There are plenty of reasons that you chose to pursue a career in medicine. For example, maybe you have a passion for helping people or want to make a difference in people’s lives. Or perhaps you wanted a stimulating and challenging career that would include continued learning throughout your life.
Your choice probably wasn’t based on a love of paperwork and bureaucracy. Nonetheless, this is a common issue in managing a modern medical practice. Running your own practice is fulfilling and allows freedom that you otherwise might not enjoy. However, plenty of challenges can bog you down.
5 Common challenges for physicians — and some solutions
Challenge: Making time for patients
We’ve mentioned it before, but there’s a constant struggle between making time for your patients, whose fees pay the bills, and completing the mountain of paperwork and administrative tasks that are part and parcel with running a medical practice.
Recruit or promote a leader from your office staff to take over much of the administration. Reduce the amount of paperwork on your plate so you can use your time to focus on your patients. It’s more fulfilling for you and will increase your revenue.
Challenge: Accurately recording patient information in an EHR
EHRs are a blessing and a curse. Electronic records don’t take up space; they’re more secure, and easily searchable so you can find the information you need quickly. However, entering patient information is time-consuming, and if you try to do while you’re with a patient, it can create a barrier between you.
Solution: Use the right systems
Find an EHR that requires minimal key touches to record the information you need. If you can complete your note while you’re with the patient, you save time. An alternative is to have a scribe present who can complete the note while you examine and talk to the patient.
Challenge: Ever changing reimbursement
Medicaid and Medicare set reimbursement rules and standards. Unfortunately, those standards change frequently, and you and your team need to stay on top of the acceptable and correct billing codes for all of your diagnoses and services. With a higher percentage of reimbursements being linked to value, your goalposts are changing.
Solution: Use your professional associations to facilitate change
At this point, you still have to play by their rules. However, as the focus shifts to value over volume, you have an opportunity to make your voice heard. Talk to your medical associations about your concerns and needs. It’s their job to lobby the government and push forward solutions that are good for you and your patients.
Challenge: Increasing patient disrespect
Patients used to take the instructions of their physicians and gospel. Today, many patients consult Dr. Google and come to your practice armed to the teeth with misinformation. Combined with the pressure to see more patients more quickly, this reduces their compliance with your instructions and interferes with the relationship of trust you try to build.
Solution: Act with compassion
Pay attention to your patients when they talk. Don’t type away into your EHR system. Treat your patients compassionately. As a society, we’re all too attached to our electronic devices. Do your best to attend to your patients with care and attention.
Challenge: Maintaining independence
Owning and operating an independent medical practice is financially, physically, and intellectually challenging. More and more small practices are joining larger conglomerates to shift some of the administrative pressure. While there are benefits to this model, you become an employee, which has its own frustrations and challenges.
Solution: Efficiencies and ancillary services
Look for ways to trim costs and make your practice more efficient without getting in the way of patient service. You can also investigate additional services and treatments to bring in additional revenue. Make sure you do your research before investing in new equipment.
At Ferndale Road, we want to make practice management easier and less time-consuming. Our e-Paper Road solution for dealing with patient records requests is just one way we can help you save time. Contact us today to learn more.