Online Reputation Management for Doctors
17.2K views | +0 today
Follow
Online Reputation Management for Doctors
Curated and Written Articles to help Physicians and Other Healthcare Providers manage reputation online. Tips on Social media, SEO, Online Review Managements and Medical Websites
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scoop.it!

Newscenter - Online reputation management for physicians

Newscenter - Online reputation management for physicians | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

As more patients go online to find information about physicians, your reputation is being built and managed on the Internet. And like it or not, your online reputation plays a role in acquiring new patients and maintaining trust with existing patients and colleagues. It is imperative for physicians to have a plan and focus on online reputation management.


Online reputation management is the process of preventing and repairing threats to your online reputation. It is done by tracking what is written about you and using techniques to address or moderate the information on search engine result pages or in social media. The goal is to promote positive or neutral content while suppressing negative content.


For physicians, online reputation management involves addressing information in three areas:


  1. information found on search engine results pages (Google);
  2. information found in social media (LinkedIn, FaceBook, blogs); and
  3. information on rating sites, such as Vitals, HealthGrades, Rate MDs, Yelp, and Angie’s List.


Recently, a physician received an email from a company offering online reputation management services to help him mitigate negative online reviews on sites such as Yelp, Google, and health care review sites such as Vitals.


There are hundreds of companies out there offering these services. However, physicians are urged to use extreme caution when choosing a reputation management company. Some companies engage in questionable techniques that could lead to disciplinary action by the Texas Medical Board (TMB).


Specifically, the company that emailed this physician said they “will post reviews for our clients to over 40 social media web sites . . . We post up to 25 reviews per month.”


This claim is alarming in the context of medical practice. How are they managing to post reviews from the patients of a particular physician? Are they making up reviews and then posting them? It is unethical and dishonest to post reviews on these sites that are not from actual patients. Physicians are held to a different standard than other businesses, and posting fake patient reviews is problematic. Doing so would also violate TMB advertising rules, as this type of advertising (and the TMB does consider this to be advertising) would be considered “misleading.”


Here are a few techniques for managing your own online reputation.

 Know what is being said. Conduct web searches on yourself and your practice regularly. Review the first 30 hits of the search. (Any hit past 30 is generally considered extraneous and not likely to be read.) (1) Among the top 30 hits, what are these sites saying about you? Continue to monitor these online discussions.


 Know what you can and cannot do about negative reviews.  Because of health care privacy laws, physicians cannot respond to online reviews. The fact that a patient’s identity is protected information directly hinders the physician’s ability to refute a complaint. Simply acknowledging publicly that the complaining party is a patient breaches confidentiality and violates HIPAA.


Physicians can consider giving patients more constructive ways to offer their feedback. Conducting a patient survey, for example, would be a good way for patients to express their dissatisfaction and feel empowered.


Another option is to talk to the patient directly if you can identify who made the comment. This should be done in person or over the phone. Begin by asking the patient why he or she is dissatisfied.


It is also a good idea to investigate the patient’s complaints. Is the complaint legitimate? Was the problem with a procedure, a staff member, or the patient's wait time? Can the problem be fixed?


 Optimize your site for search engines. Optimizing your site for search engines will ensure that anyone typing in your name or your practice name will see your web site at the top of the search list. Optimizing your site involves creating comprehensive and targeted meta tags and web site page titles that help search engines index your site. More sophisticated techniques include editing your site’s content, HTML, and associated coding; removing barriers to the indexing activities of search engines; increasing inbound links; or purchasing related web addresses.


Create your own blog. You cannot control what other people say about you online, but you can create your own story and your own content. Your blog could be as simple as one 300-word post per week. The content could be about services you are offering to patients, the importance of getting a flu shot, or any other health topic that is relevant to your patient base.


 Create a LinkedIn profile. Your LinkedIn profile is another aspect of your online presence that you create. Add information about where you went to school, your specialty, and your practice. Make your profile public so that patients and potential patients can learn about you in a way you can control.


Take advantage of that “thank you.” The next time you receive a thank you note or email from a patient or family member, ask that person to post their comments on your blog, on your LinkedIn profile, or on physician rating sites.


 Keep in mind that with the prevalence of smartphones and tablet PCs, patients can post a review of you — a positive or negative review — at anytime and from anywhere. Even from your waiting room. Don’t ignore what’s being said.

No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

5 Ways to Manage Your Online Reputation

5 Ways to Manage Your Online Reputation | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Online Reputation Management for Doctors can be more crucial than  any other industry. In this information age reviews can make or break a practice. Follow these tips below and get the recommendations that match your skill set.


1)      Ask Your Happy Patients to Write a Review: Don’t be afraid to ask, because it certainly won’t hurt if your patient is leaving happy. Follow up with your patients – you can ask them directly for a review, or you can point them to a  website like healthgrades.com, vitals.com or ratemds.com


2)      Post Your Positive Reviews: In your office on a bulletin board, your website, blog and social media. The more attention you drive to the good, the less attention will be given to the poor.


3)      Google Yourself: Search for your name both for text and in images. Also, set up aGoogle Alert and you’ll get new results emailed to you based on the search criteria you specify. You’ll be notified immediately if any new reviews pop up.


4)      Get Active on Social Media: Social media is more relevant in today’s purchasing process. Get engaged with your followers to foster better relationships with the people who care enough to post online about their experience.


5)      Respond to Negative Reviews: Don’t just ignore them, because they won’t go away. Responding to negative reviews shows that you care about your patients, even and especially about the ones that left unhappy. But don’t just apologize; you need to make sure your response is well thought out, sincere, and that it addresses the issues and explains why future patients will not experience the same issues in the future.

No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Physician Online Reputation Management

Physician Online Reputation Management | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Physician review sites like Vitals, RateMd and Yelp have become increasingly important in the digital medicine revolution.  Patients are relying more and more on the input of other patients to help them make decisions on a medical specialist.  In most instances, prospective patients are finding a physicians website and then cross referencing their services with review sites to solidify whether or not they should make an appointment.  Ensuring your online reputation is managed properly has become a science in and of itself.


Sadly, review sites have become a Pandora’s Box for disgruntled consumers.  One study showed that dissatisfied consumers are 3 times more likely to leave a review than satisfied customers.  This is likely due to the cathartic feeling many consumers may feel after bashing a product or, in your case, a physician.  After that review has been posted many feel vindicated in knowing they may have permanently damaged your reputation by leaving an indelible smudge on your online reputation.


So, how do you avoid this seemingly inevitable pitfall?  First, let’s review what NEVER to do in regards to reviews.


Directly Responding To A Negative Review


For many physicians seeing a negative review immediately puts them on the defensive and they feel the need to publicly refute these claims.  This is one of the worst mistakes you can make.  Publicly addressing this gives other potential patients the idea that you are petty and self-righteous.  I know it may be hard to sit idly by while a patient misrepresents a series of events or experience with your practice.  However, going on the message board and defending yourself lets patients know you can more about your online reputation than you do your patients.

Inherently, we know your online reputation is important but the potential patient can never know that.  Your results and reviews have to seem organic and not micro managed or orchestrated.


Instead, try and do the research as to what patient left that review.  It may take some looking through your records, but with some digging you can usually narrow it down.  Once you have established who the patient is, reach out to them directly whether it be via phone or email.  Let them know that you saw their review and that you are aware of their disappointment and vigorously apologetic.  Offer to rectify the complaint with another consult at no cost or recommending another specialist for them.  Do not be afraid to be personal and say things like, “As a medical professional my primary concern is my patients.  Seeing reviews like this really makes me evaluate my bedside manner and helps me improve my demeanor for future patients.”


The most important thing to convey is that their grievance has been taken into consideration and will help you in the future.  Many times the patient will supplement their original review and note that you reached out to them personally.  Many others will remove the review altogether.


Patients Can Smell It From A Mile Away


Most physicians believe that a slew of gleaming 5 star reviews is the best way to capture new patients from a review site.  Wrong.  By nature, most people are inherently skeptical and pessimistic.  Many only visit review sites to validate their preconceived notions of a product or service.  Sadly, no one believes in perfection.  If patients see nothing but overwhelmingly positive reviews about you they are going to become suspicious.

This may seem counterintuitive as 5 stars is always better than 4 stars.  However, it is a matter of plausibility.  A 4 star review is often more plausible if the only complaint was something a patient would reasonably expect.


For instance, an effective 4 star review would be:


“Dr. Smith was great.  He explained why I was in so much pain and took the time to go over all of the things I could do at home to relieve my pain.  We also discussed surgery but he wanted to wait and make sure we had gone through all of the conservative treatments first.  My only complaint was that my appointment was at 5:30pm but I was not seen until 5:45pm.  Other than that Dr. Smith was great and I would definitely recommend him.”

You lost a star, but it is negligible because the review was so positive.  The only complaint was a longer wait time than expected.  However, this is nothing new to anyone who has ever been to a physician’s office.  The key here was plausibility.  As a potential patient, I believe this person is real and I believe their assessment of their interaction with you because of the slight imperfection.


Leaving Fake Reviews


Many practices have taken to leaving fabricated reviews that reflect positive reviews of patients that never existed.  Although this may seem like a good idea it is irresponsible in terms of ethics.  I know it seems like an easy way to bolster your reputation but I urge you not to engage in this shameful practice.

Also, many review sites have become savvy to this tactic and have begun tracking ISP’s to determine whether or not these reviews are valid.  If a review site sees an abundance of reviews being left from the same ISP and location it may flag your page.  If prospective patients find out you have been lying about your reviews they are also going to wonder what else you may be lying about.  Your credentials?  Your skills?  Your expertise?


Furthermore, there are legal ramifications for leaving fake reviews:

The FTC has the following guidelines for patient reviews:

  • All reviews must be truthful and not misleading in any way

  • Even paid endorsements are considered to be deceptive if they make false or misleading claims


If the FTC or BBB find that your practice has been posting fake or deceptive reviews online, or that they are being compensated for the activity, you could face a hefty fine.


This is also true for leaving negative reviews on competing physicians review sites.

Many review sites, such as Vitals, will allow you to hide or remove 1-2 reviews that you feel are invalid or fake.  Other sites allow you to contest a review if you can prove that it is not genuine.  It is always best to attempt to hide these reviews first as attempting to deal with the Customer Service teams on these sites is an exercise in futility.  Generally, their response is that they are not responsible for the reviews left on your page as long as the site has deemed them to be credible.  “Credibility” is usually based on a proprietary system that the site uses to crawl reviews.

Another thing to be aware of is that Yelp has a filtering system that posts some reviews and not others, according to a recentForbes.com article.

“My wife, a Realtor, had a similar experience: ‘They seem be wary of first-time reviewers. If your first review is negative then they let you post other reviews, but if your first review is positive then they remove it. The same goes if all your reviews are positive.’

She went on: “I called Yelp after a business associate posted a positive review about me which was later removed. They hinted that if I advertised on Yelp this may not have occurred.”

A case can be made that this borders on extortion.


A Practical Solution


With many of my clients I have faced the daunting task of cleaning up their online reputations after years of mismanagement.  In response to this I created a simple process that has worked incredibly well.

I created a card that is slightly bigger than a business card that physicians give to a patient as they are leaving the office.  This card thanks them for coming in, includes the practices phone number and also encourages them to leave a review on one of the physician review sites and includes a short link to each site.

The most important thing about using this system is what I call “The Moment”.  This occurs when the patient is exiting the exam room and you know that they are ecstatic.  It is at this point where you need to break the confines of the doctor patient relationship, look them in the eye, shake their hand and genuinely thank them for coming in.  During this time is when you say to them, “I am truly thrilled that you are so happy.  Here is a card with my number on it.  If you need anything please do not hesitate to call.  Also, if you want to leave a review just take a look at the back of the card.”

The patient is so flattered by your handshake and sincerity that they are now exceedingly likely to leave a positive review  The key is to encourage the right patients to leave reviews.  These are the patients that you know are happy and are willing to go the extra mile for you.  The success rate of these cards is astounding but it is predicated on your ability to captivate them in “The Moment”.

No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Marketing Your Practice Online

Marketing Your Practice Online | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

In previous years the conversation around marketing your medical practice centered on "Should I market my practice?" and "How much should I spend on marketing my practice?" Which then evolved into "Should I be online?" and "Is Facebook or social media really necessary to market my practice?"

Not anymore.


The conversation is now "How much time and money should I invest in online marketing?" It is now accepted that online marketing is not just an option for practices any longer; it is something they must do to attract new patients and stay competitive.


Determining cost


When determining a budget for your online marketing, it is best to start with the end in mind. Begin by looking at what your goals are for your online marketing program. I think it's best to frame them within short-term and long-term scenarios.

Here are some examples to get your creative wheels turning:

In 90 days, I would like to see an established and engaged audience of X number of people.

In 120 days, I would like to see my audience at X number, and receive X new patients per month from online efforts.

Once you have your goals set, you can determine the cost to achieve them. There are a number of factors to consider when determining the cost:


• Where does your ideal patient hang out?


Hint: Almost all practices should start with a website and Facebook.


• Who is managing the online effort — in-house vs. an outside firm?


There are many different levels of service available; from assistance with in-house efforts to complete outside management.


• What is the cost to reach your ideal patients?


Do you want to reach the 22-year-old diabetic patient in Boise, Idaho? You can, and often times for pennies. If you want to make your message more specific, it may cost a little more or less depending on the characteristics you seek.


• How will you stay in touch?


All of these variables, and many more, factor into what kind of investment you will need to make to reach the patients you want to see.

Compare these figures to what a single patient is worth to your practice to calculate how much time and money you should invest in online marketing efforts.


No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Sharing Job Performance Standards With Medical Staff

Sharing Job Performance Standards With Medical Staff | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

An interesting event occurred this week in my practice that I'd like to share with you. Although on the surface this seems like one of those "Well, of course" moments, oftentimes managers overlook the obvious and then wonder what went wrong.

A staff member requested and was given permission to split his time between two medical offices, hoping to build up his portion of the business in two locations rather than just one. A few weeks ago, I noticed some lax behavior on his part, resulting in not meeting expected job performance in the areas of billing charges out, completing chart notes, and communicating scheduling times. I watched and monitored his behavior to gather enough consistent information to approach him and address the problem. What resulted was a fantastic meeting of the minds; a positive and non-threatening interaction that resulted in much improved performance.

When we sat down to speak, the staff member appeared very anxious. I was unsure why this behavior was being exhibited, but knew there was a reason. So, as we started talking, I explained to him that the second office he was now working in had higher expectations from their staff members than perhaps some of the other practice locations. Many of our staff members want to work in this location due to the clinic directors' leadership style. So, as a result, the expectation of staff performance, communication, and professional attitude is higher.

The staff member asked me to expand on that. I mentioned that he failed to chart and bill out charges within 24 hours of the patient visit. I asked him why he felt this was appropriate behavior. He told me no one had ever spoken with him about what was required or expected in this area. I then asked about communication regarding scheduling. A similar answer was produced. It occurred to me that when the staff member was hired, he was pointed in the direction of his workstation, and told, "Okay, go to work." That was it.

Now, I understand that everyone gets busy and when a new employee starts, sometimes it seems like no one has the time for a proper introduction, training, or communicating basic requirements of the job. This is clearly the case with this employee. After a mere 30 minutes of explaining what the requirements for working in this office meant, we had some brainstorming and idea discussion. The employee had not been exposed to having the autonomy to "own the position," and be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

The result? All missing chart notes were completed within 24 hours of our meeting, and have been kept up with the expectation that was provided. The staff member has been asking for assistance with marketing the office and working in the new location. He is communicating with the front desk about their scheduling needs and requests. The staff member is keenly aware that there is transparency in that office and that he is required to meet and exceed the standard provided if he wants to remain in that location.

It's a win-win all around. The staff member feels good about working for the practice; and the clinic director is very pleased with his addition to the team, and his performance, attitude, and overall teamwork.  So remember that instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, take a step back and figure out why a staff member behaves the way he does, and just have a frank conversation with him.


No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Making Your Practice a 'Best' Place to Work

Making Your Practice a 'Best' Place to Work | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Every office has something the employees get excited about, whether it’s the summer picnic, bring-your-child-to-work day, or Taco Tuesday. At my office, we’ve never met a party that we didn’t like.

We celebrate birthdays and holidays and promotions and each of the goals we achieve. But no celebration is more meaningful than Fortune day.

Last week, our parent company CHG Healthcare Services was ranked 16 on Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list (and here’s how we celebrated).

One reason our company stands out as a great place to work is that fostering a healthy workplace culture is a top priority for us.

Here's why workplace "culture" is so important, and how you can cultivate a great workplace culture at your practice.

Culture Sets You Apart From Your Competition

After the dark days of the Great Recession, the economy has bounced back. In many industries, and especially in healthcare, people have gone from worrying about just hanging onto their job, to having the freedom to be picky about where they choose to work.

In a job seeker’s market, it’s important to ask yourself some tough questions. Why would a physician or staff member choose to work with your practice?  What makes you stand out from the competition? What are you doing to keep your current team engaged?

If you’re doing things right, the answer to each of these questions will be the same: We have, and cultivate, a strong company culture.

Cultivating a Great Culture

Making your practice a place where people want to work isn’t easy. It takes consistent and concerted efforts. Here are some of the things that can help.

1. Hire for cultural fit and train for skills. When it comes to hiring staff, strong skills and an impressive background are nice. But if you really want to hire the right candidate, focus on who they are as a person. Will they fit in with the team? Do they care about the mission of the practice? Will the job help them reach their long-term goals?

Remember, job candidates who are engaged not only make better employees, but they’re much more likely to stick around.

2. Give your team a voice. People want to work for someone they can trust. One of the keys to building trust is to ask for regular feedback from your team, whether it’s through formal channels like surveys or through more informal meetings.

But gathering feedback is just the first step. You also need to be willing to implement some of those ideas and be transparent about decisions affecting the practice.

3. Take care of each other. One of the best parts of working in healthcare is the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those you serve. But that service doesn’t have to be constrained to the walls of the practice. Encourage your employees to give back to the greater community by offering them paid time off when they volunteer.

Creating a strong culture won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. As we’ve implemented these practices at our office, we’ve seen retention improve and engagement increase. Not surprisingly, our success in building culture has resulted in success in building our business.

And that’s something worth celebrating.


No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

A Physician's Role in Team-Based Patient Care

A Physician's Role in Team-Based Patient Care | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

With Medicare-eligible citizens now representing the fastest-growing segment of the American population, it is more important than ever to find fresh approaches and new models of care to effectively manage the health and well-being of this group. Physicians, hospitals, and health plans need to find ways to work together if they are to provide patients with a higher quality of life and better care coordination while lowering overall healthcare costs. This is particularly true as it applies to low-income seniors, dual eligibles, and others with complex medical and social needs.

One tactic that is proving to be successful in this area is a high-intensity care-team approach outside of the hospital setting. Such an approach goes well beyond traditional care coordination and is consistent with a recent Avalere Health study, which reported that to be successful in today's environment, health plans and physicians need to not only focus on treating a person's medical condition but must also have strategies in place for managing a broad array of care needs across multiple settings.

For primary-care physicians, participation in a care-team program can ease the burden associated with the management of complex-care patients. It also provides a way to better manage the cost of these patients by optimizing their health and functional status, decreasing excess healthcare use, minimizing emergency department visits and other hospital utilization (including readmissions), and preventing long-term nursing home placement. 

Central to an effective care-team program is a support team overseen by a nurse practitioner and a social worker that work in concert with the primary-care physician to comprehensively address a patient's health conditions and achieve a patient's goal from the comfort of their own home. To be successful it is imperative that the team provides patients with healthcare education; medication management; and coordination of care between specialty physicians, the emergency department, hospitals, and a broad array of community support services.

In addition to better serving patients from a clinical and social standpoint, there are strategic reasons for primary-care physicians to consider programs such as these. For those physicians who participate in an accountable care organization (Medicare and/or commercial), take capitated risk, or serve a significant Medicare population (and are at risk for adverse events such as readmission and other penalties), this type of coordination can be a significant element in the move from fee-for-service to value-based pricing while generating cash flow and cost savings.

It is no wonder then that the Avalere study said that enrolling members into an effective care-transition or care-coordination program "can help … reduce their members' healthcare utilization and subsequently their spending." In a model presented in the study, Geriatric Resources for Assessment and Care of Elders (GRACE) Team Care™  from Indiana University Medical Center produced annual savings for high-risk members of nearly $4,300 while producing a ROI for the health plan of 95 percent per year.

Physicians looking to participate in a care-team approach outside of the hospital should be sure that their program includes:

• In-home assessment and care management by a team of experts.

• Specific protocols to manage common geriatric conditions.

• Integrated EHR documentation.

• Web-based care management tracking.

• Integrated pharmacy, mental health, hospital, home health, and community-based services.

• Individualized care planning and implementation of a care plan consistent with the participant's goals.

• Frequent inter-professional team conferences.

• Nurse practitioner and social worker meetings with the primary-care physician.

• Ongoing care management and caregiver support.

• Protocols to ensure continuity and coordination of care including smooth transitions from one point on the healthcare continuum to another.

Older patients with chronic conditions and functional limitations require more medical services and social support than do their less complex or younger counterparts. And beyond their physical healthcare challenges, these patients often must deal with a host of socioeconomic stressors including low health literacy, limited access, fragmented healthcare, and poor communication and coordination of care.

The combination of all of these factors makes it imperative that physicians, hospitals, and health plans continue to look for even better ways to serve these citizens in need. By moving the traditional concept of care coordination to a new level, the entire healthcare system can be more efficient, more patient-centric and more responsive to improving the entire patient experience.


No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

The Fundamental Challenge of Building a Healthcare-Provider Focused Startup

The Fundamental Challenge of Building a Healthcare-Provider Focused Startup | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Over the past few years, the government imposed copious regulations on healthcare providers, most of which are supposed to reduce costs, improve access to care, and consumerize the patient experience. Prior to 2009, the federal government was far less involved in driving the national healthcare agenda, and thus provider IT budgets, innovation, and research and development agendas among healthcare IT vendors.

This is, in theory (and according to the government), a good idea. Prior to the introduction of the HITECH act in 2009, IT adoption in healthcare was abysmal. The government has most certainly succeeded in driving IT adoption in the name of the triple aim. But this has two key side effects that directly impact the rate at which innovation can be introduced into the healthcare provider community.

The first side effect of government-driven innovation is that all of the vendors are building the exact same features and functions to adhere to the government requirements. This is the exact antithesis of capitalism, which is designed to allow companies to innovate on their own terms; right now, every healthcare IT vendor is innovating on the government’s terms. This is massively inefficient at a macroeconomic level, and stifles experimentation and innovation, which is ultimately bad for providers and patients.

But the second side effect is actually much more nuanced and profound. Because the federal government is driving an aggressive health IT adoption schedule, healthcare providers aren’t experimenting as much as they otherwise would. Today, the greatest bottleneck to providers embarking on a new project is not money, brain power, or infrastructure. Rather, providers are limited in their ability to adopt new technologies by their bandwidth to absorb change. It is simply not possible to undertake more than a handful of initiatives at one time; management can’t coordinate the projects, IT can’t prepare the infrastructure, and the staff can’t adjust workflows or attend training rapidly enough while caring for patients.

As the government drives change, they are literally eating up providers’ ability to innovate on any terms other than the government’s. Prominent CIOs like John Halamka from BIDMC have articulated the challenge of keeping up with government mandates, and the need to actually set aside resources to innovate outside of government mandates.

Thus is the problem with health IT entrepreneurship today. Solving painful economic or patient-safety problems is simply not top of mind for CIOs, even if these initiatives broadly align with accountable care models. They are focused on what the government has told them to focus on, and not much else. Obviously, existing healthcare IT vendors are tackling the government mandates; it’s unlikely an under-capitalized startup without brand recognition can beat the legacy vendors when the basis of competition is so clear: do what the government tells you. Startups thrive when they can asymmetrically compete with legacy incumbents.

Google beat Microsoft by recognizing search was more important than the operating system; Apple beat Microsoft by recognizing mobile was more important than the desktop; SalesForce beat Oracle and SAP because they recognized the benefits of the cloud over on-premise deployments; Voalte is challenging Vocera because they recognized the power of the smartphone long before Vocera did. There are countless examples in and out of healthcare. Startups win when they compete on new, asymmetric terms. Startups never win by going head to head with the incumbent.

We are in an era of change in healthcare. It’s obvious that risk based models will become the dominant care delivery model, and this is creating enormous opportunity for startups to enter the space. Unfortunately, the government is largely dictating the scope and themes of risk-based care delivery, which is many ways actually stifling innovation.

Thus is the problem for health IT entrepreneurship today. Despite all of the ongoing change in healthcare, it’s actually harder than ever before to change healthcare delivery things as a startup. There is simply not enough attention of bandwidth to go around. When CIOs have strict project schedules that stretch out 18 months, how can startups break in? Startups can’t survive 18 month cycles.

Thus the is paradox of innovation: the more of it you’re told to innovate, the less you can actually innovate.


No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

'Mix and Match' Documentation for Higher Reimbursement

'Mix and Match' Documentation for Higher Reimbursement | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Recent changes in how CMS permits you to select evaluation and management (E/M) service levels are a benefit to providers who manage patients with multiple chronic conditions.

E/M services may be provided at various levels of intensity, with more intensive services garnering higher reimbursement. E/M service levels (and the codes that describe them) are assigned according the elements of patient history, exam, and medical decision-making (MDM) documented in the provider’s encounter notes.

CMS allows you to choose between two sets of guidelines when translating provider documentation into E/M codes: The 1995 Documentation Guidelines for Evaluation and Management Services and the 1997 Documentation Guidelines for Evaluation and Management Services. The guidelines differ in how they define the history and exam portions of an E/M service (the guidelines are identical regarding MDM).

The ‘95 guidelines define the exam component such that specialist providers found it difficult to report higher-level E/M codes, even when services warranted doing so. The ‘97 guidelines addressed this issue by providing bullet points for single organ system examinations, thereby allowing specialists to report higher level services for intensive, problem-specific exams. The ‘97 exam requirements tend not to work as well for general practitioners, however.

The ‘97 guidelines also differ in the history component, and allow “the status of three or more chronic conditions” to qualify as an “extended” history of present illness (HPI). Under the ‘95 guidelines, providers must document four or more HPI “elements” (location, quality, severity, duration, timing, context, modifying factors, and associated signs and symptoms) to attain an extended HPI.

Each set of guidelines has its advantages and disadvantages. For many providers, the ideal guideline would combine the ‘95 exam requirements (which are more subjective, as compared to the ‘97 exam requirements) with the ‘97 history element (which are more flexible than the ‘95 guidelines when defining the history of present illness). For many years, such “mixing and matching” of the guidelines has not been allowed.

Effective since Sept. 10, 2013, CMS has revised its E/M Documentation Guidelines to allow an extended HPI, as defined by the ‘97 guidelines, with the other elements of the ‘95 guidelines. As a result, “the status of three or more chronic conditions” qualifies as an extended HPI for either the ‘97 or ‘95 guidelines. 

CMS announced the change as a “Question and Answer” on its website.

Q. Can a provider use both the 1995 and 1997 Documentation Guidelines for Evaluation and Management Services to document their choice of evaluation and management HCPCS code?
A. For billing Medicare, a provider may choose either version of the documentation guidelines, not a combination of the two, to document a patient encounter. However, beginning for services performed on or after September 10, 2013 physicians may use the 1997 documentation guidelines for an extended history of present illness along with other elements from the 1995 guidelines to document an evaluation and management service.

CMS has also updated its Evaluation and Management Services Guide to reflect the new policy.

Ask your coding staff if they are aware of this change, and if they are measuring E/M services against the revised guidelines. Those physicians who manage patients with multiple chronic conditions, especially, may find that the new rules allow their coding and billing to better reflect the documented level of service provided, thereby legitimately boosting E/M levels and reimbursement levels. If providers are already documenting their services well, they won’t have to change their process to realize an advantage from these revised E/M guidelines.


No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Efficiency of Remote Clinical Documentation Improvement Work

Efficiency of Remote Clinical Documentation Improvement Work | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Would working remotely on clinical documentation improvement (CDI) improve efficiency at a healthcare organization? Some may not think so, but the results from Baystate Health indicate otherwise.

As part of its CDI program, Baystate Health in Springfield, Mass., began teaching CDI specialists to work from home with the help of health IT tools, according to the Journal of AHIMA.2014-10-15-Doc-at-PC

So far, working remotely has led to greater accuracy and efficiency among CDI employees. Several years ago, the organization began expanding its CDI hiring base and moving some staff members off-site.

By 2014, the CDI team rose from four specialists to ten. The original four workers were transitioned to working from home after establishing strong relationships with physicians and coders when working on-site. Both email and EHRs were used to run queries by CDI specialists working from home.

This allows providers to focus on their patients and get back to documentation questions afterward. Essentially, it brings better care to patients by preventing interruptions to workflow.

Often, CDI specialists work on hospital floors and ask physicians or nurses directly about queries, but supervisors explain that little has changed by allowing this work-from-home program. The health information management department has also developed software that allows CDI workers and coders to communicate about cases and records.

Another useful tool that simplifies working remotely is an instant messaging platform the organization incorporated. This system-wide messaging capability allows CDI specialists to pose questions and manage issues with anyone from Baystate Health, whether it is the billing department, the health information management department, or medical and surgery.

“We don’t interrupt the productivity of our individuals by having them pair or mentor off another individual, but we use these tools to understand where the variations lie and where there’s other opportunities,” Jennifer Cavagnac, CCDS, Assistant Director of Clinical Documentation Improvement at Baystate Health, told the news source.

One of the main reasons that the organization introduced working remotely was to improve job satisfaction. Moral in the workplace rose due to increased flexibility. This also led to better retainment of top CDI employees.

Cavagnac goes on to explain that team members who work remotely are encouraged to communicate with the rest of the team and ask questions about cases in order to keep them connected to the workplace. The supervisors attempt to ensure workers don’t feel isolated and that resources are available even when working remotely.

Technology like instant messaging, EHR systems, and telehealth services has not only allowed employees to work remotely but also enabled patients to receive basic healthcare assistance outside of a medical office.

The Federal Times reported that caregivers are able to reach patients on a daily basis through telehealth services but a more integrated system will need to be developed so that patient data can be stored securely and shared in real time.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began a telehealth network four years ago in order to provide healthcare services in rural areas without a strong hospital system. The medical industry will continue to adapt and improve technologies such as videoconferencing, image storing, and wireless communication in order to strengthen the capabilities of telehealth.

Whether it is to increase work flexibility or improve telehealth services for patients around the nation, technology plays a vital role in connecting individuals across the healthcare spectrum.


No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

The Reason Many Medical Practice Change Initiatives Fail

The Reason Many Medical Practice Change Initiatives Fail | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Good is rarely good enough, and opportunities for improvement are never lacking. Unfortunately, the success rate of major change initiatives in medical practices is often low due to poor management of the change. 

Physician leaders and practice managers should expect and accept disruption and resistance to change, and never lose sight of the fact that costs are high when change efforts go wrong. 

The consequences of poorly executed change are not only financial costs, but also lost opportunity, wasted resources, confusion, and diminished morale. 

Here are three major areas to focus on to help with your change management efforts.

Clarify direction
As the saying goes, “culture is everything.”  To effectively manage change, you must consider your practice culture, and thus clarify how the change relates to your practice culture, vision, and goals.

Communication is paramount when trying to raise the level of understanding of why the change is taking place. Employees should be told why the change is taking place, what the change will mean for them, when the change will be happening, how the change will be carried out, what support will be available to help them adjust to the change, and what will be expected of employees as a result of the change. 

Over-communicate your goals, direction, and expectations.  It's not enough to send out an e-mail addressing those points. Communication should be regular and should continue over an extended period of time.

Invite and acknowledge concerns
Make change a part of your business and an expectation among staff and providers.  Many members of your practice are innovative and eager to contribute their insights and suggestions for improvement.  Treat them as a natural part of the process and address resistance by asking for input. 

Work with all staff to measure “real” vs. “perceived” disruption.  The path of rolling out change is immeasurably smoother if these people are tapped early for input on issues that will affect their jobs. 

The goal is to quickly get employees through the denial and resistance stages and on to the commitment phase where you get the buy-in from staff.

Develop commitment
Work on developing commitment from the staff and avoid demanding compliance.  People respond to calls to action that engage their hearts as well as their minds, making them feel as if they’re part of something consequential, so make the rational and emotional case for change together. 

Their full-hearted engagement can smooth the way for complex change initiatives, whereas their resistance will make implementation an ongoing challenge.  Address any reservations and give some consideration to possibly rewarding initiative.  You must either build commitment or prepare for the consequences.

Medical practices must constantly change in order to survive in today’s competitive healthcare arena.  Practices should never settle for something that is considered completed; all things can improve with change. 

Managing change in an already busy practice environment, however, can be challenging and you may want to consider bringing someone in to help structure the rollout of a project and guide you through key change initiative milestones.  When employees who have endured real upheaval and put in significant extra hours for an initiative that was announced with great fanfare see it simply fizzle out, cynicism sets in.


No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

3 Things Doctors Can Do to Connect With Patients

3 Things Doctors Can Do to Connect With Patients | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Patients have been coming into my office for several years telling me that they looked me up on the Internet and that I have great reviews. I always dismissed these comments, as I knew that these reviews were influenced by many factors and not necessarily accurate. Plus, the reviews were favorable so I gave it little thought. Eventually, I took the opportunity to Google myself and was amused by much of what I read. Patients often made strong statements about me without much evidence. Again, it was largely complimentary so I let things be.

Over time, it dawned on me that virtually every patient was looking me up. I went back to the Internet and tried to picture what I would think if I were a patient looking me up. I realized I was passively being defined, as opposed to actively defining my own image -- and the method of others defining me was often incomplete and arbitrary.

I decided to launch my own website so I could define my online image. I wanted to project what I believe in, and how I practice medicine so that patients who research me can more accurately see if my philosophy truly resonates with theirs.

Of course, it's not so easy. Just putting something out there doesn't assure that it will be what patients find when they search. More importantly, it got me thinking about the doctor/patient relationship. It is clear that patients want to connect with their doctors. Doctors, however, seem more ambivalent about making such a connection. To some doctors, it is as if forming a connection will somehow undermine the traditional relationship which is best kept as formal, paternalistic, and standoffish. We are running our practices the same way they were run 30 years ago. This is a terrible mistake.

I believe I can gain more by giving, learn more by listening, and influence more by connecting.

1. Doctors should focus on connecting with patients.
The world has changed. Most other businesses have changed. Every physician should have his or her own website which patients can easily access. If the physician boldly puts his or her personality and philosophy out there for scrutiny, there will be some who like what they see and some who don't, but the patients who make appointments and ultimately come in to the office will have more productive experiences.

2. Doctors should provide content.
Consumers want content when they do research. Consumers of health care are no different. The best way to advertise is not to yell about how great you are, but simply, to teach. Patients are attracted to content, and particularly, to how the content is presented. You don't have to tell consumers of your value, when you can provide them with content of value.

3. Doctors should embrace social media.
Most doctors pride themselves in getting patients from word-of-mouth. This has always been considered the most desirable method of growing a practice. But word-of-mouth is not as useful as it has been traditionally considered.

Think about researching a restaurant. What is more likely to draw you to a particular restaurant: hearing from several arbitrary people that it is great or not only hearing from these several arbitrary people, but hearing from some specific people who have a track record of making good suggestions about restaurants and also having access to the menu, the restaurant's philosophy on cleanliness and the rigor with which food is selected and procured?

Social media is more than simple word-of-mouth. It enables patients to access meaningful opinions, and then make informed decisions about doctors' practices. Social media gives physicians the opportunity to help empower patients. If a doctor does not embrace this burgeoning technology, his or her prospective patients will end up elsewhere.


No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

The Internet of Things: The Reality of Connected Healthcare

The Internet of Things: The Reality of Connected Healthcare | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

The Internet of Things, the idea that everything will someday be totally connected, is no longer a Jetson’s era fantasy. It’s becoming closer to a reality in healthcare.

We’ve discussed IoT in healthcare and what its impact could be, but what would that look like? How can healthcare be ready for this total connectivity? Most importantly, how will IoT be able to increase the efficiency of the system benefiting both practitioner and patient alike?

Increased Efficiency

Forbes discusses how IoT will be able to increase efficiency in healthcare in multiple ways. As the capabilities of devices enhance, issues can be solved remotely as well as more effectively. Further, when there are issues with devices or supplies need to be refilled, the devices will be able to sound the alarm, and the issue can be dealt with proactively. What this comes down to is that machines will be better able to regulate themselves, and this data can then continue to be used to increase efficiency of processes. Companies with connected devices are already seeing results as to how cost-effective this can be.

Effective Patient Data

How can connected devices support patients? Through data. If we think of Wearables as part of personal IoT, and the health data that Wearables can provide, we know how the data alone can benefit patients.There are many other devices that can be implemented to employ beneficial data. For example, some hospitals have begun to use smart beds, alerting nurses when patients are trying to get up, or the bed itself can help patients get up using varying pressure and support. Devices can even help patients once they leave the hospital like smart pill bottles that know when a prescription needs to be refilled or a patient hasn’t take their medicine.

Utilizing Connectivity

Greater connectivity will become apparent with these new devices, but how can these technologies be incorporated into everyday practices? Take for example Google Glass. Pierre Theodore, MD talks about the possibilities that Google Glass can provide for the doctor as opposed to the consumer. As a doctor you could use a device like Google Glass, or even simply a mobile device, to aid your practice with quick access to patient information, scheduling, and all other data connected to the cloud. This is just one way that the increased connectivity that IoT allows can be utilized.

While achieving total connectivity will require changes to the system, we are beginning to see a shift already, and the privacy and security of this data must also be prioritized. But it is clear that once devices are fully connected in the cloud, collecting data from sensors and intelligent devices, improvements can be made to healthcare. Efficiency will be increased, costs will be driven down, practitioners will have an easier time doing their job and in the end, patients will have a more valuable healthcare experience. How do you see IoT affecting healthcare?


No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Pearls for Improving Your Online Reputation

Pearls for Improving Your Online Reputation | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

The Internet has leveled the information playing field, allowing all members of society access to information about their doctors and their health care. Data reported by Credential Protection indicate that specific doctor names are searched dozens of times to over 50 times daily by patients. Often, patients book surgery with a surgeon and then research the doctor after the appointment.


For medicine, the impact of the telecommunication revolution has been profound. What patients find through Google searches and on social media and online review sites can influence the doctor-patient relationship.


Maintaining a successful online reputation requires three basic components: patient capture, patient engagement, and patient retainment. If all of these components are not strong, doctors will lose patients. If patients cannot find you on the Internet, then from their point of view you do not exist, and you fail to capture those patients. If patients do not feel engaged on social media, then you may not be interesting enough for those patients to seek your care. If patients see bad online reviews, then a tarnished online reputation will drive those patients away. In the digital age, doctors must develop a strong online reputation through these three online components.


Because of the ongoing telecommunications evolution, marketing through the Internet, social media, and doctor- review websites is becoming more cost-effective than traditional advertising modalities such as phonebooks, newspapers, magazine, radio, and television. Online review sites such as Yelp! and Angie’s List have become well-known and serve as a new type of word-of-mouth marketing in the digital age. These sites allow users to leave comments about their customer service experiences, products they have purchased, and other information for other people who may be looking for such advice.


Physicians and their practices are not exempt from these online reviews. Sites that allow patients to talk about their experiences at the doctor’s office and recommend (or not recommend) the practice can be helpful or harmful. Glowing reviews can attract new patients. However, negative or unjust reviews posted by competing doctors or disgruntled patients can affect a doctor’s business and professional reputation, potentially leading to lost patients.


Most current online review sites are unsatisfactory because anyone with a valid e-mail account can leave reviews anonymously. Online review websites that depend mainly on advertising dollars often look unprofessional and may even place competitors’ ads alongside doctors’ profiles. Dealing with slanderous or false reviews can be frustrating and time-consuming.


Unfortunately, I have been a victim of slanderous online reviews. After graduating high school, I devoted 17 years of my life studying to become a physician and surgeon, attaining medical and doctoral degrees at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. I have a distinguished curriculum vitae and have dedicated much of my adult life to serving patients in a professional and ethical manner. One day after the grand opening of my private practice, I was attacked online by an anonymous poster who called me a “money grubber” on a third-party online review site. Most likely I was the victim of a competing doctor or disgruntled associate, although I may never know. This insult was applied to me even though I have spent considerable time seeing patients at the Temecula-Murrieta Rescue Mission at no charge, not billing the patients, and giving glasses away at no cost for those who cannot afford them.


You see, therefore, why I say most current online review sites are unregulated and severely unjust, and they can have horrible consequences for doctors. Online review websites are natural magnets for negative reviews. An outstanding doctor who never has angered one patient may receive no positive reviews, but angry patients can be quick to slander their doctors.


The current state of online reviews may make doctors feel helpless, angry, and frustrated. However, there are seven high-impact things you can do to be proactive and fight against defamation of your name, your reputation, and your credentials.


No. 1: Perform reconnaissance. The first step in fighting the war against slanderous reviews is to be educated on what people find when searching your name. Search your name on Google and see what others will see when searching your name. Monitor the websites that appear on the first page of Google. Use Google Alerts to receive automated emails from Google when there is new information about your name on the Internet. Monitor your online presence often.


No. 2: Erect a brick wall. In search engine management, the term brick wall is applied to a technique used to control the presentation of websites people find when searching your name. When patients search “Andrew Doan” on Google, of the more than 17 million search results, I control and monitor the 9 or 10 websites that appear on the first page of the search. Controlling what people find in this way can draw attention away from less-credible doctor-review sites.


No. 3: Use search engine optimization and management. The use of search engine optimization and management can help raise the websites you want to appear higher in search results. One effective way to accomplish this is to add your practice website address to all social media profiles, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.


In addition, using social media websites such as Facebook can be an effective way to guide patients to your practice and to engage them in a controlled environment. Patients who “like” or comment on your page are helping you broadcast your practice to their personal connections. This is one form of word-of-mouth marketing in the digital age.


No. 4: Be a good, ethical medical professional. This sounds like common sense, but medical professionals may come to feel entitled and forget that being a good doctor means serving other people. Try to serve others with a caring heart, but without expecting anything in return. Remember that it is a privilege to work in the medical

profession and to be employed during these difficult economic times. Learn to love what you do. Unhappy medical professionals will foster unhappy patients, leading to bad online reviews.


No. 5: Encourage patients to post feedback online. Receiving positive reviews is as easy as asking patients to review your services online. The problem is that there are dozens of review websites, and only a fraction of patients will take the time spontaneously to post reviews online. If you don’t ask, most likely patients will not post reviews for you.


No. 6: The solution to pollution is dilution. Negative reviews are not necessarily bad. We all want to be perfect, but in reality nobody is perfect. A study by researchers at the Stanford Graduate School of Business found that in some cases negative publicity can increase sales when a product or company is relatively unknown, simply because it stimulates product awareness.1 Embrace the negative reviews, learn from them, and become a better doctor tomorrow than you were today.


Unfortunately, not all review websites represent true patient reviews; they may be postings by local competitors or slanderous individuals. The solution to negative reviews is not litigation or gag orders, which may expose one to ligation for violating free speech laws, as was seen in a case involving a New York dentist.2 Also, posting of false testimonials to one’s own practice can lead to loss of medical license and a large monetary fine, as occurred in the case of a New York plastic surgeon in 2009.3


The answer to negative reviews is to learn from the review and then accumulate more positive than negative reviews.


No. 7: Encourage the posting of third-party verified reviews. Work with a third-party organization, such as Verified Reviews, that will collect, process, and post reviews on your behalf. One answer to the current review system that naturally attracts negative reviews is to have a credible organization collect, verify, and post reviews to protect both doctor and patients.


First-mover advantage—a marketing term meaning the advantage gained by being the first to take advantage of a particular market segment—is important when encouraging patients to review your medical and professional services. First-mover advantage allows a doctor to accumulate more reviews than the competition.


When patients search for doctors on the Internet, the two most influential factors are the star rating and the number of reviews for a doctor; the higher the star rating and the greater the number of reviews, the greater the competence and value conveyed to patients.

CONCLUSION

The advancement and evolution of information technology is exciting, but it also presents new challenges for physicians and patients. Many patients prefer Internet resources and are likely to use online resources as their primary reference, including searching for, finding, and reviewing doctors. Your online reputation rests in their hands. The advice in this article may help return some of that control to your own.

No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Physician Online Reputation Management Strategies

Physician Online Reputation Management Strategies | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

In today’s world, where information can be shared and exchanged freely and with virtually no filter, people are looking increasingly towards the internet for advice on a number of things, from what to wear, to which sports teams they should bet on and even to what doctors they should and shouldn’t be going to.


And while the fact that information like prices, plans, insurance policies and such are available online is certainly a good thing, as people can easily find adequate and convenient treatment for almost any condition, it also means doctors are subject to a lot of evaluations, which are often subjective and not necessarily backed by fact.

Most online reviews, whatever their subject is, tend to be quite short and to the point, and usually not very elaborate. In fact, most of the times, online reviewers on websites like Amazon and eBay stick to just ratings, not even adding a comment. The same kind of trend has been observed for those websites which rate doctors, with most comments proving to be either excessively positive or negative – either way, not particularly helpful.


In a scenario like this, any doctor may get a very bad rating, or a very vague unfavorable review just for taking too long to assist a patient, looking at someone’s girlfriend or any other reason, but since the comment is vague, or there is no comment at all, these ratings may cause huge damage on a medical professional’s career when such damage was unwarranted.


This means doctors need to be extra careful with their reputations these days. They need to not only tick all the right boxes’ both professionally and socially speaking, but they must also go beyond that and be a part of a whole which is as close as possible to perfect – offering the best rates, most competitive plans and accommodation conditions for in-patients.


Furthermore, they need to have a positive social media presence, and possibly even a completely squeaky clean’ life, so that patients can’t find anything which could be perceived negatively about them, and feel safe when leaving their lives in these physicians’ hands.


It may seem unfair to be held to such an unbelievably high standard, but this is the result of the modern social media culture, which was partially molded by celebrity. The only way to stay afloat is to play the game, taking stock of what is actually being said, taking advantage of the good and learning meaningful lessons from negative comments, if at all possible.


However, it all starts in the examination room, so even before you consider your online profile, it is a good idea for doctors to look at the way they behave in their professional setting, and how patients react. While negative comments can stem from just about anything, a number of them is fueled by the sense of being mistreated or disrespected, so taking a few more minutes to listen to patients properly and try to empathize can make all the difference.


And even if these professionals think their capabilities and career speak for themselves, they shouldn’t let them. Instead, they should be proactive, making sure all the information available about them is correct, and creating their own content, even replying to comments made about them in a positive and reassuring manner, so as to counteract any possible damage.


Above all, every doctor should remember that reputations aren’t set in stone. They take years to build and minutes to destroy.

No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Managing online reputation for dentists

Managing online reputation for dentists | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

The Internet has become the ultimate symbol of an individual’s right to information and freedom of expression. As a result, there is plenty of good information available on the Internet regarding doctors and dentists. However, along with the good information, there is also the risk of misinformation and negative biases finding its way to the World Wide Web.


The very nature of the Internet ensures so much freedom for every individual that it becomes difficult for dentists to control and manage their professional reputations online. The number of rankings or ratings websites have also increased, and some are focused exclusively on physicians. While these websites present an opportunity for dentists to promote their practices through word of mouth publicity, they also pose the risk of creating unfairly negative pinions against them.


Types of ratings websites


Doctor and dentist rating websites can be broadly classified into four categories. The first is the no-fee sites that offer free information to patients about the listed doctors. Some of these sites earn their revenue through advertising, while others charge a fee to the listed doctors. From a dentist’s perspective, it is relatively easy to control information on such a website because there is a financial tie-up between the site and the practitioner.


The second category of websites are the ones that have no relationship with the doctors, but charge patients a fee for privileged access to information about doctors. Dentists can exercise little or no control over the views and reviews that the website chooses to publish about a practice.


The third category includes insurance company websites, which have doctor reference sections, and the companies give their own ratings to the listed doctors.


The final category includes government-controlled websites that provide information about doctors licensed in the states.


How are ratings determined?


Doctor and dentist rating websites usually follow one of three approaches to develop rankings or ratings. The first involves the use of an algorithm or formula that attaches different weights to different sets of credentials of the doctor, such as education, experience, and any special training. Some sites may differentiate on the basis of the type of dental school a dentist attended. If the doctor has settled a malpractice suit out of court, some sites may consider this as grounds to attach lesser weight to the doctor.


The second approach to determine ratings involves feedback from patients. The website will invite patients to rate their doctors on various parameters. Average ratings for a doctor are then computed on the basis of the patient feedback.


The third approach is a hybrid of the first two, which is a more comprehensive way to develop ratings. However, rating a dentist still remains a highly subjective area because the opinions vary widely from patient to patient. That makes this entire system of online ratings inherently controversial.

Proactive online reputation management


From a practicing dentist’s point of view, it makes a lot of sense to be proactive in protecting and managing his or her online reputation. A growing number of patients are inclined to check out a doctor’s background on the Internet, and it may become an important factor in their decision to choose a doctor. The first challenge for a doctor is to ensure that the ratings and review websites maintain the latest information about the doctor’s practice. Most such sites do not have a system to ask for such updates, and the sites expect the listed doctors to provide updates on their own.


Patients may get mixed up when two or more doctors have the same or similar names. It may lead to misplaced patient reviews and ratings. Sometimes a particular patient may have made an unfair, false, or incorrect accusation, which can be countered only if the doctor takes care to tell his side of the story. Apart from damage control in such instances, dentists should also reach out to ratings and review sites to provide accurate facts so that the chances of misinformation are minimized.


Challenges of anonymous ratings


The Internet offers a great deal of anonymity, which can be misused to make irresponsible, incorrect, or false statements online, without any fear of being held accountable. Many individuals operate under pseudonyms on the Internet. So while they can hide their identity and protect their reputation, they can potentially jeopardize the reputation of a dentist or other professional online. To tackle this challenge, Google Plus has taken the initiative and revoked the ability of users to post reviews anonymously, or even pseudonymously.


While this kind of restriction is a welcome step for most businesses and professions, it poses another unique problem in the area of health care. Patients are usually willing to be most candid when their privacy is protected. Less than 5% of patients willingly give out their full names when providing feedback about a doctor online. Therefore, restriction of their privacy is a dilemma that may discourage patients from providing reviews and ratings about doctors and dentists on respected forums such as Google Plus.

Hire online reputation management experts


Dental practitioners who are looking to grow and expand their practices in their area can no longer afford to ignore the marketing power of the Internet. They should have a professional and dynamic website that creates an outstanding image for the dentist and practice. Secondly, such a website needs to be promoted professionally so that it achieves high rankings on all search engines, which allows the maximum number of local patients to reach the website. Thirdly, the dentist must be able to protect his or her reputation on third party websites on the Internet.


All these tasks can be performed efficiently and cost-effectively with the help of a professional SEO and online reputation management services provider. With the support of recognized experts in this area, it is possible to build an impeccable online reputation for a dentist, while following the highest ethical and professional standards.

It takes years to build an online reputation, and it can take one bad review that goes viral on the Internet to tear it down. With the growing influence of the World Wide Web in our lives, it is a smart move for practicing dentists to take the steps to build and protect their professional reputation online.

No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

PAs and Malpractice Risks: A PA's Perspective

PAs and Malpractice Risks: A PA's Perspective | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

I occasionally get questions from physician colleagues that highlight the confusion some physicians have about practicing medicine in teams with PAs, and the concerns many of them have regarding the malpractice risks associated with the PAs on these teams.

These are valid questions and concerns and, given that more PAs are practicing in teams with physicians and many have a significant level of autonomy in delivering care, I am encountering such questions and concerns more frequently than in the past.

Here's how I respond to such questions, and some guidance I have for physicians who are working with PAs, or considering doing so.


Do Your Homework


It behooves the physician working with a PA to vet the PA well to understand the training, experience, and capability of the individual PA. Physicians should keep in mind that a PA's capabilities may vary depending on experience. A new PA graduate in his first job requires a much more hands-on approach to team practice than a PA who has been practicing in that particular specialty for 10 years to 20 years.

While the main reason for vetting the PA is just good, responsible patient care, the secondary reason is that the physician is responsible for the care of each patient that the PA treats, whether the physician is aware of this patient or not.


In other words, when a PA is practicing medicine, he is the “agent” of the physician. This means that the actions and orders of the PA are considered the same as if the physician took the action or made the order.


Consider the Benefits


I have heard some physicians use malpractice risks as a reason to not work with PAs. I always counter with the “two heads are better than one” argument when it comes to caring for patients.

A more important argument is that historical data shows that PAs are sued at a much lower rate than physicians, and, when they are sued, the awards and settlements are much smaller than for cases involving physicians.


One of the maxims one of my physician colleagues taught me many years ago is that when your patients like you, they are much less likely to sue you and much more readily willing to forgive medical errors and subsequent injury. This is an area where I think that PAs really add value to a practice.


My physician partner and I have a robust plastic and reconstructive surgery practice. He is extremely busy and covers two hospitals. I am able to interact with our patients in a more timely and less harried manner; I handle the never-ending and sometimes overwhelming administrative burdens associated with a hospital-based practice; I give the patients validation for their questions and concerns; and I “triage” those concerns to determine which issues my surgeon needs to deal with directly.


Patients see usas a team and a united front. We both take time to get to know our patients, and address their concerns. I extend that ethos and capability to a level that I know increases patient satisfaction because our patients continually tell us so.


The bottom line is that if a physician does due diligence, he can confidently work in teams with PAs and other providers, and enhance the overall safety and effectiveness of the practice while at the same time reducing the liability risk to the team.

Guidance for Physicians working with PAs

Here's what physicians working with PAs should focus on to minimize their risks and maximize the benefits: 

  • Know the skills, experience, and training of the PA. This should determine how much you interact with the PA and how much autonomy she receives.
  • Discuss clear guidelines for managing difficult patient problems, so that everyone on the team is on the same page.
  • Be available and approachable for interactions on patient care questions and concerns. This intuitively makes sense and is the basis for my belief that two heads are in fact better than one when it comes to patient care.
  • Document the actual interaction/consultation you have with the PA. Given the ease at which these interactions can be documented in this day and age, there is no excuse for not documenting on the patient chart  all the team consultations that occur. My in-house H&Ps, as well as my consultations, always include documentation of my interaction with my surgeon, when it occurs.


No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Marketing Your Practice Online

Marketing Your Practice Online | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

In previous years the conversation around marketing your medical practice centered on "Should I market my practice?" and "How much should I spend on marketing my practice?" Which then evolved into "Should I be online?" and "Is Facebook or social media really necessary to market my practice?"

Not anymore.


The conversation is now "How much time and money should I invest in online marketing?" It is now accepted that online marketing is not just an option for practices any longer; it is something they must do to attract new patients and stay competitive.


Determining cost


When determining a budget for your online marketing, it is best to start with the end in mind. Begin by looking at what your goals are for your online marketing program. I think it's best to frame them within short-term and long-term scenarios.

Here are some examples to get your creative wheels turning:

In 90 days, I would like to see an established and engaged audience of X number of people.

In 120 days, I would like to see my audience at X number, and receive X new patients per month from online efforts.

Once you have your goals set, you can determine the cost to achieve them. There are a number of factors to consider when determining the cost:


• Where does your ideal patient hang out?


Hint: Almost all practices should start with a website and Facebook.


• Who is managing the online effort — in-house vs. an outside firm?


There are many different levels of service available; from assistance with in-house efforts to complete outside management.


• What is the cost to reach your ideal patients?


Do you want to reach the 22-year-old diabetic patient in Boise, Idaho? You can, and often times for pennies. If you want to make your message more specific, it may cost a little more or less depending on the characteristics you seek?


• How will you stay in touch?


All of these variables, and many more, factor into what kind of investment you will need to make to reach the patients you want to see.

Compare these figures to what a single patient is worth to your practice to calculate how much time and money you should invest in online marketing efforts.

No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Is Top-Down Management Right for Your Medical Practice?

Is Top-Down Management Right for Your Medical Practice? | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

In order for your practice to run smoothly you need more than excellent medical skills. Because as much as your priority is to provide exceptional care for your patients, there are other vital components you must master to ensure the successful operation of the corporate elements of your practice. These include effectively managing your staff and efficiently monetizing your business. After all, if your business can't thrive, neither can your patients.

Most doctors don't have the training or the time to double as human resource and financial experts. That's why some medical practices can benefit from establishing a unique co-management structure rather than relying on a traditional top-down management style.

Unless you intend to earn an MBA, you may want to consider instituting one of these three simple geometric-themed alternatives for enhancing the functionality of your day-to-day business operations:

1. Round Management

Imagine a bicycle wheel. In this management model, which works well for a sizeable practice with a multidisciplinary team, your patients are at the center of the wheel, the hub. They are the reason you have a business at all. Every member of your team symbolizes one of the spokes, and each of them has a unique duty to perform that will add to the health of either your patients or your business. Because you are both the doctor and the business owner, your role is twofold. First, as the business owner, you act as the rim of the wheel; the person responsible for holding everything together by overseeing the professionalism of your staff and the economic success of your practice. Second, as the doctor, you are in the position of being the axle, which supports the hub (your patients), the spokes (your team), and the rim (your business). If you are out of alignment, your business will be out of alignment as well.

2. Triangle Management

Ideal for midsized practices, this three-pronged management approach includes a people manager, a financial manager, and a medical manager. In addition to handling conflicts and complaints, the people manager directs human resources — including hiring, firing, training, and scheduling. This person is also responsible for developing and maintaining patient relationships, and for the implementation and execution of office policies and principles. The financial manager is in charge of fiscal accountability, supplies, and payroll. The medical manager, who is usually the physician who owns the practice, is the in-house authority on medical practices, procedures, and records. The managing physician also has the final say on conflict resolutions, financial decisions, and corporate operations. The system usually works well because it provides clearly defined roles and responsibilities, multiple perspectives, and a variety of advisers who have specific areas of expertise.

3. Spiral Management

This is the most fluid and flexible mode of management because it offers minimal pecking order and maximal independence. Spiral management is perfectly suited for practices with one or two physicians and a small number of auxiliary staff. The success of this model relies heavily on mutual trust, teamwork, and open communication. Naturally, patients are the center point of the spiral, with physicians, support personnel, and administrative staff surrounding them in varying rings of care. No matter what their role is, people working in these practices generally have a vested interest in the success of the business because they enjoy the autonomy that the spiral management system provides. It is not uncommon for business owners who believe in this style of management to offer financial, educational, and scheduling assistance to their staff because they value the return they see on such investments.

Top-down management has certainly been proven to work well in many circumstances. But if you're looking for a more unconventional style, you may want to try a new angle.


No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Why You Should Have a Dress-Code Policy in Your Medical Practice

Why You Should Have a Dress-Code Policy in Your Medical Practice | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

During a meeting this week, I decided it was time to touch on the practice's dress-code policy. This policy should be reviewed about once a year. I had heard from some of the front-office staff members that patients were making potentially inappropriate comments about their clothing, such as, "That shirt looks really nice on you," and "You have great legs, you must work out."

Although these comments may seem harmless to some, they can be the cause for all sorts of disasters (for both staff members and the practice) — especially if management had been approached. It is your responsibility to protect your employees from patients who choose to verbalize thoughts that should be kept to themselves. Having a solid dress-code policy in place is your first line of defense.

If you are not sure where to start, or what to include in your dress-code policy, here are some ideas:

• Employees are expected to dress in an appropriate, professional manner that portrays an image of confidence and security for patients. Cleanliness and neatness are absolutely necessary at all times. Distracting themes in appearance or dress, low-cut clothing, exposed midriff, evening wear, or sheer clothing are unacceptable.

• Clinical staff will wear collared shirts or scrubs, non-denim slacks, and closed-toed, non-sneaker shoes. A nametag will be worn if the name is not embroidered on the company shirt/scrubs.

• Front-office staff should dress in "business casual." They are required to wear nametags or company shirts. As stated above, distracting items in appearance or dress, low-cut clothing, exposed midriff, evening wear, T-shirts, or sheer clothing are unacceptable. Business-like open-toed shoes may be worn, not to include flip-flops or beach sandals.

• (Your practice name) and its directors reserve the right to ask employees who are not dressed in what is deemed a clean and professional manner to change their attire. Failure to comply with the policy will result in being sent home without pay. Further infraction will result in written disciplinary action as decided by the directors.

• Appearance and perception play a key role in patient service. The goal is to be dressed professionally; any employee with body art must ensure that it is covered at all times.

There is a time and place to express staff members' personality, and the workplace should not be that location. If employees follow these types of guidelines and patients still make inappropriate comments, take the offending patient aside, privately, and share your concerns about inappropriate conversation.

It's also important to note that if nine out of 10 employees follow the dress-code policy, and you have one outlier, taking that employee aside and reviewing your policy in a private conversation is much more appropriate than including the entire staff.

The dress-code policy is in place not only to protect your staff, but also to protect your practice. Comments made by patients can be construed by staff as sexual harassment, and contribute to a "threatening work environment." It is up to you to make sure these types of scenarios never happen. In the event they do, have a solid dress-code policy to land back on.


No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Pay doctors and nurses for the time they spend charting

I have a unique perspective as a physician. Having traveled to many hospitals in the past two years, working as a locums emergency physician, I can comment on a variety of issues with a reasonable amount of experience.

One of those issues is EMR, or electronic medical records. I have spent plenty of time writing about this in the past, and I will continue to do so. Because all across the country the same problems, the same frustrations are evident. And the institutional lack of concern is well-entrenched and well understood by everyone affected.Whether working in an academic teaching/trauma center or a small community department, one theme emerges.


EMR is so inefficient, and patient volumes and acuity so high, that charting isn’t done real-time. Unless it is accomplished with scribes, or by dictation, doctors stay after their shifts, or chart from home, or come in on their days off in order to complete their documentation. Needless to say, this is unlikely to create the best possible chart. Not only is this true, I have watched as nurses sat for one to two hours after their busy ED shifts, catching up on the ever increasing documentation requirements in their EMR systems.

Weary from a long day or long night, they sift through notes and charts, orders and code blue records, trying to reassemble some vague estimation of what happened in the chaos of their 8 or 12 hours on shift, when they were expected to function simultaneously as life-savers and data-entry clerks. Further, the nurses are frequently tasked with entering specific charges for billing as well. It all constitutes an unholy combination for any clinician.

Dear friends, colleagues, Romans, countrymen; dear politicians and administrators, programmers and thought leaders, this is unacceptable. Entirely unacceptable. If the charting system is so poorly designed, and so counter-intuitive to the work we do that it can’t be used real-time, then it should be replaced with something far better. And if it isn’t replaced, then everyone needs a scribe to chart for him or her, or we should allow dictation all around. And if none of that is acceptable, if even those reasonable options are rejected, then every nurse and every physician who stays after shift should be paid their regular hourly rate for time spent charting.

The thing is, these systems are generally not the idea of the clinicians who are saddled with them. They are imposed by corporations and administrators who believe the salesmen and hope to capture more billing and data. They are imposed by the meaningful use regulations of the federal government. But as a rule, when we clinicians say a system is bad, or won’t work for us, we are patted on the head and dismissed.

“It’s fine, it’s an industry standard. You can learn to use it. You don’t want to be a problem doctor do you?”

One of my friends is in a group shopping for new systems. When his partner asked to take the potential EMR for a test drive, the salesman said, “Sure, as soon as you sign the contract.” Pathetic. I call on everyone involved in implementation of EMR to find the simplest, most physician and nurse friendly systems possible. And to do it by asking and involving the end user. By which I mean those who provide patient care, not those who cull through it for billing and documentation. Some people chart more slowly than others. That can be an individual issue.

But when a system consistently causes good, efficient doctors, nurses, NPs and PAs to stay long past their shifts, or come in on days off, or chart from their homes (which should be places of recuperation and rest), then we need to give them something back. Equally toxic, some physicians and nurses can only get out in time by charting in a manner that results in a pages long list of checkboxes, rather than a descriptive, informative story.

America’s emergency departments are overwhelmed with passwords, required fields, clicks and key strokes, at the same time as they are overwhelmed with the sick and dying. They are the last safety net for the uninsured and underinsured. They are the point of rescue for the poor, the brutalized, the traumatized, the addicted, the psychotic. Day in and day out, nurses and physicians in emergency departments, indeed all over the modern hospital, do their best against sometimes overwhelming odds. In the midst of this, poor charting systems constitute a crushing blow.

Pay the staff for their time spent charting, or fix the systems. Or both. But something has to give.


No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

ICD-10 Testing Tips for Small Physician Practices

ICD-10 Testing Tips for Small Physician Practices | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Small physician practices of one to five doctors may find ICD-10 testing more challenging than bigger medical facilities. Luckily, the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) released a white paper last week that offers a comprehensive plan for small physician practices looking to begin ICD-10 testing.

The publication targets external testing with payers. Starting in October, payers will incorporate ICD-10 codes in payment decisions and coverage. By performing ICD-10 testing, medical offices will be ensuring that their claims will be appropriately processed once the new coding system is in place across the country.2014-10-02-WEDI

The white paper goes into detail about some of the risks that ICD-10 testing will minimize. The risks include:

1) Claim denials and claim delays associated with ICD-10 coding errors

2) Cash flow disruption

3) EHR and other software applications’ inability to produce ICD-10 claims

Small physician practices may be experiencing a number of challenges with regard to ICD-10 testing such as few testing opportunities with payers or clearinghouses due to limited number of testing spots, inadequate ICD-10 training available for staff, and scarce provider resources available on ICD-10 testing.

To overcome some of these common challenges, the white paper covers key steps a small physician practice will need to take. First, it is important to speak with your EHR vendor and confirm that all software products and applications are ICD-10 compliant.

Then, identify the payers that process the highest percentage of your claims and be sure to test ICD-10 readiness with your top payers. Work with your clearinghouse or billing service to see how they can assist with ICD-10 testing.

Be aware that some payers are creating web-based, self-service testing opportunities for small medical practices. After speaking with your clearinghouse, the next step to take is to seek more resources through payer ICD-10 websites and provider newsletters.

Confirm that what you need to test aligns with what your payer is testing so that every base is covered. While there is still time, be sure to contact Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to register for ICD-10 testing during the remaining testing weeks.

For those wondering the best time to test, be sure to set aside plenty of time before the October 1 implementation date to complete your ICD-10 testing. Before you begin testing, determine if your team and needed resources are ready. Additionally, it’s vital to confirm that all payers and other partners are also ready to start ICD-10 testing. Contact clearinghouses and billing services to find out when their testing sessions take place.

CMS, for instance, offers end-to-end testing on April 27 through May 1 and July 20 through July 24. For the July testing session, providers have until March 13 to sign up. Creating a timeline for your ICD-10 preparations would also be a worthy goal.

Once you’re ready to begin ICD-10 testing, follow the instructions received from the payer or billing service end. When incorporating the new codes, it is important to pay attention to qualifiers, headers, and other key format items.

After you have completed ICD-10 testing, be sure to review the results and compare the actual data to predicted information. Analyze both the successes and failures of your submissions. Additionally, work with your payers to understand any errors that may have occurred and develop strategies to prevent the issues from taking place in the near future.

If you are a small physician practice, follow these ICD-10 testing tips to minimize any risks after the implementation deadline.


No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

5 Medical Device Tips for Maximizing Your IP (Intellectual Property) Portfolio

5 Medical Device Tips for Maximizing Your IP (Intellectual Property) Portfolio | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

The world of medical devices is really fascinating. It’s a world that I think many hospitals know about and many more hospitals are starting to learn about as they grow some medical device innovations in house. With that in mind, I was really intrigued by a list I was emailed of 5 medical device IP tips from Frank Becking of Panthera MedTech.

  1. Control access to sensitive information: Don’t talk publicly about your idea before pursuing the necessary protection. Even with confidentiality agreements in place, until you have filed for a patent any disclosure risks your potential rights and future prospects.
  2. Make sure your company owns its intellectual property: This might seem obvious but it is easy to overlook key steps, like putting in place and enforcing agreements that ensure that work produced by employees and independent contractors becomes the property of the company. And making sure that those same contractors or employees do not have pre-existing, conflicting obligations to other parties. Work with legal counsel to ensure state law compliance of IP-related agreements, as some states restrict assignment and other scope.
  3. Don’t neglect country-by-country protection: IP protection opportunities differ around the globe. Select state-side IP counsel that has existing relationships with expert foreign counsel who can advise on how best to navigate international waters.
  4. Actively avoid third-party IP entanglement: Too often, corporate executives focus on the patentability of their own IP. Understanding and tracking 3rd party patents and the progress of their pending claims (i.e., handling questions of Freedom to Operate) often has a greater effect on corporate valuation. A startup with technology that infringes upon another company’s IP can be dead in the water. Design-around is very often an option, but usually represents a costly and time-consuming exercise that should be guided by experienced IP counsel.
  5. Formulate an IP enforcement strategy: It is important to monitor the market to ensure that your IP rights are not being infringed. However, the bigger question is often what a company should be done if it detects infringement. Venture-capital funded startups are notoriously averse to engaging in litigation. Sending a cease-and-desist letter can open the door for the noticed party taking the fight to you. Again, working closely with experienced IP counsel is key to understanding and pursuing your enforcement goals.

How many of your hospitals are dealing with these types of issues?


No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

How to Apologize for a Medical Error

How to Apologize for a Medical Error | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Apologizing to a patient when an error occurs is critical to reducing malpractice risks, says Sue Larsen, president and director of education at Astute Doctor Education, Inc. "They always say that anger and not injury is what drives a patient to sue, and everybody hates a cover up," she says. "So when something goes wrong and the physician goes missing, that's when the patient feels deserted and they suspect that something has gone wrong." Ultimately, Larsen says, that anger and the resulting broken relationship with the physician can propel the patient to sue.

Of course, apologizing for a medical error is not easy, and Larsen says how you say sorry is crucial. Make sure your apology is:

• Sincere;

• Empathetic; and

• Indicates mutual disappointment.

"As a doctor, you are disappointed in the outcome and you are sorry the patient is disappointed as well," says Larsen. "This isn't admitting fault, it just is a way of showing the patient that you care and that you understand."

Once you make the apology to the patient, emphasize that you are committed to ensuring this error will never happen again, and that you are going to follow up to determine why the error occurred.

Then, attend to the patient's immediate needs that you can address, says Larsen. "Avoiding the patient or deserting the patient is absolutely the worst thing you can do, and it's going to put you at a much higher risk of having a claim made against you."

To help you determine the right approach next time you need to make an apology, Larsen shared this example of the proper phrasing to use:

"I'm really sorry this has happened to you, it's obviously not the outcome that any of us would have liked to have seen. I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed that you have had to go through this. I know that you are feeling very upset and frustrated that this has happened and perhaps even quite angry, and I can understand that you'd be feeling that way. All I can do is say I'm sorry that you are in this situation and we are going to do everything we possibly can to try and understand the events leading up to this so that we can avoid it happening again. In the meantime, I'd like you to know that I am here for you, if there is anything I can do."


No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

DrChrono helps small medical practices use iPads for patient records

DrChrono helps small medical practices use iPads for patient records | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Michael Nusimow and Daniel Kivatinos were college friends at SUNY Stony Brook on Long Island. Then Michael went to work at Bloomberg, while Daniel studied further before joining New York startups. When Michael took his father to hospitals and doctors, he was frustrated by how inefficiently patient data was handled. In some cases, paper forms needed to be filled out repeatedly. At another site, a doctor had a terminal, but he was so busy typing he hardly had time to look at the patient. Despite recent improvements to document interchange standards, sharing data between different medical institutions can be difficult given incompatible systems, complicated workflows and privacy concerns.

So Michael and Daniel decided that doctors could perform much more effectively with a web-based system. Initially, they started by automating patient communications. Their system would remind people of appointments with text and email messages. Then they added billing and interfaces to existing financial systems, learning requirements as they visited small ambulatory doctors' practices. They launched DrChrono in 2009.
 
According to Black Book Rankings, in 2008, only 12% of office practices had even the most basic electronic health record (EHR) systems. By 2014, 51% of office-based practices were using a fully functional EHR systems, and 82% had basic electronic medical records.

In 2010, the iPad was launched. A tablet enables a doctor to face a patient while taking notes. Also in 2010, the government was moving to make Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems more open. So DrChrono decided to build an EHR system from scratch that would work on iPads. They launched their new system in 2010 at a Health 2.0 conference in Florida. It was an exciting time. Instead of struggling to sell a web-based system, Michael and Daniel closed deals at the conference as doctors enthusiastically saw the iPad's potential.

DrChrono applied to join Y Combinator's funding program, which Michael describe as being like "a startup's coming out ball". The program requires three months intense work in Silicon Valley. So Michael thought he would come to Silicon Valley for about six months. However, the experience was so transformative, that he started raising money and hiring employees in Mountain View. The company is currently based near 101 and Rengstorff.

DrChrono focuses on making small medical practices more efficient. The system manages forms securely, submits insurance claims, schedules patients, enables email correspondence, helps doctors manage inventory, transcribes medical notes, checks for drug interactions and handles prescriptions. The doctor can share diagnostic images, from X-rays, for example on an iPad with a patient.

Patients can download an app, On Patient, to track their health and share information with their doctor. It works on both Apple or Android platforms and is only useful if your doctor has the iPad DrChrono system. On iOS8 devices it works with Apple's HealthKit, that integrates information from other health-related apps and displays them using Apple's Health app. If you have a newer iPhone or iPad you might want to check that your fitness and health apps are set to share information with Apple Health.

The company is constantly looking for technologies that can help doctors and tried offering Google Glass. The display in the glasses was useful for certain types of doctors like surgeons, who need hands free information. In general, most doctors found tablets more useful. Wearable devices to track heart rates, exercise and more will transform the doctor/patient relationship as their output is fed into doctors' systems. Michael quoted Vinod Khosla who notes on his blog that over time 80% of what a doctor does can be replaced by smart hardware, software and testing, with technology also improving a doctor's ability to perform.

The Electronic Health Records space is crowded and fragmented. DrChrono started by bootstrapping and has been extraordinarily capital efficient, compared with San Francisco's Practice Fusion, which has raised $134M from investors that include Kleiner Perkins and other big name firms. With major companies like GE, McKesson and Quest Diagnostics in the market, and many fast growing startups chasing for market share, DrChrono is racing to hire software engineers and customer relations staff so it can keep ahead of the game.


No comment yet.