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Surgeons share real life pearls to better practices, patient care

Article-Surgeons share real life pearls to better practices, patient care

Dr. Davidson
In the backdrop of unprecedented, continued change in medicine over the last decade, some physicians find it increasingly challenging to give patients the best possible medical care. Doctors lament costs, which have risen faster than those in other segments of the economy, just as they applaud and strive to incorporate evolving techniques, procedures and medications. New regulations pepper the mix by increasing physician responsibility to safeguard patients, as well as their ability to practice effectively.

Cosmetic Surgery Times wondered what strategies cosmetic surgeons have developed under these circumstances — including the adoption of better medical and practice management techniques.

We asked cosmetic surgeons around the country for their secrets to adaptation. What do they do that they think everyone should do? They shared tips from improving patient care to how to run an office smoothly.

Take risks Philip E. Dahan, M.D., from Reno, Nev., who has been in practice eight years started out in a group practice but made the big leap of working alone, and he thinks others should try it. He says that move allows him to provide the care he wants to provide.

"I would advocate people take the risk and go solo. If you're in a group, there is always a pressure to fit a certain image and fulfill other people's perceptions of how you should practice. Unfortunately, that doesn't work as well as when I have 100 percent control over what should be done.

"When you're in a situation where you have to discuss every move and put everything to a vote and then what is agreed upon is less than what you believe should be done, then you aren't achieving as much as you can achieve. I've found that my overhead runs at 25 percent of my practice, while our group's ran at 40 percent — that doesn't make sense," he says, adding, "Competition should be outside the practice — not inside (it)."

Take control Dr. Dahan says that doctors have to understand all aspects of their practices in order to be able to run them efficiently, but he adds that becoming personally involved is imperative for them to be successful and allows for smoother operation in the long term.

"I have a strong involvement, but it doesn't take a lot of my time because troubleshooting is pretty easy if you understand every aspect of the practice."

He says office managers can screen applicants but doctors should interview everyone who is hired.

"Don't leave that up to the office manager. Their parameters for what makes a good employee may be different than yours."

Be savvy to business aspects John Gibney, M.D., M.B.A., in Scottsdale, Ariz., is also an advocate for a physician understanding the workings of their practice. After 25 years of practicing medicine, he went back to school and pursued a Master's degree in business administration from Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.

"I'm not saying everybody needs an M.B.A., but I don't think most physicians know how to run the business end of their practices. So, they hire people to do it, and (these people) might have different agendas in their ways of doing things than physicians do.

Dr. Heath
I think doctors need to think about their practice from all aspects. The patient is primary, but they can't run a practice without being able to run their business appropriately," he adds.

Seek high quality Stephen F. Davidson, M.D., from Flowood, Miss., says he would rather pay more for a few higher-quality employees.

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