'Traditional' practice gets more diverse

Facing more competition from retail and urgent care centers than ever, doctors increasingly offer more diverse services not typically found in the traditional private practice, from cosmetic procedures to urgent care, according to an article from the News-Star.

For example, Louisiana private-practice owner Nandini Sunkireddy, M.D., told the newspaper that she felt it necessary to see a fair amount of walk-in patients to meet the demand to see them quickly.

"Family practice is changing. Most of the older doctors don't want to do urgent care because they're more into the traditional things where they follow up with patients, but we're open to urgent care," Sunkireddy said. "We're trying to keep up with the demands of the people right now."

To accommodate urgent-care patients, many practices will see them on the same day by a nonphysician such as a nurse practitioner, who will then instruct patients to schedule a follow-up visit with their primary care physician (PCP). This follow-through is more likely to occur when the PCP's office provides the urgent care.

"People want to be seen immediately, but there's got to be communication between urgent care and primary care because we're here to fill the gap and take care of a person's whole need, not just their immediate needs," Nurse Practitioner Sharon Dear told the Star.

Sunkireddy's efforts to draw new patients don't stop there. She also told the newspaper she considered offering Botox treatments, weight-loss programs and other nontraditional services. "There are a number of primary care physicians who are venturing out and doing those things," she said.

While practicing more specialties to pursue additional revenue streams is gaining popularity, there are caveats to keep in mind to prevent conflicts of interest and other regulatory problems, FiercePracticeManagement reported previously. In the case of selling products, such as nutritional supplements, out of a practice, for example, it's important to make sure it's being done ethically and legally.

To learn more:
- read the article

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