How To Choose a Medical Practice Management Consultant

There are over 360 types of management consultants listed in the Directory of the Professional and Technical Consultants Association. Very few specialize in health care practices. A good medical practice management consultant can bring a fresh, unbiased perspective to viewing the strengths and weaknesses of your practice. According to a Medical Economics poll, "more than 80% of doctors who have used practice management consultants are tickled pink by the job they did."

This checklist should help you choose one. (PMM's answers in parenthesis)
Is what you want a service they provide? (see PMM's list at PracticeMgmt.com)
How long have they been in business? (PMM has been in business consulting to physicians and certain other licensed health care providers since 1983)
What types of practices do they consult to most often? (PMM consults to healthcare practices, mostly medical but some physical therapy, podiatry, and ancillary professions)
Do they provide an interview at no charge? (PMM – yes, by phone or client visit to our offices)
Have I been honest and open in explaining my needs and concerns?
Is the person I meet the person I will work with? (PMM – yes)
What is his/her background? (PMM – see CV of individual consultants, author's is found here)
What are his/her strengths and weaknesses? (PMM – see CV of individual consultants)
What references can he/she provide personally? (PMM – see CV of individual consultants)
Do I like this person?
Can I work with him/her?
Do they sell anything or take commissions on anything? (PMM does not take commissions or finders fees except in certain practice sale brokerage situations, and then rarely. PMM sells the two books they have authored which set national standards in the topics: The Medical Practice Forms Book, and the Medical Practice Pre-Employment Tests Book). Clients can always purchase them directly from PMIC, PSR, the AMA or on Amazon.com instead if needed.
What are their fees? (PMM hourly and retainer fees vary by engagement, call ot email regarding your needs.)
What reports will be provided? (PMM- it depends on the topic and client's needs)
What references does the company have? (PMM offers many references online, and has hundreds more including state and national medical associations)
Does their contract have specific goals for my practice? (PMM – yes)
What if the goals aren't met in a timely fashion? (PMM – if the delay is due to PMM, time will be extended at no charge to client – this is extremely rare – such as in case of consultant illness or catastrophe like the 1986 earthquake! Delays due to client behavior or catastrophe are evaluated on a case by case basis - we are very patient!.)
How much time will be provided? (PMM – time is identified in each client contract)
Questions to ask medical practice management consultant's references:
Would you use this consultant again?
Did the results warrant the costs?
What were his/her strengths and weaknesses?
Are there back-up experts with other strengths?

The following is a list of the ten worst mistakes doctors make with respect to their personal and professional advisors.
This list is with permission from Warren Boronson's book, Physicians' Guide to Personal Advisors, Medical Economics Books,
Copyright 1985.

Not contacting your advisor when you need help.
Not keeping an advisor fully informed.
Not checking on an advisor before hiring him or her.
Ignoring an advisor's advice.
Not telling an advisor when s/he is not meeting your needs.
Not telling advisor "A" what advisor "B" is doing.
Not paying enough to hire a "first rate" advisor.
Trusting all advisors who work on commission.
Letting an expert in one field advise you in another field.

More Information:

To contact a consultant regarding this topic, e-mail us

For more medical practice information, articles, links, books, seminars, and consulting go to http://www.PracticeMgmt.com


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Copyright and Reprint Permission
Copyright (C) 1985-2004 Professional Management and Marketing. Reprinted with permission from CALIFORNIA MDs' BUSINESS ADVISOR, author and consultant Keith Borglum, 3468 Piner Road, Santa Rosa, California 95401, (707)-546-4433 www.PracticeMgmt.com. Reprint or quote permission is granted provided proper credit is posted exactly as in the previous sentence and two copies of publication are mailed immediately upon distribution to the author at the above address.

By-line:
Author Keith Borglum is a medical practice management consultant with Professional Management & Marketing of Santa Rosa, CA. (1-707-546-4433) He is a member of the medical practice management consultant panels of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians (disbanded 1998), the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the National Association of Health Care Consultants, the Society of Medical Dental Management Consultants (90-94), the Institute of Business Appraisers, and is an affiliate of the Medical Group Management Association.