Phoenix Cardiac Surgery probably never thought they would be a poster child for HIPAA safeguards, but this 5-physician cardiothoracic practice in Prescott, Arizona has become famous for something no medical practice wants to be famous for – not protecting their patient information.
Today’s HHS Press Release reads as follows:
HHS settles case with Phoenix Cardiac Surgery for lack of HIPAA safeguards
Last week I gave a talk to a group of Transworld salespeople from across the United States. Transworld is the top name in collections across a variety of industries and they asked me to give a presentation on “How to Use Social Media to Reach Your Target Audience,” with the target audience being…people like you and me: managers, administrators, healthcare executives, and pretty much anyone in healthcare dealing with patient accounts receivables.
I described how much harder it is for today’s manager to make time to meet with salespeople. More than ever administrators are pulled in a million different directions, and it is not unusual for a manager’s priorities to shift from day to day and hour to hour. This must be incredibly frustrating for the salesperson who is trying to keep things flowing, but it’s a fact of life in healthcare.
In my talk I featured the work of two gentleman who really get how social media can positively impact sales. Chris Brogan is a prolific author and consultant who always has an interesting perspective on social media. I discussed his ideas around the sales circle as opposed to the sales cycle. You can read about it here.
At long last, my two-year contract with my current cell phone carrier is over and I am free again! Of course, I immediately turned to my son & partner Abraham for some sage smartphone advice. Here’s the conversation we had.
Mary Pat: What things should I consider when choosing a smartphone?
Abraham: Smartphones are so much more than just telephones, so the first question is always “How will you be using it?”. If you really just need to make the occasional phone call from the road and nothing else, you probably don’t even need a smartphone. A simple, old-fashioned flip phone, or bar-style device will do just fine. For everyone else, picture the things you’ll want to do on the phone. Is it mostly a business device- checking emails, editing documents, and having access to critical data? Or will you also want to watch streaming videos in your downtime, play games, or take pictures and movies to send to friends and family? It’s easy to look at a phone’s capabilities and stereotype what the average user would be like: iPhones seem so hip, Blackberrys seem so serious, Androids seem so geeky. The reality is that all smartphones on the market today probably have enough muscle (and apps!) to make anyone happy. So choose a phone based on features, comfort, and specifications – not the label or the image that comes with it.
It’s easy to think of your mother of Mother’s Day. Reminders are everywhere as we are nudged to think of her on the day everyone else does. Commercials, calendars and signage on jewelry shops beckon: “Mother’s Day is Next Sunday!” Of course we think about our Mothers more than just one day a year, but maybe we don’t always make the connection between the things we do everyday: our habits and customs, our values – and the people that guided us into becoming who we are.
I probably have as close a working relationship with my Mother as anyone in the world: we are partners in a corporation, and I work with her and her practice closely. We talk at least once a day about the business, our customers, her recent experiences at work, things we’ve read or heard, and our future plans. It’s a vital connection, to know someone as both Mother and business partner – full of incredible opportunities for growth (and for difficulty), and it’s one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Working with Mary Pat side by side, it has been remarkable to me to notice how many of the things that are ingrained in me are habits she taught me long ago.
So on this Mother’s Day, I’d like to take this time to be mindful of some of the things my mother has taught me over the years that still inform how I go about being in business with her, my clients, and the rest of the world every single day.
1. “Do the right thing. And for the right reasons.”
As a businesswoman, Mary Pat is never hesitant to point out the financial benefits of a particular choice or action – but that isn’t always the driver of her decision making process. The right thing to do is usually the best business decision- but more importantly, it’s the right thing to do.
I remember working on an IT inventory system for my mother one summer, and having her walk up to my desk at about 5 minutes to 5PM one afternoon and saying “Are you almost done for the day?” I told her I was almost finished, but that the clock hadn’t quite hit 5, so I was going to work for a few more minutes.
“That’s great Abraham. Get into the habit of never cheating the clock. Make it a habit to be honest and do the right thing.”
To this day I hear her voice when I wonder if I should cut a corner, or treat even a little bit of someone else’s time capriciously.
2. “Never let them see you sweat.”
Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned, and people don’t always behave nicely. But how you handle it is up to you. The pressure, obstacles, and people who are giving you trouble should nonetheless be met with a smile, and the calm and composed demeanor that you are still in control of yourself- even if you aren’t fully in control of the situation.
3. “Always ask a question first.”
A natural extension of her advice in #2. When you are upset at a person or a situation, you should begin any critical conversations about the problem by asking a question. “Can you tell me what happened”? “Did you understand when I told you to…”? “Am I understanding this situation correctly…?”
Asking a question starts the conversation, ensures that you get the critical information straight from the source, and if done in a direct, dispassionate manner, sets a professional tone for the conversation.
4. “Forget ’em!”
You can’t please everyone, and trying to usually just makes everyone hate you equally. So you have to have a strong reflex for the people in the world that just won’t be satisfied (or reasonable, mature, realistic etc…) about a situation. Forget ’em! The more time you spend thinking about how crazy or rude someone has been, the worse the damage is to you – in time and effort wasted. Actually, mom’s full expression is closer to “Forget ’em and feed ’em fishheads!”, and employs more colorful language, but the point remains – you’re going to have to forget a lot of goofy people in this life. So do it quickly, and get back to the people worth focusing on. Forget ’em!
5. “Do your best”
Maybe the most quintessential piece of Mom advice for everybody, “Do your best” can seem nebulous and idealistic at times – but not when you have strong role models. It’s one thing to have someone suggest that you do your best – they are inspiring words, but the message sometimes comes from so many different places and people that it can get lost. People need to be inspired for those words to really take effect on them, and growing up, the inspiration to do my best came not only from my Parents’ words, but also their actions. My Mom and Dad lived the words “Do your best” to my Sister and I, and not only told us, but showed us the value and practice of that idea – and they taught us to show other people too.
Mary Pat is still, and always will be more of a Mother to me than a partner. She is not only an inspiration to me in terms of the things she taught me as a child, but for things she still teaches me everyday.
To have a Mother that continues to teach and inspire me everyday is a blessing that I have the pleasure of celebrating 365 days a year.
Last week I accepted an offer from Mary Pat to become the COO of the new corporation she has formed, Manage My Practice, LLC.
Together, we are excited to move MMP to its next phase.
Now the Medical Manager’s Secret Weapon is even more powerful by offering products and services that give your practice added flexibility and efficiency and that meet Mary Pat’s undisputed standard for practice-tested quality.
Helping people get the most out of technology is a passion that has kept me interested in the MMP blog. Mary Pat’s curiosity and confidence in bringing innovation to the industry has made her one of today’s leading voices on the ways healthcare organizations and managers can get the most bang for their technology buck. I have been honored in the past to be invited to demystify some of the current technological trends as the author of the category of posts called “Learn This” for MMP.
As COO of Manage My Practice, I hope to expand that role to not only add more and better actionable content to the blog, but also to introduce readers to a carefully selected line of MMP-approved products and services that they can use to take their organization to the next level.
We call this new offering Manage My Practice Tools (find it here)and we hope you will find it as useful and valuable as you do the Manage My Practice blog.
The first MMP Tool we offer you is MMP FileConnect. Built on the Box platform, it allows your staff, providers and external stakeholders to share files over desktop, web and mobile platforms. MMP FileConnect allows you to create a living repository of your documents, calenders, spreadsheets, images, portable document files (PDFs) and more.
As a cloud-based filing cabinet and as a project management and communication tool, MMP FileConnect lets you and your team manage administrative and critical data tasks securely from wherever you are.
I am thrilled to be joining the Manage My Practice team during this exciting new time, and beyond heading up the new MMP Tools service, I’ll be expanding my presence on the blog with a special focus on making sense of the latest technology news and products with a constant focus on one question: “How can this help Medical Practice Managers?” I hope you will leave your comments on this post or write to me here with topics you’d like to see me write about on MMP.
I look forward to providing the answers you’ve come to rely on finding on Manage My Practice.
We’re not quite ready to roll out my new web, social media and cloud solutions company, but I am extending a special offer through the end of April for the Manage My Practice readers who want to know what this cloud business is all about.
Read my post here on 76 ways to use the cloud in your medical practice.
Here’s how it works.
1. Contact us during the month of April and we’ll get you set up on a free Box.net account – no credit card required!
2. We’ll do a phone assessment of your pain points and tell you how a cloud can help.
3. We’ll teach you how to use Box.net and how to organize your practice or yourself on the cloud (but you’ll have to do all the heavy lifting!)
If you are interested, contact Abraham Whaley here.