Published 9/1/2007
Steven E. Fisher, MBA

For practice management assistance, turn to AAOS

Members benefit from education, products, services, one-on-one counseling

Whether you want to reduce expenses, improve your business management skills, or find out how others have addressed a problem, the AAOS is ready to support your efforts through its Practice Management Group (PMG). Under the direction of the new Practice Management Committee, the PMG provides education, products and services, and one-on-one member assistance.

If you’re wondering whether to install an electronic medical records (EMR) system—or have already made the decision, but need help in sorting through the various offerings—the Primer on Electronic Medical Records (EMR) can help. It’s free, and can be downloaded from the Academy’s online practice management Web site,

The PMG is currently developing a second primer on Picture Archiving and Communication Systems, or PACS. The PACS primer will be completed in time for the 2008 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, and will also be available for electronic downloading from the Web site.

Have you found the practice management articles in AAOS Now helpful? If so, you may want to check the expanded versions of these articles—which range from effective orthopaedic recruiting to training and orienting new practice employees—at the online practice management Web site.

The Web site is organized into the following seven topic areas: private practice operations, academic practice operations, news briefs, advice center, -9 coding, compliance, and transitions. Content is regularly updated and, during the past year, the volume of information has doubled.

Do you want to really “hear” what’s going on? The practice management audio consults series features interviews with experts on subjects of interest and importance. (See related article on page 34.) They’re a great way to get a variety of opinions and advice on a wide range of practice management topics.

While reading, surfing the Web, and listening to audio programs can all be done on your own, sometimes it pays to be part of a group. Each year, on the day before the AAOS Annual Meeting begins, the full-day Practice Management Symposium for Practicing Orthopaedic Surgeons is held. In 2008, David Teuscher, MD, will serve as course coordinator. Check AAOS Now and the AAOS Web site for more information about the symposium as it is finalized.

The PMG also provides input and support for other educational activities, such as the Practice Management Symposium for Residents, the Building Essential Skills Course for a Successful Practice, and the on-line Practice Management Self-Assessment Examination. For more information on these products, visit www.aaos.org/products.

Products and services
Many AAOS members are already benefiting from the first practice management product offering, the Group Purchasing Program, powered by Esurg Corporation (see article in the August 2007 AAOS Now, online at
www.aaos.org/now). This program enables AAOS members, particularly those in solo and smaller group practices, to save significantly on their purchases of medical, surgical, office, and pharmaceutical products. To learn more about the Group Purchasing Program, visit either www.aaos.org/esurg or www.esurg.com/aaos.

The success of the group purchasing program has encouraged the Practice Management Committee, under the direction of Stephen P. Makk, MD, MBA, to begin examining other practice and member support programs such as insurance and travel. AAOS staff are currently developing business plans for these ventures.

Individual attention
Because each practice is different, one-on-one member assistance is essential. Thus far this year, the PMG has responded to more than 120 inquiries from members, on topics ranging from how to comply with the Stark regulations through what level of training temporary staff need to receive and how to improve a group’s professional relations.

Responses are provided via email and over the phone. If the question is of general interest, it may become the focus of a Question of the Month or an article in the online practice management center, or even a presentation during one of the practice management courses.

What’s next?
The PMG is already looking into several new initiatives—from additional practice and member support programs to additional primers and the feasibility of creating an orthopaedic practice database. To meet the needs of orthopaedic practices across the country, the AAOS and the Practice Management Committee need to understand the demographics of those practices. The PMG is also investigating the possibility of being able to offer Academy members access to selected practice management publications at discounted prices.

The AAOS wants members to rely on the PMG as their primary resource for practice management-related issues or concerns. I welcome your thoughts and ideas, and encourage you to contact me.

Steven Fisher, MBA, is the manager of the Practice Management Group at AAOS. He may be reached at (847) 384-4331 or sfisher@aaos.org.