HEALTHCARE   Leave a comment

Is your Private Practice healthy?

When starting out, the main aim is to minimise costs and that probably applies to every practice or business. As your practice grows you may realise you need extra help with things, as administrative duties are taking up so much more of your time and giving you less time to concentrate on what you do best, seeing and treating patients. Everyone needs a work/life balance.

With a PA/Secretary how much more time would you have? It is hard to juggle both private practice and NHS work. Maybe it’s time to analyse your private practice and decide what is the best way forward.

One way to keep costs down would be to have a Virtual Medical PA/Secretary. This means that you would not have any overhead costs for an office, not to mention holiday or sick pay. Technology would already be set up.  

The benefits:-

  1. More time for you personally and less working hours.
  2. More efficiency.
  3. Someone you can trust, who can be the first contact and deal with any queries and help build your practice.
  4. Available out of hours – if anything urgent needed.

COVID has proved that it is possible to work from home with relative ease.

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Posted June 12, 2020 by cmm in Blog

Working from home – good, bad or both?   Leave a comment

Covid-19 has certainly made everything and everyone in this world look at things differently.

It has helped communities come together and neighbours, maybe even getting to know people they never knew before and helping them out. I think we have all had time to look at our lives and see the good, the bad or the indifference.

Another good thing is the environment has benefitted from some of the changes we have had to make. There are certainly more birds in my garden and I even saw a Stork the other day when out walking my dog. It landed on a fence nearby, but unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo before it flew away! Countries have seen more animals making an appearance in towns and cities, like goats in Llandudno, ducks leading their little ones across Roehampton Way, London last month and the Police trying to direct them 🤣 Coyotes in San Francisco and many more cities all over the world invaded with other animals. Hopefully this will be a reminder to all that we should preserve our environment, take care if it and of course love animals.

One thing that has significantly changed for a lot of people is working from home. People have found use of the new technology that is out there, some that they never even knew existed. Some Consultants I am sure never thought they would use telephone consultations of video consultations but here we are.

My daughter is a dance teacher and is even doing lessons by video link, which the students enjoy and value immensely during this difficult time. I have found Zoom which we use for a family quiz every Sunday evening.

Maybe now is the time for everyone to sit back and ask what can I change to benefit my work/life balance, to spend more time with the family and friends or even more ‘me’ time.

Also does my PA/Secretary need to travel into the office every day, could they work from home some days at least, if not all the time. Is it essential to be on-site every day? I’m sure many people are working from home currently due to Covid-19 and find it is possible.

Many people are very new to this concept and maybe not everyone welcomes it. I know people sometimes think what about the phones, filing, diary management, contact with people, you must be in an office on-site to make it work. This present situation though has shown it’s not absolutely necessary. Phones can still be answered, emails replied to, documents can be saved and available to people, diaries can be managed and shared remotely and even telephone or video consultations can happen. The technology is there and whatever problems may arise, there is usually always a solution that can be found. Nothing is impossible! Also, think of the money saved not having to pay overheads for an office on-site for your secretary and extra costs involved. Support from home is a real option and it works.

I have worked mainly from home since 2009 full-time, so it’s second nature to me. I can learn any new software quickly and work my way around it with relative ease. I remember being told once by a computer programmer “just tell it what you want it to do and don’t be afraid of breaking it”

So if you need any help, advice or PA/secretarial support whether temporary, permanent or ad-hoc please don’t hesitate to contact me. I am happy to help either as a one-off, occasionally, or all the time and even give free advice if required.

One of the most inspiring things we must all remember about COVID-19 and the year 2020, is how important our key-workers are and how much they have given and recognise their contribution to this crisis, sadly sacrificing their lives in some cases. I am sure they will all be remembered and missed so very much.

Take care everyone and stay safe.

Cathy

cathy@cmmedical.co.uk

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Posted May 18, 2020 by cmm in Blog

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New regulations/laws concerning Private Healthcare – Article 22   Leave a comment

Are you up-to-date concerning new regulations/laws for your private practice?

From 31 January 2018 new compulsory regulations were implemented by the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) as recommended by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The reasoning behind this gives the patient more choice and a better understanding of the whole process. It gives more information to patients and keeps them updated about possible costs, treatments and generally makes the whole private sector more transparent.

Any new patient must be informed in advance about outpatient fees, both new and follow-up consultations and any cancellation fees that may be applicable. Consultants also need to confirm whether they have any financial interest in the hospital or the equipment there and provide a list of insurance companies they are recognised with.

The letter is required to be posted or emailed to every private patient (self-pay or insured) prior to their first consultation.

                                                                                    

The next phase of the PHIN compliance is required from the 28th February 2018.

Consultants are required to send patients information concerning their treatment and test fees following their first consultation.

PHIN has suggested that all letters are sent within 2 working days of the outpatient consultation or prior to the procedure whichever is sooner. Alternatively, if the patient needs time to decide whether to proceed, then the 2 days apply from the date of agreement for treatment between the Consultant and the patient. However, if the patient undertakes a treatment or test on the same day as the consultation, verbal confirmation of the details can be given to the patient instead.  This confirmation must include the following.

  • The reasons for the tests or treatments
  • Your estimated fees
  • Confirmation that the Hospital will make a separate charge
  • If insured advise the patient that they should contact their insurance company to get pre-authorisation for the test or treatment.
  • Inform the patient that they can obtain independent information about the quality of the private treatment offered at the relevant Hospital and other private providers from the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) www.phin.org.uk

There is a legal requirement to give this information, therefore it may be advisable to state in your clinic letter that this information has been provided verbally.

The news from some hospitals is that Consultants not complying with this will be in breach of the practicing privileges.

I hope you find this information helpful and informative. There may be some Consultants and PA/Secretaries that are not aware of these changes.

It will mean more work, but I do think it will helpful to patients, as some are unaware of the process and they will be able to make a more informed decision.  It should also safeguard Consultants regarding fees, as patients will be told in advance of costs and treatments etc.

Please feel free to interact and let me know your views and comments.

Cathy

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Posted February 20, 2018 by cmm in Blog

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Doctors no longer need medical secretaries   Leave a comment

That is, according to a recent article in the BMJ written by Des Spence.
Needless to say, the response pages make very interesting  reading. It is easy to see how many doctors obviously realise how difficult their jobs would be without a trusted, loyal and well-trained Medical Secretary.
Read for yourself at  http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f226?tab=responses
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Posted April 20, 2013 by cmm in Blog

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Can email benefit both the doctor and patient?   Leave a comment

With email, patients would probably have more immediate access to the Consultant and/or Secretary and potentially get their problems and concerns dealt with more quickly.
Although these points are valid some areas of concern remain. Most patients would probably like being able to use email, being able to report any symptoms or concerns at any time of the day without having to bother with the telephone. For simple questions that are straightforward and to the point, email may well be beneficial to all concerned. Making appointments may also be more convenient.
However, email could possibly create inefficiency and confusion. Mostly everyone has either sent or received an email in which the content somehow did not fully convey the point intended. This can lead to even more confusion and inefficiency. Another real possibility could be that a diagnosis may be missed if a consultation is replaced by an email communication, or the patient might not fully understand the discussion.  Doctor/patient interaction cannot be duplicated through email.
Those who favour using email may state that only medical issues of a “minor” degree would be used for email status. A lot of patients however may not know what is a “minor” issue and what is more serious.
Maybe email communication can work in a safe and efficient manner only if certain restrictions and systems are in place. Here are a few suggestions:-
1.  Security – which is a must.
2. Receipt confirmation – possibly a receipt confirmation in the form of an autoreply, so that the patient will know right away if their message has arrived safely.
3. Limitation – messages could possibly be limited to so many characters –  ? 140 like Twitter. If over this amount then maybe a phone call or consultation is required. This also limits people from sending too long emails, after all sometime people can steer from the subject in question. Again the reason for the email or question asked may not be clear or easy to understand.
4. Email delivery – Maybe it should be stated that email is read only once per day and each email sent will have only one reply. This prevents the back and forth that can happen with email use which again may be time consuming and inefficient
So there are just a few things to consider regards email communication with patients. It is obviously a personal choice but I hope this helps in some way and maybe gives you ideas to consider regards email communciation with patients.  Let me know what you think?
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