Archive for month: October, 2015

Conquering the Post-Residency Debt Mountain- By Seth Cohn, Founding Partner- WealthMD

Categories: Articles

“How should I pay off my school debt?” This is a question that I am asked day in and day out. My response is universally the same: Why? If you can understand why you want to pay off your debt, then coming up with a payback plan is an easy thing to do.

Two plus two is always four, but we all feel differently about debt. Some people were brought up to think that they should pay cash for everything, and others are comfortable carrying credit card debt. The method for determining the right combination of monthly savings, debt payoff and spending is different for everyone. It depends on each person’s life experiences and the goals that they have.

Most people who I come into contact with want to know what their payment amount should be. I am asked, “Should it be the minimum payment or $100 more a month?” Or, “Should I take all surplus income and apply it towards my principal until the balance is zero?” Ask yourself this question—is your long-term goal to be debt free? Maybe not. For most people, the more important goal is to become financially independent. Simply put, this refers to the ability to come and go as you please financially. While it may feel good to be debt free, in reality you should not endeavor to accomplish short-term goals at the detriment of long-term goals. When determining the correct debt-exit strategy for you, it is paramount to keep this point in mind.

When considering student debt that is paid back over a long period of time, inflation should be taken into account. For example if inflation (the annual increasing cost of goods and services) has historically averaged a rate of 3%, and your student loan debt is fixed at a repayment rate of 5%, then the actual “cost” of this money is 2% (5% less inflation of 3% equals 2%). If you think that investing in your home, your 401(k), or any other investment will yield a better result than an inflation-adjusted 2% over a long period of time, then why would you pay extra principal on your student loans? Mathematically, paying debt down early may not make sense, and it may put you in a worse financial position in the long term.

It is important to understand that I am not advocating for paying back your loans early, nor am I advocating for NOT paying back your loans early. There is always going to be an emotional component to this decision, regardless of the math. Nonetheless, one of the biggest mistakes I see young physicians make is not thinking logically about this vital decision. You must take into account your comfort level with carrying debt as well as the lost opportunity cost of investing the money elsewhere in order to find a happy medium.
As opposed to sending all of your surplus income to pay off loans, come up with a monthly principal payment that will allow you to pay the debt off in 3 years or 5 years, or whatever works best for you. What matters is that you approach this debt-exit strategy strategically and not just emotionally. This will allow you to pay back your debt early while still allocating some of the surplus income you take home to long-term goals such as financial independence, retirement, or saving money for your children’s education.

Seth Cohn is a financial planner and Founding Partner of WealthMD. Seth specializes in representing healthcare 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, IPA’s and medical associations through the southeast. Seth currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife Valerie. For more information please contact Seth at 404-926-1317 or sethcohn@WealthMD.com.

Your Operations and Marketing People are Different, and That’s Good for Top SEO Agencies

Categories: Articles

2015_10_02To generate new clients and customers, we previously wrote how top SEO agencies develop SEO and supporting programs by knowing how to communicate for two audiences.   You and Google. You for readability – knowledge transfer – and Google’s algorithm for SEO ranking.

We have proven that you can balance the human appeal to the algorithm-based SEO program. Along the way, we’ve noticed that you and I need to also communicate to two different types of humans.

Some of us are more business numbers, operations and process oriented; and, well, some just are not. When you think of leadership training or classes, you may recall Myers-Briggs and other evaluation tools. While they categorize these people in various ways to help managers communicate and motivate employees, the same applies to creating online content for SEO programs.

First is to determine if there is a need for an SEO program, an email or a social media program, or other marketing tactics. The numbers person likes it when the SEO program establishes a regular reporting schedule, agrees on what the key metrics are, and has reliable data, such as the data from a call tracking program, Google Analytics, and other SEO metrics tools.

The more creatively oriented team members and the people-person team members want to know that the website’s user experience is intuitive, friendly and conveys the brand message. And the copy, while appealing to Google’s SEO algorithm, must still make sense to the human reader.

Again we gained a new client because their low-priced cookie-cutter SEO agency dumped a report in their email box with some numbers and not a customized plan or discussion covering both operational issues and the softer marketing issues.

Instead of using a low-cost, cookie-cutter SEO agency, consider what you can do in-house and what you need to outsource. The right SEO program will build on your operational processes as well as build on your brand message.

Consider if you want to use your time ‘doing’ or ‘managing.’ Do you want to do the research and write the copy and corresponding website requirements, or do you want to listen and evaluate plans, and then ensure that they are delivered as planned?

A top SEO agency will listen to your business objectives, observe what assets you bring to a marketing program, and then customize the SEO strategy to your marketing plan or company budgets.   NicheLabs welcomes your questions about SEO programs, both organic and paid search, along with social media, email and website opportunities. Please email us with our website contact form, or call us at 888.978.9254.

Provided by Hal Schlenger of NicheLabs, (770-335-0077 or hschlenger@nichelabs.com)

Importance of Document Security Solutions

Categories: Articles

2015_04_04Do you realize that the copier is one big computer armed with an 80GB hard drive?

The more healthcare organizations rely on technology for our practice, the more susceptible to fraudulent activity they are.  It is all too easy for practices to fall prey to abuses of trust and dishonest individuals who seek to exploit a practice’s ignorance to security.

It is not uncommon to hear about a practice falling victim to hacking.  Since your practice handles sensitive company and patient information, you are vulnerable and may not be aware of the risks.  Left unattended with an unsecure Wi-Fi connection, sensitive material can fall into the wrong hands and result in your practice paying the price.

That might all sound a bit scary, but the security of your documentation is easily managed with document security solutions.  Easy to implement and offering a practical and robust answer to issues surrounding confidential material, document management solutions will safeguard your practice’s integrity.

So what are the key features of good document security solutions?  Here are six reasons to incorporate document solutions and a brief explanation.

  1.   Secure Document Release
    Users must authenticate themselves to release documents from an encrypted secure print server. This will ensure that nobody can just sit at your computer and gain access or leave with any confidential documents.
  2.   MFD Communication Protection
    Protocol settings with encryption where necessary are implemented and configured to print fleet devices. Without this setting, hackers could quite easily take the document that is on transit from your computer to the printer.
  3.   Data Overwriting
    Documents held on device hard disks for too long before authentication will be deleted from and overwritten in the storage area to prevent them being retrieved and printed by unauthorized users.
  4.   Keyword Recognition
    Jobs can be held and checked with OCR – optical character recognition – for sensitive content before being printed. Ensuring the right person is collecting the documents from the printer.
  5.   Scan Locking
    Authentication protocols ensure that documents cannot be scanned or printed without permission. Giving access to only trusted/managerial employees ensures that your documents are being seen by the right people and are constantly safe.
  6.   HD Encryption
    The information contained within documents is encrypted into an unreadable code to prevent it being easily deciphered. Adding this feature to the rest of the programs means that even if someone can access your documents it will be relatively useless because they won’t be able to decipher the information.

When placing your trust in a solution to defend your practice against fraudulent activity, you need to be confident that you are investing in a system that will protect your organization.  Good document security solutions really will minimize the risks associated with confidential and sensitive material but look out for these essential elements to ensure that the solution you choose will safeguard your practice.  For more information on our document security solutions take a look at our website www.edgeatl.com.com.

Rich Simons is Co-Founder and Managing Partner for EDGE Practice Systems.  He helps improve efficiencies for medical practices providing analysis, customization and recommendations to create an efficient work environment for all document processes.  Feel free to connect at rsimons@edgeatl.com.  

Practice Manager of the Month

Categories: Practice Manager of the Month

201510_DavidNye_PMOMSep2015David Nye, Practice Administrator
Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

David Nye joined the Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery as his first job out of college after receiving a business administration degree.  He has been there for 28 years and has seen many changes in the healthcare industry and growth for the practice.  The practice currently has four surgeons, staff of 35, and two locations; one in Augusta and one North Augusta, SC.

David enjoys every day being different.  There is always a challenge to the day and an opportunity to be a champion/problem solver.  He likes to help bring resolution to the problem at hand and balance when to get involved and when to lead from behind and allow the staff to work the details.  David notes that he had developed a great relationship with the senior doctor since the beginning, which allows him to flourish.

In asking Dr. Tony Neal what he likes best working with David, his response was “I enjoy working with David Nye because he does his job well. He is able to deal with the present, and yet he is always looking to the future. He is efficient, making complex activities seem effortless and enjoyable.  Most importantly, David is an encourager, helping each member of the team to excel at their jobs. He is a blessing!”

As for suggestions for other practice administrators, David recommends that you surround yourself with competent people.  To be successful, you want to be surrounded by others passionate about healthcare.  Be sure that you have the right tools, continuing education, and lots of support.  Education is more than formal schooling, David recommends “knowing the industry, reading related industry articles and business trends.  Be well read in all areas so that you can work towards solutions whether it is with a patient, IT, or a vendor.”

Outside of the office, David seeks adventure.  He enjoys mountain climbing.  He first started in the western United States with a friend. He then tried ice climbing in New England, where he really caught the climbing bug and wanted to be more adventurous.  He enjoys planning climbing trips in Europe and tries to find places he’ll be successful.  David is married with three older children.

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