By Michael Tetreault, Editor-in-Chief
One of our favorite stories over the past few months has surprisingly been our physician-focused series entitled Dear Doctors … 10 Things I’d tell you over coffee
To our delight, many of you have shared with us how helpful these nuggets of wisdom have been for you and added more helpful and unique tips you want shared with your colleagues. So, in response to your emails, written notes and even voice mail requests, here are some additional tips we thought you, our Physician readers would want to hear from your colleagues.
So, 10 MORE Things I’d tell you over Coffee– a sequel of sorts.
- A little encouragement [to a Patient] goes a long way. But, a handwritten note goes further, faster and lasts longer.
- The data supporting one simple, unsolicited, seemingly insignificant piece of paper with a stamp and an envelope could change everything between you and your Patient(s) … and forever cement the relationship you want between Patient-and-Physician. Try writing one thank you note or handwritten note to one Patient per week and see what happens? It will only cost the $.055 cents!
- MARRIAGE COUNSELING IS CHEAPER THAN A DIVORCE.
- One Physician we interviewed on The DocPreneur Leadership Podcast recently shared a personal story about her struggle with seeing a psychologist. More specifically, the psychologists diagnosis, her personal observations and even more personal solutions were difficult to swallow for the M.D. being treated as a Patient for once. “It was really difficult for me to accept the Psychologists advice due to my own bias, fatigue, background, education and training,” she says. “Eventually, months later I overcame those feelings and it’s been helpful to see things about myself that I always knew we’re there but I just couldn’t move past.”
- No one wants to know or learn how to change a flat tire until it’s too late.
- The same things happens in healthcare when we talk to a Patient about their diet, exercise and nutrition.
- IF YOU COME BACK FROM A TWO WEEK VACATION AND BY 11AM on MONDAY IT FEELS LIKE YOU WERE NEVER ON VACATION … THE PROBLEM ISN’T SOLVED WITH ANOTHER VACATION. HOW YOU SPEND YOUR TIME “on” WILL HELP YOU ENJOY YOUR TIME “off”.
- Living as though you have unlimited energy is a great way to deplete all your remaining energy, even if you’re currently working as a Concierge Doctor or in a Direct Primary Care practice.
- WORD OF MOUTH PATIENT REFERRALS DON’T HAPPEN BECAUSE I AM ‘JUST A LITTLE NICE …’
- Your Patients adore you. They do. But they need to see it, hear it and feel it from you. It’s hard to reach people who don’t know you, like you or trust you and the data over the past decade about the trust between a Patient and the Physician is eroding at an alarming pace. Doctors in-general have a reputation in the public that let’s be honest, isn’t good. Customer “No Service”, timeliness and temperament are a big part of that annual erosion. Most Physicians say repeatedly that the number one way they grow their medical practice, patient panel, etc., is by word of mouth/patient referral. But this doesn’t happen by accident. It doesn’t simply happen because you were nice to the last patient of the day but ran behind schedule all week. There’s truth in the statement you’ve heard me say “Patients who feel appreciated will always do more than is expected.” I say all of this to say that the data supporting one simple, unsolicited, seemingly insignificant piece of paper could change everything between you and your Patient(s) and forever cement the relationship between the Patient-Physician.
Don’t hire someone just to fill an immediate need. Find Friendlier Staff!
- Experts say ‘A warm body is not better than nobody.’ Really?! That’s what experts say?!
- Example: When a Patient walks in the door, I’ve noticed time after time, they naturally drift towards the staff member who is smiling and appears the most friendly. We need friendlier staff. So, choose, hire and train your staff carefully and with hospitality in mind.
READ BOOKS OUTSIDE YOUR AREA OF EXPERTISE TO GET VALUABLE PERSPECTIVE(S)
- Rarely, if ever, have these words been said from an exam room by a Physician: “I have a new vision for growing the practice!”
YOU SHOULD HAVE A SAY IN YOUR DAILY and WEEKLY SCHEDULE
- If you don’t decide ahead of time how to spend your time, other people will decide for you.
Your staff are on display because you put them there.
- Great Doctors, not simply good Doctors, never have to demand loyalty from their Patients or their Team. Your Staff, your Patients, they want a great Doctor. You can’t afford for your staff to anchor your medical practice. You’ll eventually lose Patients, team members and burnout from exhaustion, lack of confidence in them and fatigue. You may not realize it as a DocPreneur, but as the Physician-CEO of the practice today, you are responsible for the care and treatment of your Patients but also the emotional and professionalism your staff provides each day. When was the last time you reviewed their real job description?
It’s easy to complain about how things are falling apart or how you’re not growing as fast as you’d like.
- Yet if you look back, you realize you haven’t made any investments in yourself. Things in your life don’t suddenly become better overnight or within a year with the wave of a magic wand or fairy dust just because you changed your business model from a fee-for-service to subscription-based healthcare delivery practice. There are psychological changes and soft-skills that need to be developed and continually reinforced, maybe even remind us once in a while. Do yourself a favor and take the time and money to start investing in yourself. I don’t know who said it but I think it was in the book At Your Best, where the author write … You get 24 equal hours in a day, but not all hours feel equal or produce equally.
BONUS! We couldn’t stop there! So, here’s ten more!
By Concierge Medicine Today/The DocPreneur Leadership Academy
- Rethink the Interior Design of Your Female Restroom.
- The best thing you can do as a Doctor today is write two or three to five Thank You notes, and tomorrow, and the next day, and every day. But we’ll give you two weeks off for vacation. 🙂
- Managing people is hard. Make sure they know the type of care delivery environment you are striving to create. Cast your vision and monitor whether or not they’re onboard.
- Get out of the practice and take a walk for 15-minutes. You’re running late anyway. 🙂
- Once a quarter, try having your staff meetings elsewhere.
- Concierge Medicine is caring. It’s an invitation, not an expectation … it’s now your job to live up to those generous expectations every Patient has of you!
- Customer Service in Concierge Medicine matters, a lot! Inconsistent customer service won’t lead to better outcomes, happier patients or practice growth.
- The day after perfect is coming. There’s an old adage that says: “It’s hard to wait around for something you know might never happen; but it is harder to give up when you know it’s everything you want.”
- A Patient “experiences” your practice one “scene” at a time. Pay attention to the details.
- Patients leave our practice talking about how we made them feel, not about the tasks we accomplished while they were in the office (unless those tasks made them feel a negative way)
- Show empathy.
The Original Ten
- Give yourself a raise! (even if it’s $5/mo.)
- Keep better worry hours. No one makes good decisions in the wee-hours of the night once our head hits the pillow. Save those wrestling matches in your mind for daylight and working hours. Just try it … you might find you sleep better!
- Haters distort the numbers they are not your primary patient audience. They misunderstand the mathematics and what you do doesn’t appeal to them. Keep your main thing, the main thing and people will rally around you and love you for it.
- As a Concierge Doctor, you set the bar high for others to live up to. Be proud of it. Today, the bar is so low in healthcare that we have no where to go but up and better — yet no group in healthcare (save a few, of course) are willing to proudly blaze the trail and then send back maps for others to follow.
- If you’re unlucky enough to have a waiting room, buy more comfortable chairs.
- Make people smile. Acknowledge people in the waiting room … even if it’s just for a moment. Crack a joke, even a bad one.
- Smile more.
- Listen more.
- Eye contact.
- Clean Your Pens!