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Ask a Doctor: Practice Management Tips with Dr. Meinhardt, Founder of California Dermatology Specialists

Ask a Doctor: Practice Management Tips with Dr. Meinhardt, Founder of California Dermatology Specialists
Simon Bolz


In our Klara Ask a Doctor Series, we take a look at first-hand experiences of founders, CEOs and directors of medical practices. Klara is on a mission to solve the problem of inefficiencies in the healthcare industry. Our partners in transformation, medical professionals themselves, are leading the way. We select our interview subjects based on business acumen, success and of course interesting viewpoints. Please email if you would like to nominate a doctor to be featured.

Without Further Ado... Here is Dr. Meinhardt Sharing His Thoughts

Can you please describe your background.

I grew up in Los Angeles and studied chemical engineering at UCLA. After some short stints in the biomedical and teaching fields I attended UCSF for both medical school and continued on to a residency in dermatology. Following residency, I joined Kaiser Sunset and became the Associate Program Director training dermatology residents. After two years, I went on to start my own dermatology practice California Dermatology Specialists.

What are the biggest challenges doctors face in both being practice owners and physicians?

There are a number of challenges in running a practice. Given that medical school and residency offer little to no teaching in management and business this can be an adjustment particularly because companies know this and try to take advantage of naive physicians. But the most difficult challenge is regulations that do not benefit and at times can hinder patient care. For every patient visit, there are pharmacy issues that can come up, insurance issues, compliance issues, all of which take significant physician time.

What are your top three marketing initiatives for practices to acquire new patients?

Every practice is different and it depends on what patients they are trying to attract and services they provide. For a cosmetic practice, they may offer more specials and send out mailers and other direct marketing campaigns. For a more medical practice, they may market to local physicians and hospitals.

What are your thoughts on direct-pay or membership models for pricing? Do you think they help or hinder the patient-physician relationship?

I think any time prices are transparent and up front without a middle man this is very beneficial to patient care and the doctor patient relationship. With high deductible plans patients end up directly paying physicians but because of there being an insurance in the middle it actually confuses patients as to what a service will cost and who will pay for it, eroding the doctor patient relationship.

Do you have any tips that you 'learned on the job' regarding practice management?

You must be flexible and be willing to listen to many mentors and others for opinions and not be over confident.

How do you differentiate your practice from the competition?

In the end, a practice's main asset is the people within it. I strive to be an exceptional physician in all areas and continue to strive to stay on top of my field and continue to evolve as medicine evolve. I also work to have the best staff to ensure a great patient experience from start to finish. I also do not think of my practice as in competition with others. There are more patients that need care than there are physicians to provide it. I think that it is important to focus on providing great care and not worrying about how other practices are marketing and practicing.

About Dr. Meinhardt and California Dermatology Specialists

Dr. Meinhardt is a Board Certified Dermatologist and the founder and medical director of California Dermatology Specialists.

A Los Angeles native, Dr. Meinhardt grew up in Agoura Hills before completing his degree in Chemical Engineering at UCLA, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He went on to attend medical school at the prestigious University of California, San Francisco and stayed at UCSF to complete his dermatology residency, training with world experts in psoriasis, hair loss, skin cancer surgery, complex medical dermatology, pediatric dermatology, and laser therapy. Following residency, Dr. Meinhardt returned to Los Angeles to join the faculty of the Kaiser Permanente Dermatology Residency Training Program, serving as the Associate Program Director.

He instructed residents in his pulsed dye laser (PDL) clinic treating vascular malformations, surgery clinic treating skin cancers, and injectable filler clinic treating HIV lipodystrophy.He left this position to become founder and medical director of California Dermatology Specialists. In addition to his dedication to ensuring cutting-edge medical and dermatological services, Dr. Meinhardt is a skilled and passionate educator. He has authored educational content for the American Academy of Dermatology’s medical student curriculum and continues to mentor dermatology residents by teaching UCLA dermatology residents.

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