Are Independent Urologists a Thing of the Past?
For many, it’s the culmination of the ultimate American dream: becoming a physician and finally running your own private practice.
But while medical school prepares urologists on how to detect and treat cancer, kidney stones, UTIs, incontinence and so much more, many physicians enter the world of private practice with minimal training on how to actually run a business. And as administrative and financial burdens increase, physicians are increasingly reconsidering their choice to remain independent. A recent AMA study1 found that fewer than half of US physicians are now practice owners, a decrease of nearly 10% since 2012. In fact, according to AUA’s 2021 census report2, only 52% of US urologists were still in private practice.
Where are these physicians going? Many are choosing to join large health systems or consolidated groups under private equity, insurers and staffing firms. But for some urologists, the freedom that comes with remaining independent outweighs the benefits of becoming an employee.
Read more in our blog, Independent vs. Private Equity in Urology.
For urologists who choose to remain independent, there are tools available to help their practices thrive — even for those without an advanced business degree.
Practice Management Software to Serve as Your Admin Hub
Beyond a urology-specific EHR that helps you finalize your visit notes before the patient even leaves the room, fully integrated Practice Management software can serve as your practice’s core administrative system, facilitating key business processes and helping run everyday office management duties. From administrative tasks to scheduling appointments and providing automated patient appointment reminders, practice management software can even help you do more with less staff, including managing documents, billing, posting payments and viewing reports.
Doing more with less staff? Read more about how to rethink your staffing strategy.
Analytics for Urology to Unlock Actionable Insights
As a urologist, having access to data is an integral part of how you care for patients. From tracking PSA levels over time to interpreting urinalysis results, numbers provide the info you need to draw conclusions and make diagnoses about your patients’ health. In much the same way, Analytics brings your clinical, financial and operational data together to provide comprehensive reports on your practice’s health. It can also help manage population health by finding patients lost to follow-up for high-risk diagnoses and can help track outbound referrals to identify specialized services worth bringing in house. It can even help you analyze the clinical and financial impact of your treatment decisions over time.
Patient Engagement Tools to Add Convenience and Loyalty
As advances in technology bring more knowledge, power and interactivity to individuals, it’s essential for your urology practice to keep pace. Urologists are often eager to find ways to allow patients to take more responsibility for their own health outcomes. Easy-to-use patient platforms, like PocketPatient™, a smartphone app for iPhone and Android, allow patients to request prescription refills, message staff and access their medical records. While urology patient populations tend to skew older, you might be surprised to learn how many of your aging patients use their smartphones to keep in touch with their families, and many of them may appreciate the ability to communicate with your office this way, too.
Plus, as many urology practices are doing more with less staff, it’s important to take advantage of tools that can help make it easier for patients to schedule their own appointments, complete paperwork online prior to their appointments, and even complete patient surveys so you can determine what your patients really think about their experiences with your practice and use that info to make any tweaks with how you are running your practice.
If you enjoy the freedom that comes with running your own practice but are struggling with the administrative burdens that come along with independence, having the right software tools in place can help — even if you don’t have an advanced business degree.
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*2022 Black Book™
1Carol K. Kane, PhD, “Recent Changes in Physician Practice Arrangements: Private Practice Dropped to Less Than 50 Percent of Physicians in 2020.” American Medical Association, 2020.
2”2020 | The State of the Urology Workforce and Practice in the United States.” American Urological Association, 2021.
This blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or medical advice. Please consult with your legal counsel and other qualified advisors to ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations and standards.