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Practice Managers | June '13

Maybe It’s Just Me

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that sometimes our industry could use a little bit of a kick in the pants. For the past 4 years, there has been all kinds of talk of downturn, spiraling, economic doldrums, and overall depression. If you listen too closely to those at the microphone, you may think that the sky is actually going to fall. Although there have certainly been some down years, there are steady signs of recovery coming from many sectors. Although many businesses were lamenting the downturn and feeling sorry for themselves, two things are certain: some will come barreling out of this economy poised for growth, and many others won’t.


The generation before mine talks about where they were when JFK was shot. Generations X and Y have different landmarks. Professionally, we will look back on these past few years as a turning point in our profession. In my practice, our doctors were early adopters of femtosecond technology used in conjunction with cataract surgery (we have termed it ReLACS). Only one other thing in the span of our entire medical practice has brought about such thorough operational house cleaning and change, and that was the design and building of a new clinic and surgery center built around ReLACS. Nothing else has breathed more life and excitement into our program as this exciting technology. It is true that practices adopting ReLACS need to do their homework, set up their processes, and communicate effectively with their patients and referring doctors. It’s also true that once they do, they can create new value for their refractive program, which in turn creates an even more balanced refractive-cataract program. Patients, when they hear about the technology, they plain want it.

Still, many providers say femtosecond laser cataract technology is unneeded, unwanted, and unwelcome at any price. Many have remained outspoken in this regard. Maybe it’s just me, but opportunities to make patients happy while creating economic pathways to better use our advanced technology don’t come around very often. We will all look back and remember how we handled this one.


The category of microinvasive glaucoma surgery or MIGS is very exciting. I can’t remember the last time I heard myself say, “Isn’t glaucoma exciting?” Those days however, are here. This article is not intended to communicate the merits of each offering; however, one doesn’t have to dig too deep to find real promise of an effective treatment that fills a defined need. For patients (customers), there is real hope for a treatment somewhere between their very complicated drop regimen as a first line of defense and more dramatic surgical treatments as the last hope. Because these treatments may be indicated in as many as 20% of glaucoma patients, real innovation has breathed life into a frustrating specialized portion of our field.


Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t know many practitioners who woke up one day excited to shop for and implement their electronic health record or EHR solution. Many who have implemented their solution are overwhelmed by the go-live, the decrease in productivity, and the effect on customers’ experiences. The hope of efficiency at the point of service has fallen flat.

Meanwhile, some solutions have been building far beyond the standards of Meaningful Use to serve a consultative role with the practice and the ASC. New offerings claim bulletproof coding, defense from audits, and increases in revenue, all derived from properly charging in the first place. Medflow, for example, has even partnered with Kevin Corcoran’s Corcoran Compliance Connection (C3). Its data suggest that 48% of all charges are submitted to payers incorrectly. When implemented properly, revenue increases while risk decreases. Although many practitioners may prefer the audit to the EHR implementation, there is real advancement in this arena to optimize your practice’s efforts.


So, what’s the difference? Why are some programs going under and others bopping their heads to the beat on their way in to work?

I’ve long felt the difference to be all of you. The surgeon sets the tone in the medical setting. You are the economic engine that drives all efforts, standards, goodwill, and mojo. Your fervor is contagious.

And so, although we all wish reimbursement was increasing and regulatory requirements were lifting, those who direct their energy toward creativity and innovation will have the day. Instead of trying to stop the oncoming train, find additional tracks on which to run your engine.

Matthew Jensen, MBA

Matthew Jensen, MBA, is the Executive Director of Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and he is a certified Experience Economy expert. Mr. Jensen may be reached at (605) 328-3903; matt.jensen@sanfordhealth.org.

June '13