How to make the most of your interview

Ask about referral patterns, technology and the group’s financial stability when interviewing for your first or next practice

By Lisa Vognild, FASPR | Job Doctor | Spring 2011


Taking time away from training or a busy practice to interview for a position takes a significant investment of your time. With travel, most interviews will require two or three days.

Being prepared with a list of questions to ask—both before you accept an interview and during the interview itself—will help you make the most of your time and leave the interview thoroughly informed.Quote

You will be asked by almost everyone that meets you, “Do you have any questions?” Having a list on paper will prevent you from having to come up with them on the spot. Also, it will show each interviewer that you are engaged in the process, are prepared, and have a genuine interest in the opportunity.

You will find that, after several interviews, the information from each place will start to run together. You will ask yourself, “Was that at that place or the other place?” So during your interview, jot down a few notes to refer back to later. More importantly, at the end of your visit, write a brief summary of the pros and cons and any uncertainties you have. more »


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Transcription gone high-tech

Emdat’s DaRT enables EMR auto-population—sans data entry

By David Geer | Spring 2011 | Tech Notes


Congressional Budget Office forecasts predict that approximately 90 percent of physicians will be using health IT, which includes EMRs, by 2019 as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

But according to a recently published white paper from the AC Group, a healthcare technology consultancy in Montgomery, Texas, it can take a physician an average of 140 minutes per day to fill EMRs using standard data entry. That adds up to hundreds of hours per year of additional tedium for the physician, whose time is clearly better spent seeing patients.

A new technology, Discrete Reportable Transcription (DRT), enables physicians to populate EMRs without the burden of extra typing. DRT technology transforms physician dictations into well-defined notes that it can then insinuate into the EMR automatically, dropping each piece of data neatly in its predetermined space.

Physicians seeking to maintain or increase their availability in the era of EMRs should investigate EMR technologies where DRT technology supplementation has occurred.

Emdat is one example of a popular dictation technology that incorporates DRT to make EMR population seamless. more »


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Protect the value of your future earnings

Protect your most valuable asset—the earning power that your training has provided you—with insurance.

By Michael Lewellen, CFP | Financial Fitness | Spring 2011


As advisors to young physicians across the country, we are often asked, “What is the most important thing I should be doing financially in the first years of practice?” Our answer is simple: “You need to build a solid foundation.” The application of the concept of a foundation is different for each physician. However, as with patients, we often see very common symptoms and can make some generalizations about what is involved in creating a financial foundation for many young doctors.

Foundation building for young physicians depends on where they are in their personal lives (single, married, kids, etc.). Also, it can and needs to begin before the physician even leaves training because, like most things, establishing the right habits are key to building a financial foundation.

Most young physicians will see a significant increase in their incomes when they begin their practice. Up to this point, they have typically been living paycheck to paycheck, and a jump in income by five-fold or more can be a bit euphoric. With a “spend now and plan later” attitude, many young physicians will indulge a bit and make large purchases. Often taken too far, they find themselves once again living paycheck to paycheck. The attitude then becomes: “Once I make partner in a few years, I’ll address my financial plan…”

At the outset of their medical career, physicians in training are told “first, do no harm.” As advisors to young physicians at the outset of their financial careers, we give similar advice: “First, build your foundation.” That foundation includes protecting your future income and earning potential with disability and life insurance. more »


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Your Green Job Search

Does being green matter to you? Then make green initiatives something you look for in your job search, too.

By Sally Herigstad | Feature Articles | Spring 2011


Susan Gamble, M.D.

“…Someone who is able to take a green initiative for their office probably has it all together so they’re able to focus on the environment,” says Susan Gamble, M.D., a third-year internal medicine resident at Yale who is considering how the environment will play into her own job search.

Susan Gamble, M.D., a third-year internal medicine resident at Yale, is job hunting. She’s looking at many factors as she decides where to practice, but at first glance, the greenness of a practice or facility isn’t necessarily one of them.

That’s not to say she isn’t concerned about the environment.

“I want to be somewhere where I can control it (environmental responsibility) in my own life,” she says. “At work, I haven’t thought about it.”

But after talking about environmental consciousness and health care, Gamble is more inclined to consider it as a criterion.

After all, it’s a good sign the practice is paying attention to other things, as well.

“It’s impressive, because you think someone who is able to take a green initiative for their office probably has it all together so they’re able to focus on the environment,” Gamble says.

Green practices may sound like code for solar panels and recycling bins, or perhaps waste management. Environmentally responsible initiatives in medical practices and hospitals go far beyond stereotypical “green” projects, however.

Take Denver Health, for example. When the health care organization built the new Park Hill Family Health Center, which opened in 2009, they designed it to reduce heat and energy consumption, according to spokesperson Chris Poisson. But they didn’t stop there. more »


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10 signs of a well-run practice

Questions to help you decide how well a practice is run

By Teresa Odle | Feature Articles | Spring 2011 | Uncategorized


Jill Stoller, M.D., managing partner

A lot of young physicians have their eyes opened when they get into a practice that they haven't evaluated," says Jill Stoller, M.D., managing partner of Chestnut Ridge Pediatric Associates in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

Location, location, location. Along with compensation, it’s one of the first considerations when physicians job search. But you can golf most anywhere and ski in most northern and Rocky Mountain states. Even if you return to your hometown, you might have several practice opportunities from which to choose. So don’t overlook how well a practice runs when researching places to work.

Most physicians would agree that resident programs don’t prepare physicians well for the business side of medicine. Jill Stoller, M.D., FAAP, managing partner of Chestnut Ridge Pediatric Associates in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., says there isn’t much emphasis on practice management. “But I think it may be changing a little bit,” says Stoller, who also chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Section on Administration & Practice Management. “A lot of young physicians have their eyes opened when they get into a practice that they haven’t evaluated.”

Physicians don’t better vet practices because they may lack the business savvy to do so or they run out of time. Many simply must adjust after so many years in medical school and residency. Ryan Mire, M.D., FACP, is an internal medicine physician with a multispecialty practice in Nashville, Tenn., who has been in private practice since 2002. more »


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9 Post-residency Mistakes

Learn these common errors now to know what to avoid in your early career

By Vicki Gerson | Feature Articles | Spring 2011


Mark Potter, M.D., family medicine residency program director believes finding people you can trust to work with is very important.

“Keep in mind that if your spouse or partner isn’t happy, you won’t be happy with your career decision,” says Mark Potter, M.D., director of the family medicine residency program at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago.

Now is the time to pat yourself on the back. You’re a physician ready to tackle the world after years of studying, long hours and low pay. Although you’re in your final year of residency, you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and unsure about the future. You want to make wise practice decisions, but are you really prepared to do so?

Since you’ve worked exceedingly hard to reach this point, it’s important to spend time developing a career path for your future and avoid career mistakes.

In order to provide practical advice for residents upon completing their residency, PracticeLink Magazine sought the opinions of five physicians who focused on nine major mistakes residents should try to avoid. They believe these miscues will have a crucial impact on whether you will be happy with your medical career or not.

Mistake 1: Indecisive fellowship action
For many residents, applying for a fellowship or finding a job is a difficult career choice. Start looking for a fellowship approximately 18 months to two years before your residency ends—even if you’re not sure you want to pursue a fellowship, says Karen Dallas, M.D. Dallas is completing a one-year fellowship program with the BloodCenter of Wisconsin, in association with the Medical College of Wisconsin. “I waited until the last year, and it was almost too late,” she says. “When I applied, many of the programs weren’t accepting applications anymore.”

When Dallas was accepted for her fellowship at the BloodCenter of Wisconsin for her position as a hematopathologist, she received a letter of acceptance, which she signed. “There was nothing listed in the letter as to what would be required of me or exactly what I was agreeing to. The only information I had was the pay.” For example, she didn’t know whether she’d be required to do a research project or be on call every day. She thought it would be “worked out” when she got there. more »


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Ithaca, N.Y.: Mini-metropolis of the Finger Lakes

Ithaca, N.Y., features exquisite natural beauty, an off-the-beaten-track location, world-class universities and a growing populace attracted to “the simple life.”

By Eileen Lockwood | Live & Practice | Spring 2011


You could say that Ithaca is Exhibit A for the kind of society envisioned by America’s founding fathers. “People here are engaged,” reports Phyllisa DeSarno, the city’s deputy economic development director. “Everybody comes to city council meetings. There are all different kinds of opinions.”

Brian Bollo, M.D. and Family

The Bollo family moved to Ithaca from the New York City area—and gained hours back in family time each week that used to be spent commuting. I "wanted to be in a hospital and more involved in a place where I could serve people instead of scrambling for patients," says Brian Bollo, M.D.

At the Chamber of Commerce, membership services and public relations director Rob LaHood echoes the thought. “The thing that strikes me most is how everything is a big decision. Everyone chimes in on everything—and all these people have something to say.” In other words, it’s hard for a few politicians to foist unwanted laws on these engaged townspeople.
Sometimes, though rarely, a public meeting becomes the best show in town. DeSarno cites the legendary night when city officials were pondering an extensive upgrade to the road system between the main city and the hospital on the west side of the Cayuga Lake inlet. The proposed new road would have created faster access to the hospital and alleviated heavy traffic on another city street.

The project became “extremely controversial,” recalls Matthys Van Cort, then the city’s planning and development director. Environmentalists were especially concerned about damage to wooded land along the way. “Altogether,” Van Cort says,  “there were too many meetings to count, maybe more than a hundred. This thing got argued to death.”

The most dramatic moment, though, was the arrival of a woman costumed with perky ears and big bushy tail. Championing all furry forest denizens, she seized the microphone and barked, “Who will speak for the squirrels?”

(Bottom line: The squirrels’ land was mostly preserved.)

more »


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Cruise ship physician

A prime cabin, 24/7 food, diversity and the cruising life await

By Marcia Travelstead | Career Move | Spring 2011


NAME: Adriana Yates, M.D.
TITLE: Senior physician
EMPLOYER: Carnival Cruise Lines

Adriana Yates, M.D.

Adriana Yates, M.D.

What do you like best about being a cruise ship physician?
A lot of things. The ship is amazing! As a doctor, you are a senior officer, so you have the best quality of life on board. You have one of the best cabins with a steward to clean your cabin and wash your clothes every day. You have food available 24 hours a day. You are provided with uniforms and have the opportunity to meet people from more than 60 different countries. You can go to different lunches and dinners that are available for guests and crew. You can go to the lounges, shows, work out at the gym or get off at the ports of call. You also have 24-hour Internet access.

What don’t you like about being a cruise ship physician?
The only thing I don’t like is being away from my husband, family and friends for a couple of months. The good thing is that my husband can come with me, but not for long periods of time. more »


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Who’s making what?

More than three-quarters of physician specialties saw increased compensation in 2009

By PracticeLink Staff | Spring 2011 | Vital Stats


Who's Making What

American Medical Group Association 2010 Medical Group Compensation and Financial Survey 2010 Report Based on 2009 Data Survey at a Glance. *M.D. reported, as opposed to Ph.D. Not all specialties are included in this chart.

WITH THE COST OF EVERYTHING RISING—from food to gas to tuition for schools— here’s some good financial news: Overall, physicians in 76 percent of specialties saw their compensation rise in 2009.

Physicians specializing in pulmonary disease, dermatology and urology saw among the biggest compensation increases; for specialties overall, the average was a 3.4 percent rise.

The highest-paid specialties reported include cardiac and thoracic surgery, orthopedic surgery and subspecialties, cardiology-cath lab, and diagnostic radiology-interventional (in bold at right).

Those compensation figures are detailed in the American Medical Group Association’s 2010 Compensation and Financial Survey (2009 data).

Notes the report: “Many factors influence a change in physician compensation, some of which are market demand for certain specialists and new technologies or new procedures that impact the physician’s overall productivity.” more »


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