Practical pointers to guide your practice

October 20, 2008

Las Vegas - When it comes to office efficiency and patient management, experts’ advice runs the gamut, from choosing patient-friendly palliative care to properly using physician extenders.

Las Vegas

- When it comes to office efficiency and patient management, experts’ advice runs the gamut, from choosing patient-friendly palliative care to properly using physician extenders.

"Hiring a physician extender will improve your quality of life more than anything else you could do," says David M. Pariser, M.D., American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) president-elect.

Specifically, he recommends hiring, training and supervising a physician assistant in accordance with AAD guidelines. Lower-level assistants can effectively handle routine duties such as patient histories and procedure setup, he adds.

To maximize workflows and the patient experience, Dr. Pariser also recommends hiring a full-time employee to preregister all patients before they enter the office. This can eliminate frantic calls for referrals and upset patients, he says.

For aesthetic patients in particular, "The total clinical experience is critical," says Mark S. Nestor, M.D., Ph.D., director, Center for Cosmetic Enhancement, Aventura, Florida. As noninvasive procedures continue to grow in popularity, he says, patients demand safe, effective and comfortable procedures - and they’ll choose aesthetic physicians who best meet their needs.

"Cosmetic surgery practices must provide ‘wow’ service," adds Roger I. Ceilley, M.D., clinical professor of dermatology, University of Iowa. This means providing a higher level of services than the typical medical practice provides.

One can’t simply superimpose a cosmetic practice atop a purely medical one, Dr. Ceilley tells Dermatology Times, in part because patients, results and expectations in these types of practices differ. For instance, aesthetic physicians require more expertise in dealing with difficult patients - and those patients’ disappointments.

In all staffing decisions, Dr. Ceilley says, "Hire the best - don’t settle for less." For example, if an intelligent, enthusiastic candidate lacks experience, this obstacle can be overcome. But if an employee has a bad attitude, "You’re not going to fix that."

Dr. Ceilley also recommends using a tiered interviewing process (management, lead staff, physician) and having final candidates shadow current employees before offering them a position. This shows candidates the pace and nature of the practice they’ll be entering, he explains.

Disclosure:The above speakers report no relevant financial interests