Welcome to a Better way

December 29, 2008

Do you want to be satisfied with your practice and work life?

Do you want to be satisfied with your practice and work life?

Of course you do. But many physicians, sadly, are not as happy with their professional lives as they have a right to be. For instance, when Merritt Hawkins, a physician-recruiting firm, last year asked primary-care physicians whether they were happy, nearly 22 percent said they would not become doctors if they had it to do over again.
One in five.

Yes, I know - that’s primary care, not radiology, and yes, primary-care physicians do tend to struggle more with career satisfaction (for a variety of reasons) than specialists like you. Still, if the mail we get at Physicians Practice, the practice management magazine where I am the editorial director, is any indication, there’s a general unrest that exists among physicians of all specialties.
Doctors just aren’t as happy as they used to be. And that’s a shame, not least because the malaise in the physician community is being felt by patients, who are responding with increasing resentment of their own. What to do? That’s where Your Best Practice: A Practice Management Supplement for Radiologists comes in. In these pages, you’ll find practical, straightforward answers and advice on dealing with some of the toughest practice management challenges radiologists face.

For instance: How to deal with the growth of teleradiology? For better or worse, technology is changing the way radiology is practiced. In our cover story on call coverage (page 4), we lay out the six essential strategies for adapting to a changing landscape. Our Technology article (page 10), offers tips on how to keep your expensive equipment in tip-top shape. No specialty is more dependent on highpriced gear than yours, so you’d better keep your equipment operational.

What you will not find here are clinical, peer-reviewed articles or indepth coverage of disease states. We’ll leave that to the clinical journals. Instead, our goal is to help you solve the practice management problems that take up too much of your time so you can get back to the work you love: practicing medicine.

You didn’t go to medical school to hassle over payment issues or deal with endless paperwork, insubordinate staff, or the hundreds of other nonclinical headaches that now seem part of your daily routine. Yet your ability to handle these things effectively is often the difference between a happy and unhappy work life.

There was a time when many physicians were made a little queasy by talk of the “business of medicine.” The introduction of such topics distracted from the purity of their craft, they felt. But in today’s healthcare climate, we think the opposite is true: Running a more efficient office is really about getting back control of your practice and your life. That’s a good thing for you and your patients. It’s good for medicine. The editors of Diagnostic Imaging know that, and that’s why they’ve partnered with Physicians Practice to offer Your Practice. I’ve spent years writing about, traveling to, and speaking with physicians all over the country. Here’s what I know: The happiest physicians are the ones who run the most efficient offices. It’s not because they make more money (although they do). It’s because they have more time to spend with patients - and their own families. And it’s not as hard as you think.

In many radiology practices that I visit and hear from, there are obvious ways to improve office management, from tightening financial policies to implementing efficiency-generating technologies, to taking a more streamlined approach to physician work flow.

We hope you like this first-ever issue of Your Best Practice: A Practice Management Supplement for Radiologists. We’d love your feedback: Tell us what you think of this publication and what you’d like to see in future issues.