Opinion: The business of medicine requires you put your practice under the microscope

September 15, 2008

To maintain a financially healthy practice, obgyns may want to think about alternative malpractice insurance, ancillary services, and astute retirement planning.

Within such a challenging environment, it is essential that we put our practices under the microscope to find ways to maximize profitability.

Look, for example, at your business plan. What are your revenue streams? You can augment physician services with ancillaries; the more traditional ones are ultrasound, laboratory services, and bone density scanning. The Medical Economics article we've included in this issue outlines some newer options as well, including weight loss and cosmetic services. Use your business plan to analyze potential profitability-by computing capital costs, expenses, and potential income-to ensure that any proposed addition to your services will actually enhance your net return and not detract from it. Be discerning too about whether the new ancillary will reflect well on the quality of your practice; a service of questionable validity will detract from your reputation.

Planning for retirement is the final area we'll urge you to examine in this issue. I've asked Jim Breeden, MD, National Treasurer of ACOG, to write about this; he has solid credentials in financial planning and is a frequent speaker about retirement planning. It's never too early to prepare for the next stage in your life, which, if you heed the advice from our experts in the preceding segments, should be more secure and more promising than ever.

As always, we look forward to hearing your comments and ideas, and I hope that you'll be informed and inspired by what you read here.

DR. HAYWORTH, Issue Editor, is President and Chief Executive Officer, Mount Kisco Medical Group, Mount Kisco, NY, and Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY; and Consultant, Vincent Memorial Obstetrics and Gynecology Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA.