Top Tips for the Practice

Dermatology Times, Dermatology Times, April 2022 (Vol. 43. No. 4), Volume 43, Issue 4
Pages: 52

Sunscreen advice, recruiting during the “Great Recession”, and tips for the office led the busy agenda at Winter Clinical Dermatology Conference this weekend.

Patient experience and best practices for the medical practice kicked off the sessions at the 19th annual Winter Clinical Dermatology Conference held January 14 to 19, in Kauai, Hawaii.

Session moderator Lawrence J. Green, MD, of George Washington University School of Medicine; Brett Coldiron, MD, a dermatologist from Cincinatti, Ohio; Boni E. Elewski, MD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Dermatology; Dee Anna Glaser, MD, of St. Louis University School of Medicine; Adelaide A. Hebert, MD, who is chief of pediatric dermatology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston; and Joslyn S. Kirby, MD, Ms, Med, of Penn State University in Hershey, Pennsylvania, kicked off the meeting with “60 Tips in 60 Minutes,” many of which highlighted the importance of improving processes and communication in the practice.

Green noted how important it is for dermatologists to disseminate accurate information out to their communities, in both the clinic and through their online presence.

Noting recent steps taken by the FDA’s committee on sunscreen, including updated revisions related to maximum sun protection factor values, active ingredients, and product labeling, Green said it’s important to “educate your patients.” He said there is a lot of misinformation currently circulating online related to sunscreens, and dermatologists are in the best position to educate their communities through their own websites and social media. He noted one bill pending currently in Hawaii that would potentially prohibit the sale of nonmineral sunscreens.

“Please go to your social media and educate your patients,” he told the audience, noting. “Let’s wait for the FDA to come out with results” about the safety of nonmineral sunscreens. Several panel members said that while the FDA are still updating their guidance, it is important to continue stressing the importance of sunscreen use, but if the patient expresses concern, to encourage mineral-based products.

All dermatology practices should have a website and a strong social presence, he said, as it gives practices a competitive edge not only for patient engagement and recruitment, but also recruiting potential new employees.

Recruiting during the “Great Recession” was also on the mind of Glaser, who urged dermatologists in attendance to remain open to interviewing potential office staff on Zoom as a time saver and a way to align with COVID-19 restrictions, and she added, she encourages use of a shadow mentoring program once a suitable candidate is found. “I get the staff to shadow in the clinic for about 4 hours,” she said. “It’s not mandatory, but it gives them an idea of just how busy we are,” which helps address questions for potential new hires.

Once the right associate is found, Coldiron offered some tips to ease the employees minds once they are working there, including installing security measures like safety cameras, as well as tips to keeping the office “friendly” which he said includes incorporating nonpolitical, nondenominational décor, free Wifi, and family photos, rather than plaques. “Show off your kids, not your plaques,” he said.

Kirby added to Green’s practice pearls, urging those in attendance to be mindful of their own limitations in terms of decision making. “Avoid making important decisions at the end of a long workday, because no matter who we are… we get less good at it as we go along in the day,” she said. As an example, she pointed to the patient that comes into the office seeking an antibiotic for one of their skin issues, and she said “you may ask questions of that person who comes in at 8 [AM] that maybe, at 11:30 [AM] can be challenging to put the same level of energy into that questioning that you do in the morning. Being mindful and having insight into who you are throughout the day is important.”

She added the importance of staying up-to-date on the trends in dermatology, and encouraged those in the audience to attend continuing education events like Winter Clinical, and she suggested listening to podcasts like Leadership and Loyalty, and reading about managing offices to help dermatologists stay at the top of their game while practicing medicine.

References:

Green LJ, Coldiron B, Elewski BM, Glaser DA, Hebert AA, Kirby JS. 60 tips in 60 minutes. Presented at: Winter Clinical Dermatology Conference-Hawaii 22. January 14-19, 2022. Kauai, HI.