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Succession Planning, continued from page 6 Business, about one-third of family businesses survive into the second generation. Roughly 12 percent remain viable into the third generation. Yet only 3 percent operate into the fourth generation or beyond! “From what I’ve seen, you usually have a founder with a strong entrepreneurial gene who has created an idea or product,” said Weiss. “They then build a company around it. In most instances, they hope and pray that the kids share the same entrepreneurial gene and want to continue the family business. However, that’s not always the case.” Even though it’s rare, sometimes children come into a family business with the energy and talent -- matched with an entrepreneurial gene – to improve it. “If handing the business off to a family member isn’t in the cards, you still have other options for the business to flourish,” said Weiss. “You can find talented components, such as hiring a professional CEO, and build the company/infrastructure around it. For some, this might be a better route, but then one must consider how to build an estate instead of counting on the business.”

Cover the Bases

Having business partners makes it even more important to have a plan in place so all parties are prepared for succession, noted Weiss. “With partners involved, it can be very complicated,” he said. “It’s incredibly important to have candid conversations with

them in a business to discuss what would become of a company if something unfortunate happened to one of its owners. Sometimes, the business has to be sold to cover estate taxes if a partner dies. Stakeholders in multi-physician practices need to be prepared. What happens if one of them leaves, dies or is injured?” Therefore, having the right insurance program, including life and disability coverage is a critical component to a succession plan. “Injury, as opposed to death, is a higher risk, higher probability scenario for many,” explained Weiss. “For instance, a surgeon who hurts his hand won’t be able to perform his job.”

Reconcile Goals

“Have a realistic picture of what your company’s worth if you’re considering selling it,” said Weiss. “Going through an advisor can help develop a capital strategy plan based on the end goal. It’s important to get a true valuation of company. Business owners need experts to help maximize gains in these areas depending on your corporate goals – max dollars from a sale in three years – versus personal goals – wanting to maintain the company and minimize the estate gap.”

Pay Attention to Trends

Right now, hospitals are snapping up physician practices. “Physicians Associates recently sold to Orlando Health, an example of this (con-

solidation) trend playing out locally,” said Weiss. “I see this trend continuing and physicians should be proactive to maximize their transaction by starting to plan early. If practitioners are thinking about selling to a hospital and they haven’t gone through the process of succession planning and business positioning, they need to now.” “Clark & Daughtrey recently sold to Lakeland Regional Health Systems, an example of this (consolidation) trend playing out locally,” said Weiss. “I see this trend continuing and even expanding beyond hospitals to include other segments as well. Physicians should be proactive to maximize their transaction by starting to plan early. If practitioners are thinking about selling to a hospital and they haven’t gone through the process of success planning and business positioning, they need to now.”

Be a Good Client

Avoid the frequent phrase: “I’m too busy.” “Estate and wealth planning deserves high priority and can be very risky should you leave it uncared for,” said Weiss. “We help them think through it, but we bring solutions to the table so they don’t have to figure it out by themselves. Some might believe the process of facing one’s mortality and putting a plan in place is uncomfortable … but at the end, they’re always relieved.”

Creating Engaged Communities

Dixon said the ability to engage and connect in a community setting is one of the most powerful aspects of a social business model. Today, patients with similar ailments can tap into a network to share experiences, information and support. That said, he added the communities could be built with parameters to allow providers to monitor and moderate discussions. “It’s open communication, but at the same time, you introduce controls,” he explained. Although it does take some time to manage, Dixon added, “The scale and the reach you get with an online community far exceeds what you could ever get from an in-person visit.” That element also al10

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lows physicians to disseminate messages about wellness and disease management to large, targeted populations, which will be increasingly important in new accountable care delivery models. For physicians, the community setting lets providers who might not be geographically connected engage each other. One of Igloo’s clients is the American Academy of Family Physicians. The organization launched the Delta Exchange as a way for physicians from across the country to become more aligned. “They were able to coordinate all the different best practices and overall learning that various physicians had and bring each other along. It was a great way to be able to coordinate a geographically diverse set of practitioners,” Dixon said. Similarly, community settings that encourage discussion and idea exchange could work equally well for other groups including researchers, mid-level providers and practice managers. Internally, an intranet community allows for easy communication and collaboration. Using the same types of business tools employed in external communities, staff members can easily review documents, communicate information broadly across geographic locations, vote on policy, and share ideas.

Security

“Security has to be built in as a core set of requirements in any social business tool,” said Dixon. “The technology is there,” he continued. “It’s one of the central things you look at when deciding which social

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The Move from Social Media, continued from page 9 outside of a doctor’s visit,” Dixon said. He added that by mid-2005, those repositories had become more like communities where people with a similar interest could connect with each other. “Fast forward to where we are today, and what we really have are health networks. They really are communities, but they’ve introduced much richer communication and collaboration tools,” Dixon continued. He noted tools like microblogging, wikis and forums open the path to allow discussion around content within a community setting. “The reason social business tools are so popular is not only do they work they way you do, but you can choose the one that’s most appropriate for the task at hand,” he added.

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business tool provider makes sense.” He added, “Any enterprise-class social business software firm can not only lock down the individual permissions but also has the ability to audit everything that has happened in that community.”

Avoiding Information Overload

Dixon said email is in danger of becoming less and less useful because of information overload. The same caveat also applies to information imparted through social business tools. “If you don’t implement properly, you risk making that problem worse,” he said. However, social business tools can be offered in a very targeted manner through channels. Individuals choose which channels are of interest to them and subscribe. Drilling down even further, there are generally options within the channel to refine what information the subscriber receives and how.

The Bottom Line

With accountable care organizations and patient-centered models, supporting patients and colleagues by providing timely, pertinent information in an easilyaccessible manner has become even more critical, Dixon pointed out. “That means you need to be able to collaborate and communicate internally and externally. From a common sense perspective, those that do that best will attract the most patients and keep the most patients … those who don’t will find the opposite.”

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