Management of Pathology Practices
Posted 19 April 2005
The Proactive Patient
by Leigh Polk, Pathology Service Associates, LLC
As health issues rapidly increase and cutting-edge technology grows, patients are discovering the importance of being more involved in their healthcare. Through various avenues, patients are being empowered to ask questions, conduct research and engage in discussions with their physicians about their health and treatment options. Patients realize the importance of their own decisions and want to play a more “proactive” role in decisions made.
Information is Power
As patients’ rights and abilities to be active in their healthcare grow, the “information is power” adage is truer than ever. One way to greet and nurture these “proactive” patients and encourage other patients to become more involved is to provide as much information and education to them as possible. Educating patients on healthcare topics, including the importance and value of the pathology services they receive, is the first step in helping them make the most informed decision possible.
As the world becomes more technologically savvy, so are patients seeking information about their healthcare. Utilizing the Internet is one of the best known advances in information and communication with patients. Patients are taking advantage of technological advances providing easier access to more information than ever. In 2004, the number of patients visiting the PSA patient website increased by 25% to 33,000.
Other mechanisms for educating patients include providing brochures for physician offices, participating in health fairs, submitting articles for local magazines, and partnering with a local referring physician in the area on critical issues. PSA uses its communications with patients through our billing statements, on-hold messages, and patient website to educate patients on the value of pathology and the importance of using a local pathologist.
A Value-Added Service
There are many benefits to educating the public on the value of pathology. The more educated patients are on pathology, the more likely they are to question where their specimens are referred. Educational tools can assist referring physician practices in explaining what services your practice provides and the importance of these services. Providing this service also allows your practice to effectively compete with the patient education services offered by national laboratories.
Many insurance companies and referring physician practices rely on the patient to inform them where their specimens need to be referred. In this age of consumer-driven healthcare, only when a patient understands the role a local pathologist plays in overall healthcare can he/she make accurate decisions.
PSA is a leading provider of pathology billing and collection services, practice marketing support, and business support services to independent pathology practices seeking to gain a competitive advantage within their markets. To view a short video from PSA focusing on the role of local pathologists in healthcare, which recently aired on The Learning Channel, please click here. For more information on the patient education and products provided by PSA, please contact Leigh Polk at 800-832-5270 or [email protected]. Click here to visit the PSA website.