals to doctors' offices and nursing homes to certify in writing that they are complying with several federal laws that protect the conscience rights of healthcare workers. [Read More]
Docs reinvent offices to improve ties with patients
This Washington Post article takes a look at how physicians are reinventing their clinical practices to improve patient (as well as physician) satisfaction. The doctor profiled in the piece quit her group to start a micro-practice, and is now able to spend more time with patients and improve overall satisfaction. There's one catch: She earns less than she would in a traditional practice. That's not always the case in micro-practices, but in areas with high local costs and low insurance payments it's tough to make the model work. [Read More]
Health illiteracy costs $100 billion annually
My colleague Maureen Larkin has a great column about a recent report that says "illiterate" healthcare consumers cost the United States more than $100 billion each year. The burden to improve literacy shouldn't only be on patients, she argues. Physicians—and the entire industry—need to improve communication and patient education. "Quality healthcare requires a partnership between patients and providers," she writes. "All of us—patients and providers—have some work to do." [Read More]
Have a Great Labor Day!
HealthLeaders Media PhysicianLeaders will take next week off, but will return with a new issue on September 11.
Business Rx
Train staff to handle phone calls to improve quality:
Phone calls to a medical practice are usually numerous and labor-intensive. New staff members are often hired to help handle the call volume, many times with limited formal training on practice policies and procedures. Start by reviewing procedures and tracking the number and type of phone calls that come into the practice. [Read More]
Physician News
Doctor's visits via Web cam get thumbs up
Boston Globe - August 28, 2008
Simulation training prepares Hopkins teams for emergencies
Baltimore Sun - August 21, 2008
Des Moines, IA, medical center addresses need for family doctors
Des Moines Register - August 21, 2008
Stanford to limit drug maker financing
New York Times - August 26, 2008
On Demand: Recruiting Today's Physician: Competitive Compensation Packages and Practice Structures
On Demand: OR Overhaul: 5 Surgical Site Improvements Every Leader Should Make Today
On Demand: Service Line Strategies Workshop 2008: Neurosciences
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Help the Uninsured (Without Going Broke)
HealthLeaders August 2008
The number of people who can't pay much-or anything-for their care just keeps rising. Some hospitals have found new ways to help them while still protecting the financial health of the hospital. [Read More]
PhysicianLeaders Forum

The Recruiting Challenge for Internal Medicine: Contributors Allen Dye and Troy Fowler from physician search firm Merritt, Hawkins & Associates examine factors that make internal medicine one of the most challenging specialties to recruit and offer suggestions from attracting internists in today's market. [Read More]
Audio Feature

ICD-10 Woes: Robert Tenant, senior policy advisor with MGMA, discusses the CMS proposed timeline for implementing the ICD-10 code set and explains the administrative burden it could place on medical practices. [Listen Now]
Sponsor PhysicianLeaders

Contact Lisa Brown, Director of Integrated Sales, at or call 781.639.1872.
Resources From HealthLeaders Media

Learn how to harness the power of a large organization, either by expanding the practice or partnering with hospitals, private investors, or other physician groups, with Physician Entrepreneurs: Strength in Numbers.
Read about the latest business strategies to help you grow beyond traditional practice models in Physician Entrepreneurs: Going Retail.
Start marketing your practice or refine your existing marketing program with Physician Entrepreneurs: Marketing Toolkit, a new HealthLeaders Media book that combines expert tips with marketing samples, tools, forms, and checklists that will help grow your practice.
Find practice-management ideas in The Doctor's Office, a monthly newsletter.
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