Taren Grom, Editor
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PUBLISHER Lisa Banket EDITOR Taren Grom CREATIVE DIRECTOR Marah Walsh DIRECTOR OF SALES Darlene Kwiatkowski CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Virginia Kirk Denise Myshko Elisabeth Pena Kim Ribbink Alex Robinson Lynda Sears Copyright 2002 by PharmaLinx LLC, Titusville, NJ Printed in the U.S.A. Volume Two, Number Seven PharmaVOICE is published eight times per year by PharmaLinx LLC, P.O. Box 327, Titusville, NJ 08560. Postmaster: Send address changes to PharmaVoice, P.O. Box 327, Titusville, NJ 08560. PharmaVOICE Coverage and Distribution: Domestic subscriptions are available at $106 for one year (8 issues). Foreign subscriptions: 8 issues US$220. Contact PharmaVOICE at P.O. Box 327, Titusville, NJ 08560. Call us at 609.730.0196 or FAX your order to 609.730.0197. Contributions: PharmaVOICE is not responsible for unsolicited contributions of any type. Unless otherwise agreed in writing, PharmaVOICE retains all rights on material published in PharmaVOICE for a period of six months after publication and reprint rights after that period expires. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Change of address: Please allow six weeks for achange of address. Send your new address along with your sub scription label to PharmaVOICE, P.O. Box 327, Titusville, NJ 08560. Call us at 609.730.0196 or FAX your change to 609.730.0197. Email: email@example.com. IMPORTANT NOTICE: The post office will not forward copies of this magazine. PharmaVOICE is not respon sible for replacing undelivered copies due to lack of or late notification of address change. Advertising in PharmaVOICE: To advertise in Pharma VOICE please contact our Advertising Department at P.O. Box 327, Titusville, NJ 08560, or telephone us at 609.730.0196. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.pharmalinx.com THE FORUM FOR THE INDUSTRY EXECUTIVE Volume 2 . Number 7 Send your letters to feedback@pharma linx.com. Please include your name, title, company, and business phone number. Let ters chosen for publication may be edited for length and clarity. All submissions become the property of PharmaLinx LLC.
Letters Those six little words can set off a chain reaction, which to most patients often goes unnoticed, unless of course: your prescription is not an approved medication on your insurance company’s formulary; you have to wait weeks for a followup visit; your med ical records have disappeared between the clinic/hospital and the office; or you acci dentally bump into a welldressed sample case touting sales rep, while juggling a sheaf of downloaded information from the Internet and print advertisements for your “preferred” medication of choice. And, if as a patient you think you have it rough, imagine how your doctor feels? Today’s physicians are akin to CEOs of small companies, whether they own their own practice, are part of a large group system, or are active in an academic setting. As such, they are subject to the same pressures and challenges as any other busy executive who has to deliver results to shareholders — who in this scenario are patients — while at the same time having the greater responsibility of delivering high quality patient care. In this month’s Forum, practicing physicians from different specialties and geographic locations give voice to their biggest daytoday challenges. The over whelming majority of physicians interviewed for this article say managed care and reimbursement issues are the factors that create the most challenges for their operations. According to physicians, part of the problem is that reimbursement rates have d ropped, thus they need to see more patients, more efficiently, in the same peri od of time to cover their overhead. This is true even in an academic environment. Because physicians have to carry a larger patient base, they often do not get to spend as much time as they would like in a con sultative role. At the same time, according to most physicians, for every minute of re i m bursable time that they spend with the patient there is an equal amount of time spent on nonreimbursed tasks related to patient care. This time is spent reviewing or completing medical records, communicat ing with other physicians, documenting care, reviewing Xrays, filling out insurance f o rms or billing records. These “non patient care” tasks challenge physicians to be more efficient in their backroom opera tions as well as in terms of time spent see ing a patient. Increasingly, physicians rely on techno logical solutions to aid them in their quest for improved efficiency. The IT application may be a simple Palm Pilot diary to orga nize schedules and appointments; a more sophisticated system that records prescrib ing information that can be transferred to a pharmacy and the insurance company; or the Internet used to reference the most up todate information on a particular therapy or disease. Physicians are being pressed to keep up, not just as part of their ongoing training, but to meet the expectations of a more savvy patient base. Physicians agree that they must become more adept at the business of practicing medicine by learning to manage more effi ciently the quality of patient care as well as attending to the bottom line. Taren Grom Editor T Managed care has been cutting back on what it contributes to office revenue,so the provider must make up the difference by increasing patient volume.This creates additional strain on an already ve rybusy office environment. PharmaVOICE