Like it or not, urology is a business

December 31, 2012

Sifting through the data that came out of Urology Times' recently released "State of the Specialty" survey, it's clear that the issues most concerning to urologists relate to the business side of practicing medicine.

Sifting through the data that came out of Urology Times’ recently released “State of the Specialty” survey, it’s clear that the issues most concerning to urologists relate to the business side of practicing medicine. Nagging concerns about falling reimbursement, government regulations, the Affordable Care Act, and increasing overhead are what keep urologists up at night.

The survey questionnaire, which lists a variety of potential problem areas and asks urologists to rate their concern about them, once listed clinical issues like “keeping abreast of evolving drug therapies” and “the shift from primarily surgical therapies to minimally invasive and pharmacotherapies.” I dropped those items from the survey several years ago when so few respondents indicated much concern about them, at least compared to business and policy issues. (Back in 2006, one-third of urologists reported being extremely/very concerned about evolving surgical techniques, presumably due to the advent of robotic procedures, but that percentage eventually dropped.)

The State of the Specialty survey, internal readership surveys, and conversations with practicing urologists help shape Urology Times’ editorial content. When I came on board in 1997, our Practice Management section consisted of two columns: one on coding/reimbursement and one covering marketing/office management. The focus was squarely on clinical news. Over time, the Practice Management section has grown and evolved. Those two original columns remain and have been supplemented by others covering malpractice, financial planning, staffing, money management, practice technology, and more to help you keep pace with rapid changes in health care delivery and practice.

In this issue, you’ll notice that the Practice Management section has been renamed “Business of Urology” (beginning on page 32). A subtle change, perhaps, but one that points to a broader range of topics aimed at improving your efficiency and maximizing your bottom line, regardless of your practice setting-private practice, large group, hospital employed, or academic.

I’ve never met a urologist who went into medicine to practice “business.” But I’ve talked to plenty who say they need practical, real-world guidance to run the business side of their practice. Urology Times is committed to meeting that need. I’d like to hear from you whether we do-or do not-fulfill that promise.

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