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To Succeed, Urology Practices Must Change With the Times

Marcia Frellick
Published: Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014

stethoscopeEntrepreneur James Feldman, chief innovation officer of the Chicago-based company Shift Happens!, calls himself “a doctor for business.” He offered urologists gathered at the 2014 LUGPA Annual Meeting a prescription for forward movement.

Just as a customer may say price is not an issue when paying for the best shoeshine in town, patients need to know that their urologists are offering them something they can’t get anywhere else, Feldman said. 

“It’s not that you want to be the best at what you do,” he said. “You want to be the only one that does what you do.”

Among Feldman’s ideas for change:

  1. Have patients pay up front: Take a note from the movie business, where customers pay before they see the film, Feldman said. In some cases, Medicare/Medicaid payments can take 90 days, and if coverage is canceled in the meantime, the doctor is on the hook to chase down payment from the patient.
  2. Be open about your practice’s future: Share that information with employees and let them know what it takes to succeed, he said. If you have an employee who’s doing an exceptional job, pay him or her more. It beats the cost of having the employee leave and needing to retrain someone.
  3. Engage in social media marketing: “If you don’t know how to do it, ask your grandkids. If you are not on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and everything else, you are missing a huge opportunity that could also derail your practice,” he said. According to Pew Research Center, social media adoption rates for those 65 and older have tripled from 13% in the spring of 2009 to 43% in 2013. Social media can also help you remind patients to come to an appointment, or to take their medicine.
  4. Engage people through their mobile devices: Call to follow up after an appointment, just as your family’s veterinarian does.
  5. Check yourself out on a Google search. Feldman said that adding his middle initial, “D,” to the search moved him to the number-one listing. “You have to be memorable,” he said.

The bottom line is change. Patients expect it. “You have to stop business as usual and start innovation as usual,” he said.

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