Published 8/1/2009
Peter Pollack

Two heads are better than one

Practice management course puts physicians, managers “on the same page”

During the current economic downturn, it’s more important than ever that physicians understand the business aspects of practice management. And because the Economic Stimulus Act of 2009 includes incentives for physicians to adopt electronic medical records (EMRs), it’s also important that orthopaedic practices know how to tap into those funds.

The 4th annual Building Essential Skills for a Successful Practice course will help you meet both those goals.

Sharing ideas, identifying strategies
“The unique feature of our course is that we have equal representation of orthopaedic surgeons and practice managers on the faculty and among the participants,” says course director Kevin Bozic, MD, MBA. “Many other practice management meetings are primary taught and attended by practice managers alone. This is a great opportunity for both groups to come together and share ideas.”

During the 2½ day course, the expert faculty will cover the most important and timely issues for an orthopaedic practice. Through general lecture sessions and small breakout groups, participants will learn to identify financial and operational strategies, evaluate technological efficiencies, and understand government and regulatory issues for maximum benefit.

Administrators from the American Association of Orthopaedic Executives will join physicians in leading breakout groups, based on practice size. Discussions will focus on team approaches to management and operations, technology, contracting, and revenue management.

Anticipating the release of guidelines under the Economic Stimulus Act of 2009 related to EMRs, Dr. Bozic notes that attendees will learn how to take advantage of the Act in implementing EMRs in their own practices.

Overall, 70 percent of the lecture content is new for 2009, including three new major topic areas: improving the bottom line, quality and safety in practice management led by course co-director Michele M. Zembo, MD, MBA, and EMRs. The material presented will complement the Practice Management Symposium for Practicing Orthopaedists held prior to the AAOS Annual Meeting.

Small investment, big returns
“Many of the subjects covered in this course are new to orthopaedic surgeons,” says Dr. Bozic. “A small investment in time and money can provide a large return in terms of understanding the nonclinical issues that affect our practices, and a wider perspective on how to prepare for the future.”

Among other opportunities in this course, participants will learn how to do the following:

  • Implement strategies to increase revenue
  • Manage overhead and negotiate new contracts
  • Identify and implement good governance practices
  • Initiate strategic plans
  • Understand factors that drive business arrangements with hospitals
  • Work with hospitals to improve quality and efficiency of care
  • Develop plans for purchasing EMRs
  • Implement EMRs into orthopaedic practice
  • Implement best practices and build strong practice teams

Attendees at the course can earn up to 20 hours of continuing medical education credit. The course will be held at the Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown in Albuquerque, N.M., on Oct. 2-4, 2009. Enrollment is limited to 150, so early registration is advised.

Peter Pollack is a staff writer for AAOS Now. He can be reached at ppollack@aaos.org