Practice Category

Posted On May 8, 2018By Brandon NapolitanoIn News, Practice

Long Wait Times Turn Patients into Former Patients

With patients having more choices of healthcare providers—and settings—than ever before, understanding what drives them to a given location can mean the difference between success and going out of business. In fact, one out of five patient participants in Vitals’ ninth annual Physician Wait Time Report say they’ve switched physicians specifically because of long wait times. Even more (30%) have walked out on an appointment because they were made to wait too long. The cost is far greater than losing that one patient visit, however; Vitals found there’s a directRead More
Austism Spectrum Disorder
Children wind up in the urgent care center when they’re not at their best—sickly, often cranky, and not necessarily in the most compliant frame of mind. And that’s “typical” kids. The challenges can increase exponentially for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). How staff and clinicians deal with the patient and family in the urgent care center or emergency room can make all the difference in the world, though, facilitating a better clinical experience and a more positive visit overall, according to a study just published in the Journal ofRead More

Posted On April 20, 2018By Brandon NapolitanoIn News, Practice

Is it Time to Retire the Pain Scale?

Depending on who you listen to, responsibility for the opioid crisis in the United States lies with “Big Pharma,” physicians, patients, insurance companies…all of which is true to some extent. It’s a complex problem borne out of a legitimate need to help ease the pain of patients who are suffering. However, a new KevinMD blog post suggests that removing a very noncomplex tool—the pain scale—from patient interactions may be a big step in rebooting how we talk about pain itself and, by doing so, reducing risk inherent in relying onRead More
New Data Highlight Where Clinicians Can Focus on Controllable Risk Factors
Data published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association point to a need for all clinicians to focus on controllable risk factors for disease and mortality. For urgent care clinicians, that may mean being assertive in probing for patient habits that could be contributing factors related to their presenting to you on a given day. The article points out wide differences in the burden of disease from state to state, attributed to key factors related to lifestyle choices—and all warranting “increased attention” from providers. In seeking answers toRead More
Tread Lightly When Commenting on Other Clinicians’ Capabilities—or Face the Consequences
Honest, respectful feedback can spur subordinates, superiors, and coworkers to do their best work. Comments that could be perceived as overly critical or, especially, bullying are both divisive and potentially harmful to all parties concerned, however. A recent blog post on the website DoctorDiscourse illustrates this in painful detail. It recounts how three physicians at three unrelated facilities lost their jobs or believe they were “blackballed” for seeming to discount the contributions or capabilities of advanced practitioners (ie, nurse practitioners and physician assistants). One of them was fired soon afterRead More
Another Urgent Care Operation Goes Mobile

Posted On April 13, 2018By Brandon NapolitanoIn News, Practice

Another Urgent Care Operation Goes Mobile

It may be premature to call it a trend, but stories of urgent care operators taking their services directly to patients continue to pop up around the country. It’s becoming a more appealing prospect to payers, too. Most recently, Mercy Care Plan granted its members access to DispatchHealth in the Phoeniz, AZ metropolitan area. The service allows patients who may be too ill or frail to travel to the emergency room or an urgent care center to stay home while a provider comes to them. DispatchHealth, whose CEO is aRead More
Remember, Patients Are Likely to Forget Your Instructions

Posted On April 3, 2018By Brandon NapolitanoIn News, Practice

Remember, Patients Are Likely to Forget Your Instructions

You may have already assumed this based on repeat visits by “frequent flyers” in your practice, but a recent study published in PLOS One confirms that without prompts, the majority of patients forget at least part of what they’re told by physicians. One culprit revealed by the study: limited time for provider–patients engagements. Patients surveyed remembered only 49% of their doctor’s instructions on their own; 36% did better with prompts, and 15% either could not remember the instructions or recalled them incorrectly. The authors point out that this deficit canRead More
News Flash: Patients Hate to Wait—and That Matters When Choosing a Provider
Nearly a third of patients taking part in a survey from Vitals say they’ve walked out on a physician appointment because they had to wait so long—and 20% have been so put off by wait times that they’ve switched doctors altogether. No surprise, then, that the Wait Time Report also reveals that 84% of people believe the amount of time they have to wait to see a medical provider is either “somewhat important” or “very important” to their overall experience during a visit. All this in spite of the factRead More
Many directions arrow road sign

Posted On March 13, 2018By Brandon NapolitanoIn News, Practice

Why Signage and Coding Matter—to Patients

A couple visiting Duluth, MN over the holidays needed to get their baby to a doctor on New Year’s Day. Being from Portland, OR they didn’t have a provider in town. So, they checked out reviews of local providers on Yelp and decided the urgent care center at nearby St. Luke’s hospital would be a good choice. It was the right call, as they got their baby in to see a friendly, efficient doctor in a reasonable amount of time. Their positive experience jumped the tracks when they were handedRead More
After too many mass murders involving guns in the U.S., more than 1,000 physicians have signed a pledge published in the Annals of Internal Medicine to proactively raise the issue of firearms safety with patients. Annals moved to offer the pledge in light of evidence that many people killed by guns (including suicides) were in contact with their healthcare provider shortly before their deaths. Ironically, the idea of publishing the pledge was raised well before the most recent carnage at a Florida high school; it was first discussed internally afterRead More