April 8, 2011

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April 8, 2011

April 8, 2011

What Doctors Hate Most About Being Employees.
During the most recent recession, many doctors left private practice and went to work for hospitals and group health systems in the hope of enjoying greater security and relief from the business and financial pressures of running private practices. However, many soon learned that the grass isn’t always greener on the hospital side of the street.

Loss of Clinical Freedom
Like other businesses, hospitals and large groups aim to be profitable. They place strong emphasis on quality improvement and measurement metrics – metrics that are often tied to the doctor’s compensation. Physicians accustomed to private practice may not adapt readily to such measurement metrics. They feel they provide excellent patient care and do good work, and they question the metrics involved, which are often based on EMR and evidence-based medicine. Critics say that these doctors are simply resistant to change.

Loss of Business Control
Hospitals and large groups typically control all business functions, from how the phones are answered to how patients are scheduled and the doctors are compensated, and everything in between. Unfortunately, physician billing and collections are weaknesses for many hospitals. Physicians may resent loss of control over that particular function, especially when production bonuses are part of their compensation. Poor billing and collections processes can have a negative impact on their paychecks.

Changes in Compensation
As with other businesses, hospital employers can change their wage requirements unexpectedly. For example, physicians are often given a guaranteed income and production incentives based on seeing a specific number of patients per day. Hospitals are notorious for changing their minimum production requirements without changing the production incentive. They can increase a physician’s patient visits by 5, 10, 15 or more per day while keeping compensation the same. Physician shortages make some hospitals eager to employ more doctors at higher salaries – much to the chagrin of staff doctors who have been employed longer at lower salaries.

Beyond the Call of Duty
Some doctors are unhappy about the extent of their call duty in hospitals. Newly hired physicians must often take more call duty than their senior colleagues. Often, they are on call duty without additional compensation. According to one survey, less than 20% of physicians are compensated for being on call while more than half must take call duty without pay.

Less Job Security
Some hospitals hired too many physicians just prior to the most recent recession. Though their typical employment contracts covered 3 to 5 years, many allowed either party to terminate the contract with just 6 months’ notice. As the economy reduced patient visits, many hospitals found themselves laying off physicians to cut costs.

Physicians who are considering leaving private practice to become employees would be wise to consider the downsides as well as the upsides to hospital or large group employment contracts.

How to Use Online Analytics to Track Results
Whether you are a private practice owner updating your practice’s Facebook page or you’re paying an employee or online marketing partner to update your Facebook page, it is important to compare posts to see what type of content your fans value. Unlike more traditional media, with online analytics you’ll get precise measurement of your results.

Precise Measurement Instead of Guesswork
To see how many impressions and how much feedback each online post receives, use Facebook Analytics. Navigate to the “insights” section of your Facebook Fan Page and click “See All”. This brings you to the Facebook Analytics dashboard, where you can view user statistics and interaction statistics.

You can measure the quality of your posts over time, too. Click on the interactions tab. This section recaps your most recent posts, the dates and times they were posted, how many impressions each received and the amount of feedback per impression. You can import these statistics to an Excel spreadsheet once a month, right from the Facebook Analytics dashboard. This way, you can archive your results and identify trends over time.

Posts are sorted chronologically, which also lets you compare impressions and feedback. You can see how many times each post was viewed and the percentage of reactions per impression. Facebook measures the overall number of times that posts have been seen on Facebook (on your wall or other walls), but not the number of unique users who saw the post. Measuring impressions and feedback over time can give you a better idea about which posts engage your audience.

Measurement Over Time is a Good Indicator
Measuring impressions over time is an excellent way to judge your page’s activity. If impressions are rising, you’re probably adding new fans on a regular basis and offering compelling topics that keep people interested. If your impressions drop over time, it probably means that your fans are not returning to your page regularly.

By monitoring feedback between posts, you track what type of content best engages your audience. When comparing feedback between posts, consider what content you’re offering. Is it a special offer, price discount, news about a new procedure or service, health tips, an announcement or something else? Once you’ve categorized your posts according to your offering, compare the feedback on each to see what best engages your audience.

For example, if you have an Ob/Gyn practice and you post women’s health tips and procedure information, compare the feedback you receive between each type of post. If 20 people click the “like” button when you post a health tip and only 5 people click the like button when you post procedure information, it could mean your fans value health tips, not technical procedure info.

Tracking the effectiveness of your content will give you a better indication of what people value from your product or service. The key is to categorize and monitor your posts over time. Then, use that information to post content that your fans will view, “like” and comment on.

For more information about social media or if you need help designing a social media strategy for your practice, call Practice Builders at 800.679.1262.