Archive for month: August, 2015

Practice Manager of the Month

Categories: Practice Manager of the Month

ElaineDiMaggioElaine DiMaggio is the practice manager for North Atlanta Dermatology and has been there since the practice opened its doors in 1999. What’s even more amazing is that she had no medical background when she started!

During her tenure, the practice has grown to 4 offices, 6 physicians, 12 total providers and a current staff of 94. There are a few factors that can be attributed to this growth; Elaine credits her doctors for trusting her and giving her the freedom to manage and grow the practice. She is grateful for that. In addition, she is extremely loyal to her vendors. She truly sees them as partners and this has contributed to the growth the practice has experienced.

When asked about some tips she could share with other practice managers, she was said, “Make sure your physicians have confidence in you to do your job.” She also felt it was important to “know how to lead, not just manage a practice”. In addition, she felt it was important to get both input and feedback from supervisors and staff prior to making a decision. “Great people working together can make a great practice” are words to live by.

What advice could she give to other practice managers? “For a large medical practice such as ours, I have 4 supervisors under me who all have an excellent work ethic and together we run the practice. We must keep up with all the changes from the government, CMS, Meaningful Use, PQRS, HIPAA, Security Rules, HR, etc. and then we plan periodic meetings with all providers to go over the changes and keep them up to date.  As a practice manager, you must work for your providers but also the employees.  The medical profession has had a tremendous amount of changes and everyone in the practice is now doing more work than they ever had to do because of all these changes and the changes keep on coming. This includes Medical Assistants now having to be certified, laser techs now have to be certified. I could go on and on, but I wanted to be sure I said this because I run this practice as if I own it and my supervisors are very important and we all will work nights and weekends to get work done and make any necessary changes.”

Elaine loves to travel with her husband of 43 years, who is retired and loves computers. When she started working at North Atlanta Dermatology, she know nothing about computers, and now she does everything with them.

 

 

EMV – Ready or Not, Here it comes

Categories: Articles

2015_04_02U.S. Banks, card issuers, processors, retailers and consumers are gearing up for the October 2015 EMV liability shift. EMV stands for “Europay, MasterCard and Visa,” which set out to create a world-wide standard with increased fraud protection for credit cards and terminals. The technology involves two parts – chip cards and EMV enabled credit card point of sale terminals.

Consumers are starting to receive credit cards that likely have both options: the embedded microprocessor chip and the traditional magnetic stripe. The embedded chip will interact with the credit card terminal with dynamic authentication information, and the magnetic stripe can be swiped with embedded static data encryption. Both methods will continue to be made available as merchants update point of sale terminals to EMV enabled terminals. Only one method will be used to complete the transaction, and the point of sale terminal will determine which should be used.

To make a purchase using the chip card, the merchant will enter in the sales amount to the terminal. When the final sales amount is complete, the consumer will ‘dip’ their chip card into the bottom slot (chip face up and enter first). The chip card will remain in the terminal during the transaction until the terminal states to remove the card. The terminal will provide a message if not able to accept the chip card, and then swiping the magnetic stripe will be the purchase method. Similarly, the terminal will also provide a message if the magnetic stripe has been swiped when the EMV chip is available and the terminal is enabled. The EMV method will take a few seconds longer than the swipe method.

Why go through all of this?

There are several benefits for the U.S. to move to the EMV standards. As mentioned above, EMV chip cards contain a microprocessor chip for dynamic encryption. The encoding makes is extremely difficult for fraudsters to create counterfeit cards or ‘cloning’.

EVM chip cards can be used globally as other international markets have been operating on this infrastructure for many years. Some international merchants no longer accept magnetic stripe cards, thus important to have a chip card when travelling abroad. Additionally, some international consumers only have EMV chip cards without magnetic stripes, so merchant need to have EMV enabled terminals to keep their business.

And maybe the strongest reason is to avoid financial repercussions. While the merchant is not required to adopt the EMV technology and have an EMV enabled point of sale device, there will be a liability shift for fraudulent activity. Starting in October 2015, if a fraudulent transaction occurs, the party without EMV technology (the merchant without an EMV enabled terminal or the issuer that did not provide the chip card) will be financially liable.

 

Jennifer Autian is the founder of TCA Business Solutions and an independent representative of merchant services. To learn more about EMV technology or explore other payment processing options, connect with her at 678-523-8760 or by email at Jennifer@tcabiz.com.

Get the New Google Snack Pack with the Help of Top SEO Agencies

Categories: Articles

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If finding new customers wasn’t hard enough, businesses using Google SEO to be found online have more changes to deal with. If you derive business locally, whether you use a top SEO agency or do this in-house, the Google Snack Pack needs to be in your vocabulary.

SEO agencies routinely developed SEO programs to get their clients in to the ‘Google map’ which had up to 7 business names, addresses, phone numbers and Google Star ratings. Alas, Google continues to evolve to maintain its market dominance, started replacing the 7-pack with a 3-business ‘Snack Pack’ on August 7th — so now you should see it for all keywords and in all countries.

First Step: Accept Reality

Google has made the following changes, and, anyone wanting to be found locally will, well, just deal with the impact on their SEO program.

Exact Addresses Removed, instead only listing the street name. This requires a searcher to either click through to the website or the map listing in order to get the exact address. It’s a plus if they go to your website.

Phone Numbers Removed, which is another good thing. Searchers now need to click through the listing or get the number from the website. The mobile version doesn’t display the phone number but does have a “Call” option for each listing.

Google+ Links Removed even though Google has pushed for local businesses to claim their page officially. More to watch about how this plays out.

Store Hours Added, and it will show “closed” depending on the time of day of the search.

Reviews No Longer Labelled “Google Reviews,” they are simply called “reviews” with the number of reviews for each business still included.

No “Flyouts,” which occurred when you scrolled over local listings to see the local card for the business displayed on the right hand side. You have to click through to a secondary local page to see the local info.

Bigger More, meaning the “more listings” in the 7-pack was often overlooked. With the Snack Pack, a “More” and menu icon receives a panel immediately below the 3 listings, so searchers looking for more local businesses will find the list easier.

Second Step: Update Your SEO Plan to Benefit from the Change

Whether you do this in-house or use a top SEO agency, do something. The SEO rules have changed for local businesses. Somebody has moved your cheese. As Spencer Johnson wrote in Who Moved My Cheese,

Adapt To Change Quickly

The Quicker You Let Go Of Old SEO, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New SEO

Change

Move With The SEO

Enjoy Change!

Savor The Adventure And Enjoy The Leads Of New SEO!

Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again

They Keep Moving The Cheese

If there is revenue in your local market, your SEO programs need to be updated. We invite you to contact NicheLabs to learn more about SEO programs and SEO tactics that can be customized to your business, as well as website design, website development, social media and email marketing programs. You can email us using our website contact form, or call us at 888.978.9254.

Breaking Down the Emotional Barriers of Investing

Categories: Articles

Did you know that from 1994 – 2012 the S&P 500 Index averaged an annual return of 8.2%? That sounds pretty good right? Can you guess what the average investor’s return was for that same period of time? It was 2.3%. Do you know why that is? It is because the biggest hurdle most people face when making investment decisions is their own emotions. Many people make emotional decisions regarding when to buy or sell, and often times they end up making the wrong decision because it is hard to remain objective while making decisions about our own money. Here are some ideas for how to remove emotions when making investment decisions.

Know Your Risk Tolerance:

There is only one person who can tell you how risk averse you are regarding your money—you. Whether you are a beginning investor, or someone who has a good understanding of the stock market, understanding what “type” of investor you are is key. You may be a conservative investor when you exit your fellowship, but as you gain more investment knowledge, you may evolve into a moderate or aggressive investor. Every few years you should retake a risk assessment questionnaire to measure your comfort level concerning the overall risk of your portfolio. It is easy to consider yourself an aggressive investor when the stock market is gaining consistently, but it can be scary when the market takes a dive. Whatever you decide, you want to make sure that you can stomach the volatility of the markets without making rash decisions concerning your investment portfolio.
Education Is Key

The more informed you can become about investing, the easier it will be to make rational decisions about your investment strategy. If you understand the basic concepts of investing, it will prevent you from making knee-jerk reactions when there is a bad day, month, or even year in the market. Do you know the difference between a stock and a bond, an exchange traded fund (ETF) and a mutual fund? Do you understand the concept of asset allocation? It may sound cliché, but understanding the basics of investing is not brain surgery. Informing yourself and arming yourself with this knowledge will enable you to make decisions based purely on factual information. Without a grasp of the basic jargon, it is easy to get caught up in the media frenzy and to completely give way to emotion-based decision making.

Concentrate On YOUR Goals Only

Have you been in a conversation where someone is telling you how much money they made in their retirement account at work, and you begin to think about your own portfolio’s performance? Why did their account go up more than mine? Maybe I should change my allocation? This way of thinking completely abandons rational thought. If your goals are such that your long-term growth rate only needs to be 7%, then allocate your money to give yourself the best chance to achieve your goals. There is no reason to take on more risk than you need to, or more volatility than you are comfortable with. Financial advice is only important when it is specific to YOU. Taking generic advice can cause confusion more often than not. When it comes to investing your money, you should always concentrate on what your goals are and not on everyone else’s.

*R.Lenzner, “How to do Better than the Average Investor’s Paltry 2.3% Annualized Return for the past 20 Years,” Forbes.com. (August 2013).

The Tortoise Always Beats the Hare

I would challenge you to think long-term about your investment decisions. The more time you allot yourself to achieve your financial goals, the greater chance of succeeding you have. The formula for how money grows looks like this: FV = PV (1+i)ᶰ. The variables are future value of money (FV), present value of money (PV), interest (i) and time (N). If you go back to basic algebra, the only important variable to focus on is N right? Time is money…literally. If you allocate your investments appropriately, and leave your money to grow over a long period of time, then you will be ahead of the game. Knowing that you have enough time to work towards your goals also allows you to be less emotional in the decision making regarding your money. Emotional decisions can hurt you where your investments are concerned. Slow and steady wins the race.

Seth Cohn is a financial planner and founding partner of WealthMD. Seth specializes in representing health care professionals and their practices in the design, implementation, and maintenance of their comprehensive financial plans. He is experienced in working with physicians in all stages of their careers and has served as a guest educator at numerous teaching hospitals, IPAs, and medical associations throughout the southeast. Seth currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and son. For more information, please contact Seth at 404-926-1317 or sethcohn@WealthMD.com

Seth Cohn is a registered representative of and offers securities, investment advisory and financial planning services through MML Investors Services, LLC [404-926-1317] The views expressed here are those of Seth Cohn. Seth Cohn’s views are not necessarily those of MML Investors Services Inc. or its affiliates and should not be construed as investment advice.

*R.Lenzner, “How to do Better than the Average Investor’s Paltry 2.3% Annualized Return for the past 20 Years,” Forbes.com. (August 2013).

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