Tough times, tough calls: Hard line, soft touch help practices stay on top

September 1, 2008

Surviving lean times demands that dermatologists use a hard line with finances and a soft touch with patients, sources say.

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"More than ever, as an office, we're very conscious of the fact that patients want to feel they're getting their money's worth when they're spending their hard-earned discretionary income."

Rather than spreading fillers too thinly, she says, "I encourage patients to get the most value out of what they can afford to do."

When the wait for either type of patient to get a routine appointment exceeds two weeks, he says, "We bring on more help because we don't want our patients waiting that long to be seen."

Many doctors think they can replace income lost to reimbursement cuts by seeing more patients, he says. However, Dr. Kircik says, "That's a big misconception" - and often a recipe for burnout.