Navigating the Complexities of Practice Management: Interview with Paul Pessis, AuD
The Academy caught up with Paul Pessis while exercising on the treadmill, to discuss the upcoming 2017 Specialty Meeting, "Navigating the Dynamic Complexities of Practice Management," July 7–8, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois.
DF: Thank you, Dr. Pessis, for taking the time to speak with us, and I must say that I am impressed that you are working out! Can you tell us a little bit more about the meeting that you will chair this summer?
PP: Well, specific to your comment about being on the treadmill, everyone knows, Dr. Fabry, that the interviewee must "exercise" every option necessary to meet the demands of your stellar interviewing! As for the conference, we are excited that it is already drawing considerable interest from Academy members. In fact, one of the worst business decisions a practitioner could make this year is to not to attend this conference.
DF: That's a bold statement—please tell us why!
PP: This conference will stimulate and challenge us to think as practitioners to critically evaluate how we perform our scope of practice. Attendees will learn about the ever-changing legislative mandates that will redefine how we approach patient care not only during the coming months but for years to come.
DF: Okay, you have our attention. Is this the first time that the Academy is holding this kind of specialty conference?
PP: Actually no. The Academy has a history of hosting specialty conference meetings, dating back to the 90s.
DF: Now that you mention it, I remember a series of popular regional meetings co-chaired by Martin Robinette and Ted Glattke, when otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) were first being developed for clinical use.
PP: Indeed, and there were many others. Last year, Ken Smith and I co-chaired a specialty conference in Austin, Texas, that was focused on perspectives specifically related to private practice. Beth Ehrlich offered a separate meeting for office staff that received high marks.
This year's meeting is broadly targeting audiologists regardless of practice setting. Additionally, we have invited all ancillary personnel engaging in patient contact who are desirous of improving the "patient journey" (from the moment the patient walks in the door until care has been completed) to attend this meeting.
As practitioners, we must be comfortable in accepting that audiology is a business, and a well-run business has the resources to improve patient care. The meeting will focus on sound business analytics, that if measured, will improve the financial status of a facility.
DF: you could argue in this day and age, that the interaction begins the moment that the patient sees your website, calls your office or reviews your social media posts.
PP: Exactly. We are already influencing the outcome of that patient by all of these touchpoints. In sense, although the conference is called "practice management," it is more aptly focused on patient management.
DF: Yes, and patient-centered care applies to all practice settings.
PP: From the patient's perspective, when they seek hearing assistance from a doctoral-level provider, there is the expectation that we are at the top of our game with respect to the services we provide and must impactfully communicate the needs of our patients with other health-care professionals.
The current health-care legislation is demanding the same! That extends into appropriate coding, billing, and operations. It takes a knowledgeable staff to meet the global needs of patient care. To address the best business and patient care management, and to encourage all staff members to "be on the same page, we have extended an invitation to office staff and practice administrators to attend this conference, as well. There will be dedicated time for ancillary staff to learn together about topics specific to their daily workload.
DF: With everything going on legislatively, it sounds to me like this meeting will help provide clinicians with tools to help differentiate what they do from sales of over-the-counter (OTC) devices and personal sound amplification products (PSAPs).
PP: The OTC issue is here; the meeting will address the skills sets, in terms of practice (and patient) management that will enable clinicians to survive, and thrive, in this increasingly competitive environment. One of the overlooked areas in the context of increasing accessibility and affordability is that we are in the era of nurse practitioners, physician's assistants, and more efficient ways of delivering patient care without sacrificing patient quality.
Audiologists are positioned to do well in this environment, especially given the burgeoning number of aging "Baby Boomer" patients, and we will address many of these issues during the conference.
DF: It sounds like an amazing conference, and I look forward to seeing you in Chicago in July. It's getting harder and harder to hold meetings, but the strength of these regional meetings is the ability to come together with your peers to discuss "hot topics." Skype and "virtual" meetings cannot replace these face-to-face interactions. Furthermore, Chicago is a world-class city, particularly when it's not 10 below zero!
PP: I'll see you in July!
DF: Wouldn't miss it—thanks for taking the time to speak with us.
Paul Pessis, AuD, is the program chair for this year's Practice Management Specialty Meeting, in Chicago, July 7-8.
David Fabry, PhD, is the vice president of medical affairs with GN Hearing and ReSound and the editor-in-chief of Audiology Today and www.audiology.org.