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These 5 States Are the Cheapest to Start A Medical Practice

Starting up your own medical practice is a big deal; you get to be your own boss and put those long, grueling hours of hard studying and clinicals to good use. But where do you start? Is there a wrong and a right way to do it? Where’s the money coming from? Don’t sweat it! Here’s a list of the cheapest states to start a medical practice in!

#5. Utah:

This is the most “expensive” on this entire list. Your license to practice fee is roughly $200, and the majority of the state is comprised of national parks, but that also means fewer competitors in the field.

#4. North Dakota:

Their overall cost of living is straddling the national average, and your median home will be upwards of $200,000. However, healthcare is cheap and the air quality is amazing. There are fewer doctors in North Dakota as well, which will increase your chances for more clients. Your license fee is about $200.

#3. Michigan:

Michigan as a whole is relatively cheap when you compare it to the national average; housing, if not on the waterfront, is easy to come by, as is affordable as healthcare. There are, however, a larger amount of taxes. Your license to practice will cost you approximately $151.50, but you’ll have it in a month or two. The average home cost is very similar to that of Missouri – which is featured later in this list.

#2. Wisconsin:

In the cheese state, obtaining your license will cost you no more than $75, with the average wait time is between eight (8) and twelve (12) weeks. Wisconsin rides the country average when it comes to renting and owning homes or buildings, but that’s for the state as a whole, and not individual cities. There is also a dense population, promising you a bigger client base.

#1. Missouri:

You’ll find that Missouri is your go-to state for affordability; not only is your license to practice going to cost you a mere $75 with a two (2) to three (3) week waiting period, but it’s one of the cheaper states when it comes to housing. In places like St. Louis, you might find higher prices, but lesser cities will definitely show you a difference. The median home price in Missouri is $156,000.

A good thing to remember is that, the closer you get to one of the coasts, the more expensive it’s going to be. Whether it pays for itself truly depends on your neighbors, the other doctors, and competition, as well as your staff, affordability, and bedside manner. You have the chance to be great — go do it!

Caring for Aging Patients in a Tech-Centered Practice

When you’re in the medical field, you see a vast variety of clientele walking through your practice doors. They can range from children to middle-aged adults all the way up to the elderly; and in most cases, it’s a great thing to have a wide range of individuals attracted to your health center. However, in a world run by technology, our medical practices and non-profits have no choice but to adapt to these changes if they want to keep their clients and reduce staff burn out. Most people are able to adapt along with us, but what about those who can’t? Our elderly patients might not have the time or the technological understanding to move along with the flow of things. So part of your job and your practice’s job is to help these patients keep up with their appointments and healthcare — because they’re some of the ones that need it the most. Here are some suggestions on how you can do that:

Given the elderly patient has access to the technology, show them how to navigate your Patient Portal. You might not have to show them every single detail; just enough to know where to find doctor information, appointments, and medications. More detailed material, such as test results, can be discussed in person.

Take time with your patient and have a conversation with them. The longer you spend with a patient, the more questions will be answered. Ideally, you would have in-depth, open conversations with all of your patients, but even if time is pressed, ensure extensive focus on providing key explanations to the elderly clientele.

Make follow up calls. Especially if you know the patient doesn’t have any family hanging around, make sure part of your staff follows up with them, checks on their reactions to medications, and just asks about their overall wellbeing.

Similar to the previous one: make appointment reminder phone calls in person, and not with an automated call. Technology is fantastic – and should definitely be utilized regardless of age – however, that doesn’t mean the “real life” touch should be thrown to the wayside… especially when dealing with elderly patients. Oftentimes, over the phone, patients will ask about their upcoming appointment or bring up new issues to discuss, and this could help steer the conversation the right way in the future.

The key is, when dealing with the elderly, to be exceptionally personable; take an extra minute or two with them, and see that they’re doing okay!

Is Your Practice Prepared for Modern Generations?

Today, we have an abundance of technological advantages that put people ahead. The modern generations are raised with the internet and mini computers in their hands, with access to thousands upon thousands of research and data. How many times have you seen a patient that has one issue, but worsened by something else because “the internet said they had such and such a disease?” It happens. As more and more technological advances make their way into society, it’s important to ask yourself if you and your practice are ready to adapt? Are you ready to answer questions backed by self-interpreted online research? How can you adapt? What can you do with all this new technology? There are many things, such as…

Patient portals. These are probably one of the biggest steps an office can take when adopting technology into their workspaces. These portals give the patients one-hundred percent (100%) access to their medical files the moment they are logged into the shared system. This cuts out the need for a patient to look up a symptom and make conclusions of their own, because they can e-mail the doctor directly with questions or to set up an appointment.

Telemedicine. This one is more beneficial for patients who aren’t able to get to the doctor in person. Telemedicine is when a doctor can call or video chat a patient and make evaluations, diagnoses, and offer treatments at a distance.

Shared networks. Something as simple as a prescription used to take extra time before there was a way to digitally send it to the pharmacy. Most doctors now have the ability to sit in the same room with a patient, talk about a medication, and send in a request to your chosen pharmacy in a flash. There’s no more gripping onto the piece of paper, trying to read the notorious “doctor handwriting”. Having a shared network is also easy when making referrals; they can also be done in a second, rather than burdening an administrator with phone calls that took away precious time from other patients.

Technology’s advancements don’t have to be a burden for medical professionals; utilize it to make your practice run more smoothly and efficiently!

Ways to Reduce and Prevent Physician Burnout

Our nation’s physcians face many different stressors and challenges that come along with the job. It’s imperitive that you, as a physician, keep yourself from burning out, because once you do, your work suffers, and ultimately, so do the patients that you have sworn to treat and protect. The Happy MD refers to “burnout” as an overdrawn bank account, which is probably the best way to put it; you’re taking away from physical, mental, and emotional accounts that are already empty. Work takes a toll on everyone’s reserves, but when your reach the point where you’re trying to convince yourself that feeling exhausted and cynical towards your job is something all doctors feel all the time, then consider that your big red flag. After that, you’ll reach the point where you feel like you’re barely hanging on, and that the tether that holds you to the job you’re dreading going to every morning is about to snap and send you wheeling through a black hole, and that’s when you’ve gone too far; you’ve reached the burnout zone. At this point, you don’t care as much as you’d like to, or should, and you’re probably far more bitter than you thought possible. Luckily, there are “cures” — or more like coping mechanisms — for this dreaded burnout, but note that these should be applied to your life consistantly, even if you’re not feeling those symptoms.

Cure #1: Be aware. It might take some practice, but once you realize that the stressors you’re experienceing are about to create negative emotions about your job, grab ahold of them, and practice techniques that can help you protect yourself and work through those emotions on the spot. Think of this as a defense — a shield.

Cure #2: Self care. The reason you get burnt out is because your mental, physical, and emotional accounts are empty, and you’re trying to use more of something that needs a rest. There are a lot of things that can fall under this category, and it all really just depends on what you feel needs to be cared for the most in that moment. Do you need more sleep? Get it. Do you need a night to yourself, or with a loved one? Do it. Don’t be afraid to give your body, mind, and soul what it wants. Remember that boundaries are part of keeping yourself sane.

Cure #3: Change. If you find yourself unable to help yourself with Cures 1 or 2, then remove yourself from the stressor. Reduce your hours, change the way you work, find a different position or job using the same skills, but with less stress.

There is absolutely no problem with getting help for burnout, especially in the medical field, where someone’s quality of life could depend on you and your decisions. Your team will understand, because they can’t afford a burn out doctor, either. Take care of yourself first, so you can take care of others. 

Why Online Portals for Your Patients Are So Important

Doctor visits and follow ups have come a long way in a short amount of time; the invention of and the increased accessibility to the internet has created a whole new world for medical professionals and their staff. Just a short fifteen years ago, we would have to wait for a call from the office to learn what a simple blood test result was, or have to make phone calls ourselves to make a follow up appointment. While there is no harm in phone calls, the patient portal has made things eaiser for a lot of people, and is now an important part of healthcare. Here’s why:

It’s convenient. A lot of people today don’t like making phone calls, or don’t have the time to do so, and the portal has completely eliminated the need to dial a phone. Anyone with an internet or data connection has the ability to access their portal for a various amount of things. This also gives people with some handicaps, disabilities, or mental illnesses a better sense of independence, as they don’t have to go through someone else to make an appointment. Many portals give you the ability to schedule yourself an appointment with a few clicks, or just send a message to your doctor if you have a question.

Everything is right there. There was a time when you had to wait until your next appointment — or a phone call — to know the results of a test, but with the portal, you have access to the results the scond they’re logged into the system. It won’t just be the “important” bits that the doctor tells you, it’s the whole test and even the graphs. Not only do you have the ability to see the results of your tests, but you have access to all of your medical records without having to dig through a collection of papers. So long as everything has been uploaded by your doctor, it should all be in one spot for you to pull up at any given moment. Most doctors will even allow multiple members of a family to be on one account, so you could look at the same history, results, and visit summaries for your child, parent, or partner.

You have access to all of the practice’s doctors. Most patient portals will have a list of doctors with different areas of study, and oftentimes, when your doctor makes a referal, it goes through that portal and instantly contacts the referred doctor. There is also a list of which insurances will cover what you need done.

The patient portal has given people the ability to climb out of the backseat, and into the front passenger one; they get to help navigate their own healthcare, and nothing is ever left out. This brings the patients and doctors closer together, for an all-around better experience, and better quality of life for everyone.

Visit Practice Management at the 2019 FACHC Annual Conference

The 2019 FACHC Annual Conference kicks off later this month, July 21st – 24th, 2019. The conference takes place at the beautiful Marriott Harbor Beach in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Hosted by the Florida Association of Community Health Centers, the annual conference aims to bring together key partners within the healthcare industry and provide updates in education and modern trends to improve access and quality of care for patients seeking health services. We are happy to announce that we will be tabling at booth #305 – if you will be in attendance, feel free to stop by during exhibiting sessions.

The overall agenda includes an exhibit hall, roundtable discussions, open panel discussions, networking opportunities and immersive sessions. The first night offers the chance for attendees to settle in and mingle with a reception in the ballroom foyer – then the activities launch the following morning at 8am with breakfast and an open-to-explore exhibit hall. Throughout the conference, the sessions will be taking place amidst the activities – and definitely shouldn’t be missed.

One session includes a discussion from CEOs who took a hit from category 5 Hurricane Michael and how they prepared for the disaster – as well as recovered in the aftermath. Another session covers your questions regarding PBMs, including its context within the healthcare industry and how they impact FHQCs. Additional sessions cover embracing telemedicine, avoiding pitfalls in administration, laws in human resources, the new OSV manual and much more.

Packed with important information and inspiring ideas, this conference should be marked on your “must-attend” list – as the combination of fantastic educational segments and networking opportunities will surely benefit any individual within the FQHC industry.

If you will be attending the 2019 FACHC Annual Conference, make sure to stop by Practice Management’s booth #305.

Why a Patient-Centric Approach is Imperative for Your Practice

It’s something that is pretty common knowledge for many healthcare providers: the only one who knows exactly what the patient is feeling or experiencing is the patient. They are just relaying the information to you in hopes that you can help and/or treat them. However, there are different approaches that medical practitioners take, and some aren’t always patient-focused. That is why it’s important to do your research and figure out which practices are patient-centric. What does that mean? Well, for the patient, it means that their voices are heard.

So, why is a patient-centric approach so important?

The patient gets it all. Or, in other words, the patient and the practitioner form a partnership that will benefit the both of them by making the best decision healthcare-wise as a team. This may mean that there is proper and extensive education given to the patient about a condition or a procedure, or even a tightly-knit support system built up of community and staff members. The patient learns a lot along the way about their own health and how to better their healthcare, which may even ultimately lead to less doctor visits in the future! The more they know, the better they will care for themselves and lead a better quality of life. It might even boost the patient’s moral outside of the office, as the open discussion tactic teaches them to express themselves clearly and fight for what they deserve.

For the practitioner and the staff, working alongside your patient is actually cheaper in the long run. You aren’t doing a long list of tests to determine what the next step is, you’re just having a conversation with your patient. This means better, more accurate decisions regarding the patient’s healthcare. Putting these patients’ needs and listening to their complaints and desires not only helps you grow as a medical professional, but also gives you a competitive advantage; this is what the people want. They want to be heard, to be part of their own healthcare process because it’s their healthcare for their bodies. Your patients will be so happy, they’ll throw out referrals like it’s rice on a wedding day. Their satisfaction will skyrocket, and so will yours, as their doctor or nurse.

Healthcare isn’t just about treating people, it’s about hearing their cries for help and listening to their stories so you can understand and work with them, to create a super-treatment that will keep them healthier, happier, and wiser. At the core, isn’t that what you initially went to medical school for?

Practice Management FQHC Quick Tips 6.25

Having measures like data loss detection is vital when protecting health information. Without them it’s akin to leaving your front door open in an unsafe neighborhood. Eventually something is going to get stolen.

If your staff feels as if they are being pulled in one million directions at once, it’s probably a good time to investigate outsourcing some of your tasks.

At Practice Management we are extremely serious about securing Protected Health Information (PHI) and Electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI). That’s why we implement the most stringent safeguards.

All it takes is one weak point for a cyber criminal to breach your defenses and gather sensitive data from your files. One lapse from one employee can be extremely costly.

Another plus, you can stay up on reviews and respond to inquiries. Keeping up with your online reputation in our modern market is crucial.

Creating the Right Ambiance in your Practice’s Waiting Room

Does your waiting room add a calming vibe to your medical practice? Specifically, for your patients? The waiting room is your patient’s first impression of your practice. If your waiting room looks like it’s not taken care of, then how will your patients trust you’ll give them the best care in the examination room? Spruce up your waiting room with these tips, and your patients will feel relaxed and less worried for their next appointment!

  1. Greet your patients!

The easiest way to step up your practice is a friendly gesture. From the moment patients walk through the door, your staff should welcome them with a smile and friendly attitude. Patients will feel unwelcome when they visit a practice where the staff are cold – it’s also very off-putting. When your staff is friendly, your patients will be more likely to refer family and friends to your practice. Plus, a smile won’t cost you anything!

  1. Keep it Clean

There’s nothing worse than a messy waiting room! A bunch of ripped magazines on the floor, the furniture is moved around, and a dirty floor/carpet is not the most calming environment for your patients. Implement regular cleaning duties to your staff or hire a custodian. The cleanliness of your waiting room can make or break a patient experience.

  1. Upgrade your Lighting

You probably haven’t considered this, but you might want to upgrade the lights in your waiting room. Old yellow lighting can make your waiting area look dim and depressing. Choose brighter new LED lights for your ceilings and place some nice lamps on any side tables. Brighter lights can really boost the mood of any space, and your patients deserve to feel at ease while they’re waiting.

  1. Décor it up!

Hopefully your waiting room doesn’t have any shag carpets, or any décor from 50 years ago for that matter! Modernize your waiting area with new furniture and décor so your medical practice can feel more like a home than an office. You know what that means — time to hit up your local home furnishing store (as if that’s a bad thing!).

The waiting room for your medical practice is a reflection on you and your care, so you should take some time to improve patient interaction and give your waiting room a makeover. Your patients will surely appreciate the new look!

How to Lead So Your Employees Listen

Leading any group of people and ensuring they are all actively engaged with your vision can be a challenge. A great leader knows how to effectively capture the attention of each and every one of his or her employees. Your passion comes naturally – and it’s this passion that will inspire those around you, as long as you are able to share it properly through communication and genuine compassion. Be the boss by showing where power lies, but also being fair so you are liked and trusted. Learn to lead your employees so they want to listen with these helpful tips.

Be real

Yes, you have an image to maintain – however, no one ever said that you can’t be the true you while leading. Be genuinely you with the best interest of your practice in mind and your employees will trust you. “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t apply in leadership. Being who you truly are – and who you say you are – to your employees is a huge step forward. If you want them to listen to what you have to say, and follow the path you’ve laid ahead; gaining trust has to be of utmost priority.

Know who you are

Following the previous point, in order to “be real” – you must know who you are. Knowing yourself, and what you want as a leader is essential in creating an environment of order… and one that matches your thoughts, beliefs and actions. If you are frazzled and disorganized, your practice will be as well. Know your values and they will translate into your leadership.

Advisors

Large corporations have advisors on standby at all times, but even as a small health center, an advisor can work wonders. Have someone you trust who can let you know what he or she thinks about the job you’re doing. Additionally, receiving unbiased feedback on your leadership is important. Knowing what you do well, and what you do not-so-well, can drastically change your approach.

Engage

The worst leaders are those who aren’t truly there for their employees. If you’re a boss who simply clocks in and clocks out, this does not properly showcase your passion and dedication for your team. In addition to being generally available for your employees, also make sure to be personable. Engage in conversation, banter and anything that can bring you and an employee together. Lead with engagement and empathy.

Be present

Similar to being engaged, simply being around is a big deal. If a team member has a question, does he or she know how to reach you? Do you show up for training? Do you give any seminars? Be available and allow your employees to enjoy your company – and for you to enjoy theirs as well.

As a leader, it’s essential that your team can know, like and trust you – as this is how you’ll inspire a vision for others to follow.

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