It may seem odd that Family Practice Management is publishing a special “How-To” issue, since most articles we publish offer useful how-to advice, whether it’s how to code dermatologic procedures or how to make sure you actually hear the most important concern on the patient’s mind. But for this special issue, we decided to sharpen the focus even more than usual and provide articles that give especially clear, generally step-by-step advice on how to accomplish a wide range of tasks important in practice. Several focus on aspects of practice improvement:
Elizabeth E. Stewart, PhD, and Marly McMillen, MBA, give step-by-step instructions for seeing your practice through your patients’ eyes – an exercise that can help you identify ugliness, clutter and other problems that have been around so long you don’t even see them any more (page 18).
Derek Hubbard, MD, explains how to make the best use of evidence-based resources designed for use at the point of care (page 23).
Lee K. Erickson, MD, and Tanyia Lyon, PhD, show you how to apply Toyota’s four rules of work design to your practice. You’ve probably heard Toyota’s famous production system touted as a model to follow, but you are unlikely to have run into a more cogent explanation of exactly how to implement it in a field as different from car manufacturing as family medicine (page 29).
As important as practice improvement is, two of our “how-to” articles address an even more fundamental issue: practice survival.
T. Eric Schackow, MD, PhD, and his coauthors draw on their experience of losing 12,000 visits worth of electronic health record data to give step-by-step instructions for safeguarding your electronic data (page A3 in the AAFP Member Bonus Section). Clearly, safeguarding electronic data is fast becoming an important survival skill for family medicine practices.
Kent J. Moore gives step-by-step instructions for opting out of Medicare – something that may become a life-or-death issue for your practice if the impending 10 percent Medicare pay cut goes through in July (page 13).
Chances are at least one idea in the issue is something you’ll want to put into practice. And now you’ll know how.