Best of Practice Matters in 2022


Take a look back at the wise words, guidance and helpful advice of Practice Matters' columnists Brian K. Iriye, MD, and Jim Keller, MD.

Brian Iriye, MD, is former president of the SMFM and president of Hera Women's Health, and Managing Physician of the High Risk Pregnancy Center.

Jim Keller, MD, is vice president of medical management at Advocate Trinity Hospital and chair of the practice management division of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM).

How to provide excellent phone service

Take steps to ensure a positive first and lasting impression.

The interactions between technology, staff, and service bridge how patients evaluate their care. The phone is often the most overlooked piece of technology in a practice. Improving phone service will improve patient satisfaction, avoid financial loss from patient frustration, and enhance care.

Consumerism has a voice in health care

Patients’ ability to choose can affect your practice. Here are the key takeaways.

  1. Consumer is not a negative term when it comes to the provision of health care resources. It never was meant to marginalize the important clinical impact of the provision of care.
  2. Consumerism in health care has been evolving for close to a century from the demand for employer-supported health insurance to autonomy in selection of time and location of care.
  3. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the health care consumerism movement.

Get a grip on revenue cycle management

Key financial metrics detail your practice’s economic health. In this column, Iriye and Keller discuss key indicators to get a feel for the essential performance of your revenue cycle management.

How much money are you losing in unnecessary meetings?

Tips to avoid wasting time and optimize meetings you do need. Here, the experts detail 6 pitfalls that lead to excessive meetings.

  1. Meeting FOMO (fear of missing out)
  2. Selfish urgency
  3. Meeting as a commitment device
  4. Meeting amnesia
  5. Pluralistic ignorance

Retention beats recruitment

In this column, Iriye and Keller explore ways to keep your team together and share 9 system-level solutions to improve retention and well-being:

  • Acknowledge and assess the problem.
  • Harness the power of leadership.
  • Develop and implement targeted interventions.
  • Cultivate community work.
  • Use rewards and incentives wisely.
  • Align values and strength and culture.
  • Promote flexibility and work/life integration.
  • Provide resources to promote resilience and self-care.
  • Facilitate and fund organizational science.

The importance of huddles

Not only for football and safety but also for productivity and efficiency. Here is the template Iriye and Keller suggest to run a successful huddle:

  1. Get physician/executive leadership buy-in. The team will not take the process seriously if they feel it is not worthy of the leader’s time.
  2. Schedule the huddle for the same time every day. The huddle will not be credible or effective as an operational tool if it is often canceled, missed, or ignored.
  3. Do not let the huddle interfere with the work that needs to be done. Keep it short. In the present environment, everyone is likely busy. If the huddle takes 40 minutes and only decreases work by 20 minutes, it will fail. People must quickly recognize that the huddle makes their life easier.
  4. Establish a leader. This does not always have to be the senior person in the room. Maybe a medical assistant or an ultrasound technician leads the huddle. Just make sure the huddle leader knows their role prior to the start of the huddle.
  5. Leave time for emerging issues and ad hoc reports. Maybe you only need a weekly report on productivity or efficiency metrics.
  6. Regularly reevaluate the huddle’s effectiveness. Again, this does not need to be the executive team, but representatives from all disciplines in your office. The frequency of evaluation should decrease as you discover what works for your office.
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