Practice Management Software: The Basics

Practice management software that will really manage a doctor’s practice does not exist; but I have some suggestions.

Albert Einstein said “You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created the problem.” How about looking at your practice difficulties from a fresh prospective?

Albert Einstein

First of all realize that a doctor’s office and his/her practice is all about people. Sure, doctors are rendering cures, remedies, patching injuries, and selling products related to all that but still, it’s all for and about people. So I pose a question – do you love or even like these people that are coming into your office? I ask this because if there is anything to manage as a first priority it’s that – your love for people.

No software exists that will manage that. Yes, you may still need software to monitor the business side of practice, gathering and organizing data and statistics, but unless some focus and attention is placed on the people  and the service you are giving them, then any technical assistant or software benefits will be very limited.

I was once at a practice management/practice building seminar and heard a doctor complaining to the instructor about how frustrated he was because the patients were late for appointments, were missing appointments, were not paying his bills.etc. The instructor replied with a very interesting answer “Gee, it sounds like you’re working with people!”

Thus, the first lesson is to accept that people behave like this, at least sometimes and perhaps even most of the time. Accept them, don’t try to change them. Have policies and procedures in place that minimize these difficulties by making it easier for patients to pay, keep appointments, etc. Setting these systems up and keeping them in play is where a practice consultant really pays off. The group that helped my practice for nearly 24 years is called Petty, Michel and Associates (PM&A). They are a great bunch of folks, and they have software to help with management of  advertising/promotions, insurance billing and collections, etc. An important consideration for all doctors is to understand the difference between having a patient centered practice versus a business centered practice.  For example, a patient centered practice will have hours that are convenient for patients. A business centered practice will have hours convenient for the doctor. A patient centered practice will have a missed appointment policy that assists patients in keeping their appointments, perhaps with a reminder call the day before. The business centered practice will penalize patients that miss appointments. The patient centered practice will offer patients a variety of payment methods. The business centered practice will demand payment upfront. Do you see the difference? How would you classify your practice – patient or business centered? And which type do you think is more likely to withstand difficulties, whether it be changes in insurance, a lawsuit, or an economic downturn? Focusing on having a patient centered practice  is one of the best things you can do for the long term survival of your practice. A business centered practice might bring a doctor short term joy, but a patient centered, customer friendly practice brings a career overflowing with long term joy.

Doctors struggle for many reasons and I experienced many of those difficulties myself. I was persistent in solving those issues and put those solutions into my book called Reclaim the Joy of Practice – An Advanced Guide for Advancing Doctors. You can order the book by clicking HERE. It contains over 50 practical methods for a doctor to prosper and gain more joy in practice.

So doctor, what can you do to gain more joy in your practice?

By the way, have you seen my popular blog/web sites?

For the general public: http://www.thedowntoearthdoctor.com, http://www.wholehealthhealing.com

Categories: Practice management software, Uncategorized


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Doctors and Money

Doctors and money; the two words have become almost synonymous. And that is sad.

Dr Potisk with a patient in Belize

Doctoring is not about money, never was, never will be, and never should be.

This doctor-money issue is a struggle for several reasons. Our society tends to judge success by the amount of money the success produces. And because it costs a lot of money to become a doctor and set up a practice, the assumption is that doctors deserve a lot of money. If a doctor fails to make a lot of money, he/she feels inadequate. If a doctor does make a lot of money, society notices and then the cost of becoming a doctor goes up. It’s a cycle doomed to failure. Some say that day of doom is here. Money has gotten control.

On more than one occasion when my staff and I began to get too focused on making money, my long time business consultant Dave Michel from PM&A Practice management would pipe up sarcastically “Why don’t you just sell illegal drugs? You can make a lot of money that way!” We’d then scratch our heads and kick the ground, quickly coming to our senses. Thanks Dave!

At my office desk, I have posted several of my favorite quotes. One of them reads “Count the opportunity to use your special talents and abilities as the largest part of your reward.” I need to be reminded of that. How about you?

A few days ago I noticed an article in my local paper, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that was titled Chicago Area Commuter Rail Boss Steps in Front of Train. The article told about a guy who was the executive director of the large Metra train system in Chicago for 20 years and committed suicide by stepping in front of one his own trains. A real tragedy. May God bless and comfort his family (he had a wife and a daughter). The additional stunning part of the article was that his salary was $269,000.00/year. All that money, success, prosperity, fame, and fortune, yet he took his own life.  No he was not a doctor, but there is a lesson here that every doctor can learn from: money does not buy happiness.

Having both had lots of money and no money, I can verify from personal experience that yes, money will not make you happy.

I’ve traveled the world visiting over 20 countries and the happiest people I saw were the ones with little or nothing. Those destitute people were generous too, offering me what they could when I was on voluntary medical mission trips with the Christian Chiropractors Association.

A typical house in Belize

Now I’m not recommending you give up all that you have, or that making money is bad, but I am demanding a perception change. Money itself  is not the problem. The Bible says “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” – 1st Timothy 6:10. It’s the love of money, that’s the problem.

So doc, where is your focus? What rewards are you expecting for the work you do?

I’ve heard several successful people say “The less I try to make money, the more money I make.” What they mean is that they focus on service. Zig Ziglar the great motivational speaker frequently says “You can get whatever you want, if you help enough other people get what they want.” Profound don’t you think? People want good service.

PM&A Practice Management has a wonderful workshop called 3 Goals. The 3rd goal involves focusing and spending more time on pursuit and fulfillment of one’s higher purpose. I teach my signature program called Reclaim the Joy of Practice, at those workshops. The next one is held in Milwaukee 0n June 20, 2010. Come on down! My book of the same title is available for purchase on this website if you care to take yourself further on the path to having a deeper satisfaction for doctoring.

Even Jesus, undoubtedly the world’s greatest healer ever known, said “You cannot serve both God and money.” – Luke 16:13.

Hey doc, who are you serving?

By the way, have you seen my other popular blog sites? http://thedowntoearthdoctor.com and http://wholehealthhealing.com

Categories: doctor personal growth, money, Uncategorized


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