Eingun James Song, MD: Tips On Improving Dermatology Office Workflow

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In this interview segment, Dr. Song provided several unique viewpoints presented in his conference talk ‘Early Dermatology Practice Pearls.’

In this interview with the HCPLive editorial team, Eingun James Song, MD, spoke about some of the most important tips for dermatologists from his talk given at the 2023 Fall Clinical Dermatology Conference in Las Vegas.

Song is known for his work as the associate chief medical officer and the director of clinical research at Frontier Dermatology.

“I start off the talk by showing a triangle with 3 different pillars,” Song explained. “And in a perfect world, all 3 pillars are met. So the patients get the drug in a reasonable amount of time, we can get that drug approved with the least amount of work. So that leads to less provider burnout. Then the pharmaceutical manufacturer that makes the medication actually gets paid, because if they don't get paid on the drug, there's no research and development and there's no innovation, so that's a perfect world.”

Then, song went into what he viewed as the problem of prior authorizations and the amount of work that clinicians have to get that perfect triangular harmony.

“So what we talk about here are I'm gonna say 10 actual practical tips of what we can be doing to kind of help with reaching those 3 pillars,” Song said. “So the first overarching theme I actually make is that if you spend the extra minute or so to write a good, very thoughtful, and effective note, you're going to save so much time on the back end. That doesn't mean that you have to write a novel every time you do a clinical note. But it's knowing what the buzzwords are that payers are looking for, and making sure we are dressing all of them up so that we can try to get the drug approved on the first go around.”

Song noted that his initial tip given in his conference talk was that dermatologists should use checklists.

“We use modernizing medicine as our medical record system and there's a way to use what we call protocols for all of our advanced therapies,” he said. “So, protocols will prompt us to ask questions that we know the payers are going to be looking for, for example, what's the body surface area? What special sites are involved? Is there a reason why a patient can't take a certain type of medication?”

Song added that something that comes up a lot with psoriasis is methotrexate.

“In medicine, oftentimes, it will be required to start before we can go on to an advanced biologic,” Song said. “So our protocol will prompt us to ask questions about ‘are you on certain medications that might be a contraindication or cause a drug to drug interaction?’ Do you drink alcohol? Are you trying to get pregnant? So those are the types of things that we'll be asking in the protocol. No matter how experienced you are, because there are so many different things, we're always forgetting to ask those questions.”

Song explained that the use of a protocol to stay consistent is going to really help cut down the time.

“The second tip that I share is making sure that our semantics are correct,” he said. “So what I mean by that is, there are many different diagnoses close to describing the same condition. But if that ICD-10 code doesn't match up perfectly with the FDA-approved medication, oftentimes, the payers are going to deny the medication.”

To find out more from Song’s conference presentation, view the video posted above.

The quotes contained here were edited for the purposes of clarity.