A One-Stop Shop Model
More than 60% of otolaryngology patients seen in a regular office or clinic setting have head and neck problems that are allergy-mediated, said Gavin Setzen, MD, President of Albany ENT & Allergy Services, PC in Albany, NY. Given this reality, his practice saw an opportunity to concentrate on offering complete management and care of allergic rhinitis and sinusitis, and allergic disease affecting the head and neck region. Albany ENT & Allergy Services is a large group operation, with four physicians, two physician assistants, a full-time speech pathologist, and close to 50 support staff members, including a practice manager, a human resources manager, and an information technology manager.
Explore This IssueMay 2009
In the traditional outpatient medical setting, care of chronic rhinitis/sinusitis often becomes disjointed, said Dr. Setzen. After patients have been treated by their primary care physicians or other referring doctors, they will have an initial workup by an otolaryngologist; may be referred for sinus CT scans to a hospital or other facility; will often then seen by a medical allergist; and perhaps eventually return to the original otolaryngology practice for further follow-up and treatment, including sinus surgery, if needed. The logistics associated with seeing a number of different practitioners at different locations potentially delay the diagnosis, as well as initiation of treatment. In addition, this process can be costly and time-consuming for patients, often causing them to miss appointments and testing-and possibly be lost to follow-up-especially in the current economic environment.
-Gavin Setzen, MD
Albany ENT & Allergy acquired a CT scanner several years so that patients could have sinus CT scans at their initial consultation, if indicated. Clinical evaluation and sinus endoscopy can also be performed at that visit. Patients leave the office with a treatment plan, which improves patient compliance and the continuity of care. The practice has continued to build its range of services beyond allergy, said Dr. Setzen. Albany ENT & Allergy also has hearing, sleep, speech and swallowing, testing, and surgery centers, and has concentrated considerable efforts on a unified business strategy. The practice implemented an electronic medical record that enables coordinated care for patients from the moment they arrive until they leave.
Dr. Setzen said, Patients and their referring doctors love the idea that they can get comprehensive, effective, timely, efficient, and cost-effective care under one roof with a consistent message that’s not diluted by lack of communication or fragmented care due to having to see multiple providers in multiple locations. And that satisfaction, he said, generates positive word of mouth, a major contributor to practice volume.