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Contents

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Creating More Patient Time

From the Publisher

8

Feature Senior Driving Dilemma

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Feature Creating More Patient Time While Saving You 15 Hours a Week

14

Legal Corner 6 Reasons Why Physicians Should Join a Professional Organization

16

Wealth Management 3 Tips for Achieving Financial Wellness in Retirement

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Food for Thought Cooking for Your Heart

Google Glass may have been a miss for the masses, but is has found new life in the medical industry.

Senior Driving Dilemma Why is relinquishing a driver’s license such a problem?

Cooking for Your Heart 2

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12

3 Tips for Achieving Financial Wellness in Retirement Doctor’s Life Tampa Bay

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Feature Utilizing Technology to Benefit Your Practice’s Communication Standards and Increase Revenue

Advertisers BioSpine Institute 4 Burr & Forman 10 JW Marriott Panama 23 The Meridian Club 21 PNC Bank 24 Point Grace 11 Publix 3 Suncoast Advisory Group 7 Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology 15

Issue 1, 2016


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5 KEY FACTORS WHEN CHOOSING A SPINE SURGEON 1

Surgeon’s Experience • Dr. Ronzo and Dr. Bono have over 23 years of combined experience. • Dr. Ronzo and Dr. Bono have successfully treated over 35,000 patients for spine-related disorders. • Dr. Ronzo and Dr. Bono have performed over 14,000 successful minimally invasive spinal surgeries. • Dr. Ronzo and Dr. Bono are among the top spinal surgeons in the nation as documented by Consumer Reports, Newsweek, ProPublica & Health Grades.

2

Minimally Invasive Approach

• Minimally invasive spinal surgery requires an incision that is only 3/4” in length. That’s the same as the diameter of a United States penny. • In minimally invasive spinal surgery, muscles are gently separated and not cut. • Smaller incisions and less invasion into surrounding tissue and muscles means quicker recover times.

3

Nationally Ranked Outcomes

• Dr. Ronzo and Dr. Bono have been rated in the top 5 in the nation for back surgery results. • After more than 14,000 surgeries, Dr. Ronzo and Dr. Bono’s infection rate is almost non-existent and is dramatically less than the national average.

4

Length of Surgery

• Drs. Bono & Ronzo's minimally invasive spinal surgery averages 45 minutes in length. By comparison, traditional spinal surgery can last several hours.

5

Recovery Time

• All patients receiving minimally invasive spinal surgery are able to return home on the same day of the surgical procedure. • Recovery time for BioSpine patients is consistently half of that for patients who have received traditional spinal surgery.

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From the Publisher

I

www.doctorslifetampabay.com

t is a conversation we will always need, and forever unpleasant to have; asking a parent, grandparent, or even an elderly patient, to turn in their driver license. An estimated 36 million seniors drive on the roads today, and statistics reveal on average, 15 older adults die in fatal auto accidents, and close to 600 are injured in crashes every day. There are signs to look for, options to use, and in this issue, Dr. David Bernstein, Tampa Gerontologist, and author discusses this topic in depth. Have you heard the saying; time is the most precious commodity there is? When put in perspective, for most of us, it is. I'm always in need of an extra hour in my days and sometimes wish I had spent time more wisely. Technology has given us both. It can consume time and help create better and more efficient use of time. Computers are a perfect example. They allow us to compute and research faster and can be a distraction at the same time. Some technology enables us to work highly efficient with no distraction. Augmedix, recently named the most innovative healthcare company of 2016 by Fast Company, can save you 15 hours a week and provide better patient experience. In this issue of DLM, we cover reasons for joining professional organizations, provide tips for achieving financial wellness in retirement, and how to utilize technology to benefit your practice's communication standards and increase revenue. The Food For Thought section is giving good cooking for your heart with two incredible heart healthy recipes. I hope you enjoy this issue of Doctor's Life, and as always, your readership is valued and appreciated.

TAMPA BAY

Tampa Headquarters 1208 East Kennedy Blvd. Tampa Fl, 33602 813-419-7788 Group Publisher Ed Suyak publisher@doctorslifetampabay.com Creative Director Rob Stainback Editorial Director Danielle Topper Associate Publisher CJ Cooper

Be well,

Advertising Account Executive Ryan O’Neil

-Ed

Editorial Advisory Board Scott Jarred Robert V. Williams

Ed Suyak Group Publisher publisher@doctorslifetampabay.com

Contributing Writers David Bernstein, MD Nick Hernandez Rochelle Glassman Doctor’s Life Magazine, Tampa Bay is always seeking events, stories and remarkable physicians. Please email the publisher if you have an event, an editorial idea or you know of a doctor or dentist who may have done something extraordinary. We want your suggestions and feedback. publisher@doctorslifetampabay.com Doctor’s Life Magazine, Tampa Bay does not assume responsibility for the advertisements, nor any representation made therein, nor the quality or deliverability of the products themselves. Reproduction of articles and photographs, in whole or in part, contained herein is prohibited without expressed written consent of the publisher, with the exception of reprinting for news media use. Printed in the United States of America.

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Doctor’s Life Tampa Bay

Issue 1, 2016


Serving PhySicianS for over 25 years and named among

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Investment advice and advisory services offered through Suncoast Advisory Group, a Registered Investment Advisor


Senior Driving

Dilemma W

By David Bernstein, MD

hen was the last time you counseled a patient or their family about giving up their drivers license? Regardless of your medical specialty, it is a daunting task. To that point, I recently reviewed a survey conducted among baby boomers for the website caring.com in partnership with The National Safety Council. Investigators found that suggesting to parents that they stop driving was considered to be the most difficult subject for children to bring up with their parents. They found this to be a subject more difficult even than discussing funeral wishes or selling the family home! Thirty-nine percent (39%) of those surveyed said they would not be comfortable discussing driving status with their parents, while 25% felt that their parents should voluntarily impose some restrictions or safeguards on themselves. While it has not been studied, I would bet the same uneasiness holds true for medical professional bringing this subject up to their patients. I have explored this subject and found some interesting information that those of us in the medical community would be well serve to be aware of.

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In July 2003, an 86-year-old man drove his 1982 Buick into a crowd of pedestrians shopping at an open-air farmers market in Santa Monica, California, killing 10 and injuring more than 50 people. In October 2005, a 93-year-old man struck a pedestrian in St. Petersburg, Florida, and did not notice the body hanging out his windshield until a tollbooth operator stopped him. Shocking incidents such as these have reinvigorated a longsimmering debate over the risks of older drivers on the road and has led to calls for stricter state licensing policies for these drivers. Scientific studies show that physical and cognitive degeneration at older ages compromises driving ability; it is not clear just how much more dangerous older drivers are than other drivers. Most published research shows that accidents per mile driven increase when drivers are in their fifties. And, by the time people reach their eighties, accidents per mile driven are almost as high as they are for the youngest drivers.1 In 2012, more than 5,560 older adults were killed and more than 214,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes. These statistics reveal that an average of 15 older adults killed and 556 injured in crashes every day”.2

the numbers that acquired them after WWII (during the mid1940s through the 1950s). As a group, this cohort did not have to confront their parents about relinquishing driving privileges. For the most part, their parents did not have the life expectancy that we enjoy today, so the kinds of conversations we are discussing here simply did not take place. Senior driving and the decisions that surround their continued safety is uncharted territory. As physicians, there is little guidance for us as how to best proceed if and when we observed patients who clearly are in no condition to continue to drive. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, research indicates that most people will outlive their driving ability by about ten years. The most at-risk driver is the one with cognitive impairment. The American Medical Association (AMA) regards the safety of older drivers as a public health issue. They estimate that the per-mile fatality rate for drivers over 85-years old is nine times as great as drivers 25 to 69 years old. Why is relinquishing a driver’s license such a problem? Why are our elderly taking such risks, not only for themselves but also for their loved ones and others on the road? What do they see when they look in the mirror? I have been pondering these questions for many years and continue to be amazed at the resistance I receive when broaching the subject of the “senior driving dilemma.” In my years as a geriatrician, the reactions, and subsequent behaviors 3 I observe after a discussion on the topic of driving are not so surprising. Consider this: these seniors are fighting to maintain their independence. For some, the last bastion of that independence is their ability to drive. When they can no longer get back and forth to the doctor, grocery store or hairdresser, they may view life as being over. They might have to move to a retirement center to access transportation or, even worse, move to a different town or state to be near one of their children, an option that most find totally unacceptable. Many of them might willingly take advice from one of their children about some things, but giving up their driving is not one of them. I have a personal view of the universe. It suggests that if I see something in my community, I know that the same drama is probably unfolding in every city and community in this country, and the world, for that matter. So, if I am aware of an unsafe driver in my town, there are likely also others in cities x, y and z. Over my career as a physician, I have faced the issue of impaired drivers countless times. It is always a painful experience. The discussion triggers tears, anger and, sometimes, people demonstrating an outright disregard for the law, or for others who share the roadways. When my children were young, and I knew that these horribly unsafe drivers were on the local roads I felt very uneasy. I still do.

Today there are more seniors on the roads than ever. In 2012 there were an estimated 36 million licensed older drivers on the road, which represents a 34 percent increase since 1999. Today there are more seniors on the roads than ever. In 2012 there were an estimated 36 million licensed older drivers on the road, which represents a 34 percent increase since 1999.3 By 2025, drivers 65 and older will represent 25 percent of the driving population (as compared to 15 percent in 2001).4 Per mile traveled; fatal crash rates increase starting at age 75, and increase notably after age 80. This fatality rate is largely due to increased susceptibility to injury and medical complications among older drivers, rather than an increased tendency to get into crashes. The age-related decline in vision and cognitive functioning (the ability to reason and remember), as well as physical changes, may affect some older adults’ driving abilities. Across all age groups, males had substantially higher death rates than females. There are some existing protective factors that already improve older drivers’ safety. They include: High incidence of seat belt use, the tendency to drive when conditions are the safest, and lower incidence of impaired driving.3 Another factor to consider is a lack of historical precedence. The group of elders who are currently facing the issue of when to quit driving lived through the Great Depression and WWII. Many people had cars during and after the depression but in not nearly Issue 1, 2016

Doctor’s Life Tampa Bay

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As medical professionals working in the trenches the question is what are we to do? I have five options that might apply to situations that arise: 1.

2.

3. 4. 5.

 alk to your patient, avoid being judgmental. Treat T the subject like any other medical condition. They may take you very seriously and stop driving based on your recommendation. It might not be immediate but have some faith. Refer to an occupational therapy center that  performs driver evaluations. Locally Morton Plant Hospital has a program called DRIVEable. It is a national program with a validated testing procedure that can detect cognitive issues and can predict a road test failure. AARP Smart Driver Program is another resource Local safety council where driver evaluations can be performed for a fee ‌ Consider available resources to have meaningful discussions with your patients and their families utilizing Senior Driving Dilemma: Lifesaving Strategies as a reference guide making this available at your office.

I can only offer my hope that medical professionals and their staffs will take note of this serious problem and address it when seems it can prove to be a lifesaving Strategy.

You can continue the conversation with me via... Email: David@davidbernsteinmd.com Website: www.davidbernsteinmd.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/DBernsteinMD Facebook: www.facebook.com/DavidBernsteinMD LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidbernstein2200

References cited: Reuben, D. B., Silliman, R. A. and Traines, M. (1988), The Aging Driver Medicine, Policy, and Ethics. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 36: 1135–1142. doi: 10.1111/ j.1532-5415.1988.tb04403.x 2 Injury Prevention & Control: Motor Vehicle Safety http:// www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/older_adult_drivers/ 3 1 Injury Prevention & Control: Motor Vehicle Safety http:// www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/older_adult_drivers/ 41 What Risks Do Older Drivers Pose to Traffic Safety? http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9272/ index1.html) 1

Bernstein, David MD, Senior Lifesaving Strategies, Nov 2015.

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Creating More Patient Time WHILE SAVING YOU 15 HOURS A WEEK Google Glass may have been a miss for the masses, but is has found new life in the medical industry. Augmedix was recently Named The Number One Most Innovative Healthcare Company of 2016 by Fast Company.

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hysicians spend more than a third of their day on the computer, inputting or retrieving patient data from electronic health records (EHRs), according to a recent survey. Physicians also report that typing at a computer during an exam can interfere with important interactions with patients. With the move to electronic health records (EHRs), physicians are spending more time in front of the computer and less time speaking face-to-face with patients. This can hurt practices through lost revenue, reduced provider and patient satisfaction, and charting accuracy. A pilot of Google Glass + Augmedix has been in place at the Ventura Medical Clinic since January 2014. The pilot involves three family practice physicians who have taken part in over 2,700 patient visits. Since beginning to use the technology, their physicians have reported a decrease in total daily time spent entering data into EHRs from 33 percent to 9 percent and increased direct patient care from 35 percent to 70 percent. The early results are extremely positive and they are working to expand the usage at other clinics.

How it Works Before an exam, a physician will put on the Google Glass device, launch the Augmedix software, and then enter the exam room to speak with a patient. The physician and patient have a natural conversation, including addressing the issue(s) that brought the patient in to see the doctor. The audio and visual information is securely streamed via the Glass device through the Augmedix solution, where a combination of technology and human resources ensure that accurate information is entered into the patient’s electronic medical record in real time. In addition, physicians have the ability to access patient data and search for information by making simple verbal requests similar to OnStar or Siri. The doctor can, for example, query the last three blood pressures tests and have the results delivered to his or her Google Glass device. The physician is still required to access the record to ensure accuracy, as well as to enter orders for tests or prescription medications. Patient privacy is a key factor in deploying this solution. It is suggested that medical office staff inform patients both verbally and in writing about Glass and how their doctors use it. If a patient asks that Glass be removed, the physician does so, no questions asked. As of June 2014, less than 1% of patients have asked that their physician not to use Glass during their visit. Augmedix providers are better able to focus on patient care, and as a result, they have received overwhelmingly positive patient feedback. Before a provider begins to wear Google Glass, personalized patient education and consent materials are created for the provider’s administrative staff. All patients are given a choice to opt-in or opt-out of the Augmedix Service. The global patient acceptance rate exceeds 99%. Augmedix is HIPAA compliant. The service is encrypted endto-end and strict operational protocols are in place to safeguard patient health information. In addition, they regularly subject their security measures to rigorous testing.

“This technology allows me to maintain eye contact with my patients and have continuous conversations without having to enter information into a computer,” said Dr. Davin Lundquist, family medicine practitioner and Dignity Health’s Chief Medical Informatics Officer. “The ability to listen, communicate, and care is just as critical as the diagnosis, and this technology allows me to spend more focused and quality time with my patients.”

For more information go to www.augmedix.com. Issue 1, 2016

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6

Reasons Why Physicians Should Join a Professional Organization By Nick Hernandez

There are plenty of healthcare professional organizations, but are the yearly dues worth it to join? As budgets get squeezed, many physicians and practice managers have been cutting back on the number of professional associations they belong to. Although there is often a lack of perceived benefit, membership in professional associations yields a number of benefits.

1

4

Education

Perhaps the most important benefit is education. (A plea here to physicians is to remember this applies to your practice managers. If you want a successful practice, run by a talented practice manager, you must be willing to support his or her professional continuing education.) Most associations provide an enormous amount of access to resource information such as: case studies, articles, white papers and books written by experts in your field or area of interest. Providers and managers can keep up with the newest developments (clinical and operational) through their association membership benefits, including conferences. Take advantage of all the information your associations provide and remember that most of it is online and free.

2

3

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All of us in healthcare know how much one piece of legislation can impact our profession. Professional associations not only update members about these types of changes but also often play an advocacy role on behalf of the membership. I have been involved in this with professional associations and it can often be a tiring effort to work with legislators at the state and national level. However, associations involved in this are able to inform members how to prepare for any upcoming change.

5

Industry standards Webinars are frequent these days as a means to deliver information on hot topics such as best practices, new statistics, etc. No matter what your specialty is, staying on top of all of these issues is important.

Jobs Most people already know that they can often search for jobs on association job boards as members. Keep in mind that your practice may want to utilize these job boards to post positions for your practice. Recruiters will often post on the job boards as well, so if you are working with a recruiter, be sure to let them know about your preferred associations.

Networking Another important benefit is networking. There is no better way to connect with peers and industry experts than through professional association membership. There is often a variety of possible venues to network at (e.g. listservs, membership connections and groups, national conferences, regional seminars, etc.), providing you are willing to get engaged with other members. Networking with professionals outside your place of employment can give you a broader perspective on the market and healthcare in general.

Policy updates

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Intrinsic value In addition to money, associations need support to survive. Associations are always in need of new blood to help organize their annual meetings, workshops, CME courses, and legislative committees. This means taking an active role in leadership positions or committees can not only help the association, but also help you personally (from leadership development to networking, to potential job searches). As the saying goes, "You get out of it what you put into it." Undoubtedly the members who get the most out of an association are the ones who get involved and are more interactive.

Doctor’s Life Tampa Bay

Issue 1, 2016


Wealth Management

3

Tips for Achieving Financial Wellness in Retirement 16

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Financial wellness is central to retirement planning for everyone, especially doctors. Balancing financial priorities is like eating a well-balanced meal. When preparing for retirement, it is important to make a commitment to your financial health as you would to your personal or your patient’s health. By looking at one's finances and establishing healthy habits early on, the more prepared you will be for life after retirement.

S

ixty-one percent of the general population plan to rely more on personal savings than on Social Security income in retirement, according to a recent study conducted by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). While Social Security plays a role in retirement planning today, there are many other funding options to consider. Taking the right steps at an early stage is critical to achieving financial wellness after retirement. Here are three tips to help secure a healthy financial future:

Determine how much you will need In order to create a solid retirement plan, it's important to understand your current financial situation and determine how much you will need for retirement. Know your income and expenses, and the value of your savings and investments. Then define your goals for both the present and retirement. Do you want to financially live as you are today? Maybe you Issue 1, 2016

wish to save for traveling abroad or for your children's college education, while others may prefer to stay involved with the practice they built. Make sure you conservatively estimate what you need with all these factors considered. Just like with healthy eating, planning for retirement is about finding the right balance for you. As a physician, you have a late start in the retirement game. Because you typically do not start earning relatively higher levels of income until your early thirties, your retirement goals call for a higher contribution rate. It is not rare for a physician to contribute more than 20 percent to 30 percent of his or her pretax income toward retirement. Attempt to build a portfolio that equates to 20 times your annual income pre-retirement. Most people are not aware of the considerations that must be accounted for when making retirement projections. Even more so, not aware of the correct information as to where and how much is to contribute. Doctor’s Life Tampa Bay

Stay Healthy and Plan ahead for Health care A recent study conducted found that 73 percent of retirees in better health say they feel financially secure compared to 51 percent of retirees in poorer health, and planning for the unexpected can help maintain peace of mind. One of the biggest curve balls in retirement can be related to the cost of health care for you and your family. Be sure to carefully think through your options for health care in your retirement, which may include various forms of insurance.

Find the Right Wealth Management Advisor for Your Needs Maintaining financial wellness after retirement is all about keeping a good balance and knowing the different options that are available for investments, insurance, savings and income. As a physician, you’re expected to be confident and knowledgeable about your medical specialty, the same confidence doesn’t always extend to your financial matters. Depending on the complexity of your financial strategy, can depend on the level of wealth management advisory you may need. Very similar to how a patient should be treated. Depending on the severity of the medical issue, determines the treatment and who should perform it. If a patient acquires a minor scratch, most likely they can treat themselves. On the other hand, if someone is in need of heart surgery, it is safe to say, leave it to the professionals. When looking for the right advisor, it is best to go with a certified financial planner (CFP), which is an instant signal of credibility- but not a guarantee of same. To start, ask your colleagues who they recommend. If possible, you want to find a planner with successful experience advising clients in the same stage of life as you. However, choosing the right advisor will take more than finding someone certified or highly recommended. Do your own due diligence and meet with several. Your interviewing process should be as if you are conducting an interview for an applicant whose job will be taking care of you and your family for the remainder of your life.

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Food for Thought

Cooking for Your

Heart

Nearly one-third of adults have high LDL-cholesterol levels, which is also known as bad cholesterol, a key risk factor for heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, unfortunately, about 70 percent of adults with high LDL-cholesterol don't have the condition under control.

F

or the many people working to manage their cholesterol levels with the help of their diet, including corn oil may provide important heart-health benefits. Recent research in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology shows that a diet with corn oil, like Mazola, helps lower LDL-cholesterol and total cholesterol more than extra virgin olive oil. Additionally, corn oil has four times more cholesterol-blocking plant sterols than olive oil and 40 percent more than canola oil. Plant sterols are plant-based compounds naturally present in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals, legumes and vegetable oils. When consumed as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, plant sterols can help reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the gut, which, in turn, can lower LDL-cholesterol. And, when it comes to heart health, the type of fat in the diet matters. In fact, in the newly released 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the emphasis is no longer on eating a low-fat diet but instead choosing quality fats. This includes replacing saturated fats that are known to contribute to heart disease with unsaturated fats, including polyunsaturated fats, like those in Mazola Corn Oil. Corn oil has more than five times the amount of polyunsaturated fats compared to olive oil. Replacing saturated fat with heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats can reduce the risk of heart disease. What's more, corn oil's neutral taste complements the natural flavors of foods, making it perfect for stir-frying, sautĂŠing, grilling and even baking. Get more delicious recipes at Mazola.com.

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QUINOA & SWEET POTATO CHILI Yield: 3 quarts Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes Ingredients

WARM TOMATO & KALE PASTA

1 tablespoon Mazola Corn Oil 1 cup chopped onions 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced 3 tablespoons chili powder 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1 quart unsalted chicken OR vegetable broth 4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 2 teaspoons minced garlic 2 cans (15 ounces each) no salt added diced tomatoes 1/2 cup quinoa 1 can (15 ounces) no salt added OR reduced salt black beans, rinsed and drained 2 cups frozen corn Garnish with green onions, chopped cilantro or sliced jalapeños

Yield: 8 servings Prep Time: 25 minutes Ingredients 12 ounces uncooked whole grain rotini pasta 2 tablespoons Mazola Corn Oil 1/3 cup chopped onion 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved 2 cups chopped kale 1/2 cup no-salt or reduced sodium vegetable broth 1/4 cup lime juice 2 teaspoons chili powder 1 teaspoon garlic salt 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions 1.

Instructions 1.

Cook and drain pasta according to package directions. Set aside. 2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion; cook and stir until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, kale, vegetable broth, lime juice, chili powder, garlic salt and crushed red pepper. Cook 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 3. Combine hot pasta, tomato mixture, feta cheese and cilantro in a large serving bowl. Toss lightly and serve.

Issue 1, 2016

Heat Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat and add oil. Add onion, bell and jalapeño peppers and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until vegetables are softened. Add chili powder and cumin and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until spices are aromatic. 2. Add chicken broth, sweet potatoes and garlic. Bring soup to a boil; reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Add tomatoes, quinoa, black beans and corn and cook an additional 15 to 20 minutes until potatoes and quinoa are tender. 3. Serve with fresh green onion, cilantro or jalapeños for garnish.

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Utilizing Technology to Benefit Your Practice’s Communication Standards and Increase Revenue By Rochelle Glassman, President and CEO of United Physician Services

While medical practices are a bit slower on adapting technology into their current operations, it doesn’t discount the importance of implementing it effectively. In fact, successfully integrating useful technology into a practice’s day-to-day activities is critical to long-term benefits for the practice, physicians, staff, and patients. Technology is allowing many practices to redesign their workflows and staff functions. It could allow for reduction in staff, or even enabling some staff members to work remotely from home, effectively creating a smaller footprint and reducing overhead costs. Win-win!

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rom the practice’s point of view patient retention is only one aspect of overall revenue generation. However, it is a large part of dependable, ongoing revenue that many practices are missing out on due to lack of, or ineffective, practiceto-patient communication. The technology exists to bridge this gap, and it’s increasing in its simplicity to use and be utilized based on a practice’s individual needs. The impact of patient no-shows and inadequate communication between practice and patient include: • Delayed care for both the no-show patient and the patient that is unable to book in that slot • Health risk to the patient that doesn’t show • Health risk to the patient that is seeking care and is unable to book in that no-show slot • Poor continuity of care • Poor staff utilization • Patient liability risks • Interference of patient and resident education • Loss of multiple streams of revenue (Staff utilization, provider productivity, etc…) Thankfully these are not problems without solutions. Technology has provided the opportunity for communications experts to hone in on the pressure points of patient retention when it comes to developing loyalty and connection. Applying an efficient and effective medium to ensure receipt of intended communications by the patient and continuing until the patient’s actions achieve the practice’s intended outcome is an advantage that many practices are not utilizing, or are underutilizing. 20

There isn’t a single mode of communication that works universally. Therefore, an effective communication system will take advantage of the most popular methods of technology driven communication options and eventually find the style that works best for each particular patient to achieve the desired outcome. When more than 85% of American adults own a cell phone, and most are smart phones, the communication methods from practice to patient available are: • Direct mail message • Call queue to a staff member or call center agent • SMS (short message service/text) • Social Media message (where applicable) • Others (as they become available) There are many reasons that a practice would want to communicate with their patients. The difference an automated cross-media marketing system would make spans across many revenue streams for the practice.

Appointment Confirmations and Reminders Historically, 50% of unconfirmed appointments result in no-shows, and 14% of confirmed appointments don’t show. That’s a 36% increase in patient show rates! An effective system will communicate with patients to confirm their scheduled appointments in advance and advise them of potential fees associated with broken appointments. Reminders could be sent as early as an hour prior to the appointment to deter as many broken appointments as possible. This is especially helpful for frequent flyer patients, and those that lack calendar/time management skills. The patient could primarily be emailed, an excellent reason to attain patient email addresses. If the email did not result in patient

Doctor’s Life Tampa Bay

Issue 1, 2016


Imagine a private island with a spectacular two-mile, white sand beach and the only footprints are yours. Such a place really exists. Just 13 beachfront units and several private rental homes. No cars, no crowds, no hassles. It will win your heart.

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confirmation, the above methods would be then set in motion until the patient has confirmed their appointment. A communication system is only as good as the receipt of the communication. Imagine all the revenue no longer lost to patient no-shows.

they don’t even know if their referral was effective, this way they know their patient’s health care needs are being taken care of and that they are in the hands of a physician they trust.

Patient No Shows

Show your patients that you care and greet them on their birthdays with a celebratory communication. Some may even take this opportunity to notify the patient that you are looking forward to seeing them on their unscheduled, yet overdue, appointment. It may not be appropriate, but it is a good opportunity to renew a patient-practice relationship, again, increasing revenue.

A logical follow up benefit to the practice, and to patients, is communications regarding an appointment that a patient doesn’t show up for. A desirable marketing system will communicate with patients that cancel, or miss their appointments until their appointment has been rescheduled. Let technology spend the time and efforts getting into contact with these patients rather than spending staff time and money to do so.

Recalls Practices can effectively communicate with patients when they are in need of follow-up visits in general. This is greatly beneficial to patients that have a specific diagnosis, or procedure code, that results in frequent visits. This also allows providers to meet PQRS (Physician Quality Reporting System) customer service standards, which sets the practice up to maintain the highest level of reimbursement.

Lost Patient Recovery Technology can be used to connect with patients who have not been seen by the office within specific time intervals. Depending on the specialty, these communications could begin when the patient has an unacceptable time lapse since their last visit.

Post Visit Thank You Who couldn’t use a little more appreciation? Let your patients know you are thankful that they chose your office. In this day and age gratitude goes a long way and it is highly recognized by consumers. These could also include very specific post visit instructions depending on a patient’s needs. The “thank you” could also include a request of the patient to complete an internal survey and/or links to review your office on social media sites, which leads into…

Reputation Management Most patients, and consumers, want the best they can get in the least amount of time and money spent. Much like if one was shopping on Amazon, Ebay, or even looking for a great restaurant patients are now interested in reviews of their physicians, clinics, or anywhere that deals with their healthcare needs. An effective marketing system will notify the office and provide a link for the office staff to manually reply to both positive and negative reviews on any one of dozens of social media review sites. Even better, there are systems that provide a managed service so the staff doesn’t have to remember to respond to reviews they are notified of. Reduction in productivity is key in revenue generation!

New Patient Welcome When a person chooses to become a new patient of yours, you can send them a thank you communication recognizing that they have many options for care and that you appreciate their confidence in you. Sending ahead new patient paperwork is also helpful in workflow and timeliness of productivity. The patient appreciates shorter wait times, and the staff appreciates having full information on the very first visit.

Provider Referral Appreciation Referrals from other providers results in more revenue. Be proactive and show your appreciation to those referring providers. Oftentimes 22

Happy Birthday

Proactive Prescription Recall How many offices, and staff members, have productivity time that is used up by organizing prescription refills and refill visits? There are marketing systems that, when the life of the prescription is known and logged, will communicate with patients in advance of their script running its course and remind them to schedule an appointment to mitigate the lapse of their prescription. A win for workflow and productivity, again!

Patient Surveys & Escalation Quality Assurance is a big part of patient loyalty and retention. Escalating and responding to positive and negative survey responses is imperative to ensure proper patient experience, along with quickly and easily identifying locations and staff members who are positively, or negatively, impacting the office and/or brand. That’s a lot of information, communications, and time that could really slow a practice down costing it more money than the efforts being invested. As technology increases a problem arises in quantifying the data to know if it’s actually making a difference in your practice. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to make a positive transformation without having a clear understanding of where one is currently and has been historically. Many times this data is spread out across several technological fronts making the collection and deciphering of information tedious and, often times, confusing. Fortunately, there are systems that exist that not only effectively implement new communication standards and practices, but, also, make understanding the results simple, clear, and readily available. However, technology provides for systems to be able to real-time analyze data and provide practice analytics at a glance. Rather than spending hours combing through data from multiple reports looking for trends and trouble spots, there are processes out there that put all of the pertinent practice performance metrics and key performance indicators in one central location. How beneficial would it be to easily understand how your practice is performing against its goals, whether staff members are achieving or exceeding goals, if you are meeting, or exceeding, insurance reimbursement rates, how many patients are being seen each month, whether or not that exceeds your average number of monthly patients, know your average lifetime patient production and so much more? How would having all of this technology and information readily available cause a transformation in your practice and patient retention? It’s easy to see that taking advantage of technology in your practice could alleviate stresses on lines of revenue, workflow operation, and common complaints from patients. Communication technology is advancing at a phenomenal rate, and having the ability to tailor it to your practice’s needs is a benefit that will only cost you if you don’t take action using it in your practice.

Doctor’s Life Tampa Bay

Issue 1, 2016


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Doctor's Life Magazine Vol. 4 Issue 1, 2016  

The Leading Tampa Bay Publication for Physicians Featuring Business, Lifestyles and Opportunities

Doctor's Life Magazine Vol. 4 Issue 1, 2016  

The Leading Tampa Bay Publication for Physicians Featuring Business, Lifestyles and Opportunities

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