Welcome

Celebrating Over 75 Years Of Service

The American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA) represents over 2,700 Board-certified otolaryngologists and health care providers. Otolaryngology, frequently referred to as Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT), uniquely combines medical and surgical expertise to care for patients with a variety of conditions affecting the ears, nose, and throat, as well as commonly related conditions. AAOA members devote part of their practice to the diagnosis and treatment of allergic disease. The AAOA actively supports its membership through education, research, and advocacy in the care of allergic patients.

"Dedicated to enhancing knowledge and skill in the care of the allergic patient."

ADVOCACY UPDATES

EpiPen Shortage Update

FDA has a drug shortage database which includes reasons for and updates on drug shortages. Today the…

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Breaking News on USP Chapter 797

An updated draft of USP Chapter 797 was released today. Updated Chapter 797 Posted for Public Comment: Separate Requirements…

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Congress Makes Changes to MACRA

The second year of the Quality Payment Program (QPP) authorized by the Medicare Access and…

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Changes in MACRA

Macra 101 Image

Before the close of 2017, all physicians must take action to avoid the 4 percent cut that will be assessed in 2019 for not participating in the new Quality Payment Program (QPP) authorized by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).  Read More

CMS Announces Changes in MACRA Implementation Timeline. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced major changes to the implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Re-authorization (MACRA).
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Upcoming Dates

12/01/2018: Research Grant Cycle
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04/01/2019: 2019 Fellow Exam Application Deadline
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06/01/2019: Research Grant Cycle

06/7/19: Membership Application Deadline to be eligible for AAOA Member rate for the 2019 Basic Course

07/31/19: Membership Application Deadline to be voted in at the 2019 Annual Meeting and to be eligible for AAOA Member Rate (FREE) for the 2019 Annual Meeting
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EDUCATION

Different Advanced Course

What is it in today’s otolaryngology practice that is resonating as a hot topic? Where are the novel treatment strategies? What is today’s typical otolaryngology practice or more specifically the typical AAOA member’s practice?  These are the questions we try to address when building out our Advanced Course in Allergy & Immunology. Read More

Codes/Guidelines

CMS Announces Changes in MACRA Implementation Timeline. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced major changes to the implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Re-authorization (MACRA).
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IFAR

Editor in Chief Search
The ARS-AAOA IFAR LLC is pleased to announce its search for Editor in Chief, term beginning April 2020. Read More

IFAR Impact Factor: 2.135

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Now Available

Changes in Managing Practices

Mission

Working together with AAOA staff, volunteer leadership and members will enable us to have a positive impact on our members’ practices.

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Live and Online CME

2018 Advanced Course in Allergy & Immunology
December 6-8 | Atlanta, GA
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2019 Basic Course in Allergy & Immunology
June 27-29 | Minneapolis, MN
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2019 AAOA Annual Meeting
September 13-15 | New Orleans, LA
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AAOA Clinical Insights
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PATIENT CORNER

OTC Allergy Medications

There seem to be more and more medications available for allergy treatment that  you can now purchase over the counter.
The FDA is allowing previously prescription only drugs to be made available directly to the consumer without a prescription — adding more to the over-the-counter options in the healthcare aisles.

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News and Updates

FDA Approves First Generic Version of EpiPen

The Food and Drug Administration approves the first generic version of EpiPen and EpiPen Jr.…

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Social and Networking Events at the 2018 AAOA Annual Meeting

This year’s Annual Meeting assures to be not only educational, interactive, and practice-centered, but also…

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2018 AAOA Annual Meeting – Important Dates

August 22 - Extended Hotel Discounted Rate Deadline Room Rate Room rate is $219 (plus 15.5%…

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Managing Your Practice

Marketing Your Practice or Strategic Practice Management?

Excerpted from Keith Borglum

Many otolaryngologists and their practice administrators confuse marketing and advertising, thinking marketing is limited to advertising to attract new patients. Often stereotyped, marketing is more than newspaper and radio ads, billboards, and direct mail campaigns.

Marketing is any activity that moves your practice in a desired direction. Directions might include increasing income, deterring new competitors, retaining market share, shifting payer patterns, introducing new services, recruiting new providers, entering new marketplaces, or combating negative publicity.

There are many activities that might be considered “good practice” or “good management” that fit under the broad definition of marketing. These include strategic planning, patient relations, insurance plan contracting, recall systems, practice hours, practice acquisition, office location, and ancillary products and services.

Otolaryngology practices consider many of the above when defining the scope of their practice or the scope of each physician within the practice.  Offering allergy diagnosis and management expands your practice opportunities and opens strategic areas to highlight.

Below is a cliff note summary of things to consider when strategically considering your practice goals, scope, and marketing tools to help you deliver on your practice vision.

Have a Written One-Year and Five-Year Strategic Plan

Practices with a plan typically out-perform practices without a plan. The first and most important part of a marketing plan is the goal, as it is a foundation for all the other decisions. First, develop your five-year goals, since your one-year goals should fit within the context of your five-year plan. Your five-year goal should be strategic and more broad in scope.

Each year, you should evaluate and amend next year’s goals based upon whether or not you achieved this year’s goals. Concentrate on developing strong, well-crafted (specific), measurable goals. If you do not define what success will look like, you will have a hard time navigating toward your desired end.  Limit your goals to no more than five or you will set yourself up for failure or mediocrity.

Where you are in your practice will impact your marketing goals.  Defining your 1- and 5-year strategy allows you to focus on where you are and where you want to be to help you build the right bridge.  Say for example, you are just adding allergy to your scope of practice.  Your goals may focus on developing your allergy practice — “achieve a consistent monthly allergy caseload targeting 10 new allergy patients a month to grow your allergy patient load to 100 patients actively on immunotherapy within a year.”

Based on this, you map your marketing plan to help reach this allergy patient load:

  1. Who is your potential patient base?
  2. What is your payer mix/coverage?
  3. Self-assessment availability, affability, ability, location, capacity — both staff and facility resources, experience, reputation, etc.
  4. Competition-assessment
  5. Market-assessment demand, payers, economy, demographics, geographic-shift, changes, etc.
  6. Budget — what are you willing to spend up front to launch the new service? (3 percent to 8 percent typical, 10 percent or more to enter a market or for elective services.)  What direct costs in equipment and supplies do you need to invest?
  7. Decide strategies internal/external, conservative/assertive, hundreds of choices (Allergy testing: type? Immunotherapy options?  Defined times for allergy shots, etc)
  8. Create an implementation calendar, include production lead-time, seasonality, pacing, etc.
  9. Engage support services, involve staff, implement the plan
  10. Review and adjustment track and review results monthly, adjust plan as needed, experiment

Tune-Up Your Recall System

Do you know how many AR diagnoses undergo allergy testing?  What is your conversion rate to immunotherapy?  Immunotherapy fall off rate?  Building in a system to better understand these items will help you build better patient compliance.  Maybe patients are falling through the cracks with scheduling problems between work up and allergy testing.  Maybe your hours of availability for shots is too restrictive for your immunotherapy patients. Developing a chart review system to audit 100 charts over 5 days to discern any patterns or opportunities to improve service delivery and improve patient compliance. Follow up on any non-compliant patients in the mix.  Talking to the patient who has dropped off the immunotherapy schedule may give you insights.

Demonstrate Availability, Affability and Ability

Everyone is too busy today.  How can you add a level of convenience to your patients?

  • See new patients and referrals as soon as possible, preferably within the same week of the call.
  • See patients on time  (putting them in the exam room on time only to let them wait is not on time).
  • Address the patient by name.
  • Make an effort to engage the patient in light conversation.
  • Ask patients about their kids, work/school or the weather.

Don’t overlook the value of your front office and scheduling staff.  These folks are your patient interface,  Their attitude sets the stage for how the patient or referring physician perceives the office and your practice. We all prefer to interact with people we like so make sure everyone who interacts with your patients is friendly and pleasant.

Patients often perceive higher ability in physicians who have affiliations with academic centers or who publish articles in peer-reviewed journals. Post this information to your practice website, practice brochure, and in patient communication materials.

Get Out and Network Again

Just because you have been in practice in town for years, does not mean everyone knows you. Network with others. Meet the new PCPs and FPs in town.  Reach out to your local NP or PA community. Change your mindset from meeting strangers to building and cultivating your referral network.  So much of ENT is seen acutely by your primary care colleagues. Use practice trends and new guidelines or therapeutic interventions as a way to keep in touch with these colleagues.  Also, don’t overlook the referral follow up thank you.  Remember, your patient already has a relationship with their primary care doctor.  Keep them in the loop on your diagnosis and management and thank them for the referral.

Keep Your Name in Front of Patients and Referrals

It is estimated that it takes five or more encounters with your practice’s name for it to be recognized. Your name should appear anywhere potential patients would look. Your practice’s name, address, phone number, and website address should appear on every single piece of paper that leaves your office. This includes all those patient-education pamphlets, invoices, receipts, care and guidance instructions, pre- and post-surgery instructions.  Anything they will carry out of the office.  Remember, patients like to carry out information to read up on the diagnosis and recommended treatment after they get home.  Information from you is better than what they will yield from a google search alone.  But keep in mind, they will google it.

Review all your payor provider lists to help assure your information is accurate.  Consider scheduling options like ZocDoc to have a broader outreach.  Review your healthgrades and related doctor review sites to consider the comments posted.

Have a Web Page

Here again is a marketing strategy that depends on your goals and plan. Today’s patients generally do not search the internet for physicians (symptoms yes).  They start with their insurance provider directory.

Build a website that reflects your scope of practice and serves as a complete resource for the patient.  Can they book an appointment online?  Complete and submit all your patient intake forms? Handle pre-authorization, if needed? Can patients communicate with your office via a secure HIPPA compliant messaging service?

Your office brochure and patient-education materials should complement the information on your website. Make sure any potential patients find your Web address on all your print and media materials.

In addition to patients, consider your website as a tool for referring physicians, especially if you serve a large region or want to highlight subspecialty interests, like allergy, in ENT.

Your website does not need to be fancy, state of the art, but it does need to be reliably functional, user-friendly, with useful content and patient education tools and resources.

Maintain a Commitment to Quality

Focus on providing extraordinary service to patients to increase patient retention and patient referrals. While Yelp has shown that people love to complain anonymously, people still like to tell friends and family about good experiences.  And the patient experience is not just the medical care, but the whole process from making the appointment to paying the bill with the care sandwiched in the whole mix.

Think about examples of extraordinary service you have experienced.  Anything you could adopt? Pay attention to how problems and disputes were resolved.  How can you implement similar practices? Regardless of your commitment to patient care, you will need to find ways to manage billing disputes, missed appointments or tardiness, and related challenges that are just part of the game.  Modeling experiences that left you satisfied is a good starting point.  Consistency in implementing your defined approach on these types of challenges among your staff is key as well.  No one likes being the victim of upward delegation, nor does anyone like the folks above them caving when they took the brunt from a disgruntled patient trying to implement your defined protocol.

Drop Your Worst Insurance Plans

Review your scheduling patterns and payor patterns.  If you are booked more than two weeks in advance more than 75 percent of the time are you really looking to expand? If one or a handful of your payors dominate your patient mix is it the right mix.  You need to know where your payors fall in terms of reimbursement.  Within your scope of practice, some of you payors may be better than others or better for certain procedures. Consider shrinking your patient panel by dropping poor-paying insurance reimbursement contracts. By limiting your practice to better-paying contracts, you can change your patient volume/income ratio.  If you don’t need to see as many patients for the same income, you can spend more time per patient and reduce wait times. Drop one plan at a time until a desirable balance of patient-load, wait-time and income is achieved.

* * *

Excerpted from….

About the author:

Keith Borglum is a medical practice-marketing consultant with Professional Management and Marketing in Santa Rosa, Calif. He is a member of the AAOE Consultant Directory, the AMA ConsultantLink, director of the National Association of Health Care Consultants and an editor of Healthcare Marketing for the Open Directory Project providing content-selection for Google, AOL-Search and Yahoo-Search. He consults nationally to physicians on practice management, marketing, practice valuation and sales and group formation issues.

Spotlight/News

Practice Management

AAOA brings together a variety of resources to aid you in the management of your practice and your career. Please stop back often or subscribe to our updates to benefit from our offerings.

Macra

CMS Announces Changes in MACRA Implementation Timeline. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced major changes to the implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Re-authorization (MACRA).
Read More

President Mims Message

April 2017

Working together with AAOA staff, volunteer leadership and members will enable us to have a positive impact on our members’ practices. Read More

News

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Medical therapy for Chronic Rhino-sinusitis

The indications for surgical management of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) are poorly defined..
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Risk Factors

Updates on Risk Factors for Testing for Immunology. Read More

Become a Member-Join Now

As a member, you will be eligible for registration fee discounts on all AAOA CME functions and all of our patient education and practice management resources. These savings alone can offset most or all of your dues. Join Today!