Neil H. Baum, MD

Neil H. Baum, MD

Tulane University School of Medicine and Louisiana State University Medical School

New Orleans, Louisiana

Neil H. Baum, MD, is a Clinical Professor of Urology at Tulane Medical School in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is also a retired urologic surgeon and the current Medical Advisor to Vanguard Communications. Dr. Baum is the author of Marketing Your Clinical Practice - Ethically, Effectively, and Economically, which is in its 4th edition, has sold over 175,000 copies, and has been translated into Spanish. He also wrote The Complete Business Guide to a Successful Medical Practice, which was published in 2015. Dr. Baum was the columnist for American Medical News for more than 25 years. Dr. Baum also wrote the popular column, “The Bottom Line,” for Urology Times for more than 20 years. He is a requested speaker each year to the Practice Management Seminar for the American Urological Association (AUA), where he discusses techniques for making urology practices more efficient and more productive. He has written more than 9 books on practice management and over 250 peer-reviewed articles on various urologic topics.

Articles by Neil H. Baum, MD

The Myth of Multitasking

Grand Rounds in Urology Contributing Editor Neil H. Baum, MD, Professor of Urology at Tulane Medical School, discusses the pitfalls of multitasking. He outlines the illusory thinking behind multitasking and its impact on productivity, and then offers solutions. Dr. Baum notes that multitasking often causes people to feel as though they are accomplishing more in a shorter period of time, but the opposite is actually true. Not only does multitasking decrease the quality of work performed, it also creates a vicious cycle: stress levels increase, which increases cortisol levels leading to impeded cognitive functioning, thereby further increasing stress. Dr. Baum notes that it takes approximately 25 minutes to refocus after an interruption, meaning doctors can lose up to two hours a day by multitasking. This ultimately creates unnecessary financial cost and contributes to feelings of burnout. Dr. Baum advises that physicians practice “unitasking,” or working on a single task at a time, take short breaks between tasks, and reduce distractions, especially during patient visits. He concludes by sharing several technology solutions, such as wearable sensors and free apps, that can help block out disruptions.

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Advocating for Your Patient

Grand Rounds in Urology Contributing Editor Neil H. Baum, MD, Professor of Urology at Tulane Medical School, discusses how to and why one should advocate for patients following a denial of coverage by an insurance company. He explains why insurers deny coverage for mediations, services, durable medical goods, and treatments, noting that even if a rejection is successfully appealed, the process adds weeks or months to the reimbursement. Dr. Baum shares a success story of going the extra mile for a patient and the lessons he learned from that experience. He highlights the value of pursuing these cases, particularly the most egregious rejections. While appealing a rejection will not always be successful, he contends that nothing provides as much satisfaction as advocating for one’s patient.

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Finding a New Perspective with Locum Tenens

Grand Rounds in Urology Contributing Editor Neil H. Baum, MD, Professor of Urology at Tulane Medical School, presents the benefits of locum tenens, a contractual arrangement in which a physician works temporarily in another practice. These work assignments vary in duration and serve several purposes, including to fill vacancies in communities without urologists or to offer a break for a full-time urologist and/or those working in rural communities, who are often on-call 24/7. For doctors, locum tenens can decrease stress and lower the risk of burnout, as well as allowing them to gain experience by working with a new patient population in a different hospital or clinical setting. Semi-retiring urologists may use locum tenens as they transition, and newly-minted practitioners may use such assignments to determine the best practice fit for a permanent position. Dr. Baum touts the financial benefits: such as paid living expenses and travel costs, and possible stipends while on assignment. Additional perks include focusing on clinical work sans office politics, business responsibilities, or paperwork. He concludes with a review of the contract details, drawing attention to key areas such as compensation and malpractice coverage, as well as exclusions like health insurance and retirement.

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Painless Urology Using Nitrous Oxide for Office-Based Procedures

In this eight-minute commentary, Grand Rounds in Urology Contributing Editor Neil H. Baum, MD, Professor of Urology at Tulane Medical School, discusses the use of nitrous oxide for office-based urologic procedures. First, he covers the difference between nitrous and nitric oxide, as well as the safety protocols one needs to be aware of when using nitrous oxide. Next, he goes over the important contraindications for using nitrous oxide before discussing the required training. Dr. Baum talks about how to get started using it in a practice and emphasizes the importance of having consent for use. He then discusses all the costs involved and highlights that despite the fact that most insurance companies do not not actually cover nitrous oxide’s use, it is still a very useful tool for minimally-invasive procedures like vasectomies. Overall, he highly recommends that urologists add nitrous oxide to their armamentarium as more and more urologic procedures are being done as out-patient procedures and it significantly adds to patient comfort.

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Solving Problems the ‘5 Whys’ Way

In this nine-minute commentary, Grand Rounds in Urology Contributing Editor Neil H. Baum, MD, Professor of Urology at Tulane Medical School, discusses a problem-solving solution that he uses in his practice called “the 5 whys” as an alternative to stopgap solutions. He suggests identifying the root cause of the problem, which can easily prevent future occurrences, especially if the solution is inexpensive to implement. Dr. Baum then looks at the implementation of the 5 whys in a urologic setting, using the common issue of scheduling as an example, emphasizing that the purpose of drilling down on causes to a problem is to find the root cause and therefore a solution, rather than placing blame. Dr. Baum then discusses how to implement this approach to solving problem in a urologic practice, emphasizing the need to include all staff in the solution and to focus on long-term success rather than short-term, quick-fix solutions. Finally, he goes over the steps involved in effective problem solving, in particular the need to evaluate the improvements to see if the solution was effective or not.

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