First Word: Collective Wisdom Helps in Hard Times

“Twenty years ago, it was still possible to come out of school, hang your shingle and learn on the job. That’s not true today,” said Ronald N. Riner, MD, president of The Riner Group, during an interview about what practices can do to weather the storm of declining reimbursement (see story).

The obvious interpretation of Riner’s wisdom is to apply it to individuals. People need much more support today—from colleagues, consultants and others—to maximize their productivity and revenue.

One could also extrapolate and apply this wisdom to encompass whole systems in healthcare—practices, departments and hospitals. With that understanding, it’s safe to say that when we want to improve these systems, to function more efficiently, for example, we can’t do it alone. We need much more support—from many various sources—to effectively address all the variables that can stymie optimal progress toward the goal of maximum productivity, efficiency and revenue.

This theme of collective wisdom, if you will, runs through the pages of this issue. Our cover story, for example, demonstrates that to design a cath lab, you need the support and input of many different people, be they consultants, architects, cardiologists or service line administrators. The mentality of “Build it and they will come” is no longer enough.

The constraints that cardiology faces today, including increased overhead costs and decreased volume and reimbursement, forces leaders to think creatively. Surprisingly, solutions don’t have to be complicated. In our story about maximizing reimbursement, we show how paying attention to coding ratios—matching up certain procedure codes with corresponding supervision and interpretation codes—can produce significant cost-savings for practices.

The bottom line is that no one is in this alone. We are surrounded by people with valuable experience and the articles in Cardiovascular Business are intended to gather and share the wisdom that is out there.