Efficiently-run practices—ways to keep costs in line

D R Sweeney
Internist 1986, 27 (2): 35-6
Containment of health care costs is a serious concern today for everyone, including the local, state and federal governments, industry and the private sector. Physicians are looked at as the "bad guys" in the cost containment battle as publicity focuses on the high cost of office visits, procedures, tests and hospital charges. When you add to that the additional image of the "rich doctor," it is easy to understand why so much attention is paid to the doctor as the perceived reason for the high costs of care. Medical practices are also guilty of fostering that image as patients perceive an inefficient approach about the business side of medicine. And, as an inefficient office usually adds to a practice's overhead, someone must be expected to cover that extra cost. That someone, unfortunately, is the patient--either by a direct payment of increased fees or by the added cost of the insurance premium. What follows are some basic items of good business management that should help cut your practice expenses, whether you are solo or part of a group practice. The streamlining of your practice should enable you to keep your costs--and your fees--in line. And, as medicine changes with health maintenance organizations and preferred provider organizations becoming more of a factor, it will be essential for your practice to be cost efficient to compete.

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