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Managing Your Practice

Staff Management

As your practice grows, you will take on support staff to assist you. At the beginning, you must have standards that you want your new staff to meet. Registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, medical assistants, medical technicians, medical lab technicians, and x-ray technicians should have the appropriate degree in their specialty and state licenses where required. In some instances hospital credentials may be required. You should check with the hospitals in your area for more details. Credentials Online provides information verification for over twenty different provider types. You can contact them at 800-733-8737 or online.

Other tips:

  • You will need to have clearly defined job descriptions and employee policies, operational policies and procedures, and a means of performance appraisal and feedback. The Medical Group Management Association has a library resource center which can provide you with appropriate information. They can be reached at 877-ASK-MGMA or on the Web.

  • You must develop a system for running your office. You must always be kept in the loop, but out of the gossip. Once the system is in place, you must respect the chain of command and trust the staff to do their assignments.

  • Teamwork pays off.

  • Document everything: protect yourself and employees.

Patient Scheduling

It is important to develop a system of patient scheduling that will reduce physician down-time and delays due to unevenness in patient visit lengths. The College's Center for Practice Improvement and Innovation has written Designing the Patient Schedule to provide insights and offer scheduling techniques that you will find useful.

You Can Save Two Minutes Per Patient

It is possible that specific, sometimes simple, communication skills can make better, more efficient doctors. The College's Center for Practice Improvement and Innovation staff and the programs they organize for the College's Annual Session can help you learn these and other skills.

Keeping a Watchful Eye Open

Now that your practice is up and running, it's time to look at its financial picture. This will provide you with an overall story, provide an early warning, and allow you to monitor performance and progress. You may wish to employ a practice management consultant to assist you in this area.

Relocating

Under present law, you must notify the Director of the Internal Revenue Service of any change of address. Failure to do so renders you liable to additional tax and penalty. You can download form 8822 and mail it to the appropriate address found in the form's instructions .

You will also need to notify the Drug Enforcement Administration at 800-882-9539 or online to transfer your license to a new state.

You should also obtain insurance plans for your new location. Contact the county medical society to join their roster of local physicians.

In addition, you should notify the College and any other medical organizations to which you belong. Notification of change of address for the College can be done online .

Looking to the Future

Patient Satisfaction Check Up—Assessing Patients' Perceptions

Patient Satisfaction Check Up enables you to assess your patient's perceptions and provides a tip-book for planning improvements in any areas of weakness. Designed by internists for internists, this survey stresses patient interactions with you and your staff. Reports include comparisons to outside physicians, to others in your group, and to your own previous ratings.

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