Seven Lessons For Concierge Doctors Wrapped Up In One Article … From Your Biggest Fan
“We haven’t arrived yet, because there’s still a lot of work to do out there. We’re all still building and learning. As slow as healthcare is to change, my realistic hope is that my grand kids will know that this thing we did or maybe still do in 30 years called Concierge Medicine isn’t a myth, but a clear and present reality that set the example of others to follow. It raised the bar so high in healthcare and customer service that it bristled some folks and inspired others to move in their own journey. It recognized that Physicians and Patients we’re all going to get to the starting line at different times — but that is going to be something beautiful to see in the years ahead.” ~Michael, Editor
“Remember, if Concierge Medicine is about super-servanthood, YOU have NOTHING to apologize for, ever.”
By Michael Tetreault, Editor-in-Chief
February 2019 – About two years ago, I wrote the title of this op/ed and today I’m revising and updating the article to emphatically state the same message.
If you have made it past year one, five, ten or even 20+ years now in Concierge Medicine, this article is for you. It’s for the veteran “DocPreneurs” and curious Physicians out there you rub shoulders with who struggle with likability and sometimes, take things “personally.”
First, I want to say you’re not alone.
What I mean by that is you see the delivery of healthcare differently. You want it to be better than it has been. You want your kids, grand kids, or maybe even your great grand children to experience a healthcare visit that is much different than the ones you’ve had to deliver or perhaps endured. You want to change the status-quo and wake up every morning with a sigh and perhaps a maybe today we can make it better, again … attitude.
I want to encourage you to set the example for your peers. I want you to make healthcare irresistible. I want you to not be afraid of ashamed of your attention to customer service, impeccable style and attention to every minor detail, no matter how small. I want you to retain your energy and make every patient feel at home. I want you to feel that at the end of the day, you’ve provided super-servanthood to everyone that called your cell phone, walked through your door or smiled at you. I want your practice to be as “unique as you truly are …”
Hopefully, this is a message that resonates for a few of you. I know there are and will always be those that disagree with the style of medicine we talk about. And, that’s okay.
But for a moment, let’s unpack an old business principle and make it new for just a moment.
As you know, one of our favorite authors around here at Concierge Medicine Today is an author by the name of Jon Acuff.
He had this to say in one of our favorite books … When we think about our businesses, we dream about reaching everyone. When you ask an author, “Who is your book for?” they often reply, “Everyone!”
Okay, let’s STOP right there. Lets push the PAUSE button because here’s the genuine takeaway.
Jon added … We tend to think biggest is best and 0.1% feels a bit like a failure.
Wow! Let that wash over you for just a minute.
I listen to criticism. I take it home with me and I wrestle with it in the lonely hours of the night and I should as we all do, read it, note it, file it away and keep moving forward. Why? Because there are people around you who are counting on you to help them. So, I want to introduce now rule # 2.
Lesson #2) Keep Better WORRY HOURS.
I love this rule because it’s so simple.
It has helped me in business, my health, family pressures and more. It means that we are all naturally going to be concerned, over think something about one thing or another. But, we don’t have to give that worry or concern all of our attention. We don’t make good decisions in the lonely hours of the night and losing sleep because of worry can impact our own health, your mental health and effect the people and loved ones around you. So, if I am going to over think something or find myself worrying about this that and the other, I give myself time to wrestle with that emotion and those thoughts during the hours of the day I can actually do something about it.
Lesson #3) Apply Your Own Unique Flavor to Your Idea and Vision of What Healthcare Could Be and Should Be.
What makes you and your practice truly unique? Another way to rephrase this is … what is your USP or Unique Selling Point. Your USP and the Doctor down the street are going to be different and that’s okay. Your supposed to be different. This philosophy of I want my medical practice to be irresistible or feel like home … isn’t going to appeal to everyone.
And that’s okay.
Here’s another way to think of it:
- When we think about “MY PRACTICE NAME,” [INSERT YOUR PRACTICE or NAME HERE] we dream about reaching “everyone.” When you ask a doctor, “Who is your practice for?” they often reply, “Everyone!”
- BUT REMEMBER … What you are creating is NOT actually for everyone. For example, not everyone uses UPS. Fed-Ex is out there too! And that’s okay! It’s not about rich vs. poor or even out of pocket dollars vs. insurance. It’s not about elitism either, It’s about priorities in the eyes of your community. When you build a business, you build it with a clientele in-mind. Why is it someone you know has a new iPhone and a nice new car, they probably can’t afford? And why is it, they didn’t join your practice? It’s not always about price. In fact, in most cases, it isn’t, at least according to the thousands of patients we’ve surveyed. It is about perceived value in the eyes of the buyer and his/her priorities.
As great of an idea as the automobile was, FORD isn’t the only thing people drive 100 years later.
We can sometimes forget this when we think about growing a business or you re-center and meet with your staff for weekly or monthly staff meetings. It’s glaringly obvious when you walk out the door of your practice and something we don’t really even think about that often. Remember, your practice is a part of the big picture. It is one unique branch or stem, different from the others yet part of a larger and growing dynamic in your community. You are part of the Free Market Healthcare Delivery Family Tree and not everyone wants to branch out that far. Some do. In fact, many will. But not everyone, and it’s not your fault.
Lesson #4) Concierge Medicine has a Likeability and Customer Service factor.
I see so many Physicians forget this. It’s backwards today with all of the administrative burdens placed on medical offices today to think that 50% of your business in this business is simply based on “I just didn’t like the [guy/girl] …”
I would argue and say that in Concierge Medicine, 100% of your business in this space and long-term success will be about your ability to be liked by your community of patients and delivery stellar customer service.
The easy part about delivering great customer service in healthcare is everyone and their mother thinks going to the doctor is a hassle, a frustration and/or an inconvenience. So, you don’t have to meet people’s expectations but just a few times before they realize you’re doing something in healthcare others are not.
Lesson # 5) Realize, Recognize and Lean In to the Bond That Occurs Between A Concierge Doctor, a Patient and that Patients Family.
I recently sat down with five Physicians and asked each of them where they want to be in the next three years, professionally and personally.
Of course, the answers varied somewhat by each individuals personal and family goals but one common thread was present.
They said in their own way … ‘I Want to Create A Closer Bond With Each Patient.’
What a powerful message for a Patient.
Today, 7 out of every 10 Patients we surveyed out of more than 1,000 responses said they have lost faith in their Doctor. Not only that, but we found they want a Doctor that they can ‘Know, Like and Trust.’
Our healthcare marketplace and care delivery environments today are not set up to create these tight bonds between Doctor and Patient.
As we move into the weekend, be encouraged that there are Doctors out there, like you who are reading this … who share the same vision as you do!
What you are personally creating in your LOCAL 0-9 mile radius around your medical practice is today, truly designed for a very small amount of people. I may be offending some by saying that, but that is today, the reality of our marketplace. It will grow. In fact, it is growing. We haven’t arrived yet, because there’s still a lot of work to do out there. We’re all still building. As slow as healthcare is to change, my realistic hope is that my grand kids will know that this thing we did or maybe still do in 30 years called Concierge Medicine isn’t a myth, but a clear and present reality that set the example of others to follow. It raised the bar so high in healthcare and customer service that it bristled some folks and inspired others to move in their own journey. We’re all going to get to the starting line at different times, and that’s going to be something beautiful to see in the years ahead.
Lesson # 6) The good stuff is always the hard stuff.
When you find the right people, meaning those patients who love what you are doing … they will LOVE what you are going to do for them and their health. Over the past decade in this space, I’ve read, listened to and talked to hundreds and hundreds of successful physicians and shared and have been inspired by their stories in Concierge Medicine. They focused on a few things in their practice and that’s what made them great. They had the ability to create a culture and healthcare environment that was built on trust vs. a price.
Building a business isn’t easy. Diets aren’t easy. The good stuff is always the hard stuff. (I don’t know who said that so I don’t take credit for it … but I think it’s catchy and you should start saying it to patients …) lol
This doesn’t mean the hard stuff can’t be fun.
Of the multiple Concierge Physicians I speak with each week directly, I know most, are having a lot more fun than they did the year before and the year before. Are you???!!!
Lesson # 7) Don’t be afraid. You can change the world of healthcare, one patient at a time! Be the super star in your own backyard because people in your community are counting on you to do something different than everyone else.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this … Great business people and I’d now argue, great doctors know that “you just need to be a superstar in your own backyard …” and you accomplish that by focusing on your strengths and finding people who want to come along for the ride.
Bear in mind, not everyone will want to join you along the journey. If too many people do … that’s actually, when you raise the fare and see who still believes in your mission!
More good things are in store for Concierge Medicine and for you in the next year!
PS | “Remember, if Concierge Medicine is about super-servanthood, YOU have NOTHING to apologize for.”