By Michael Tetreault, Editor-in-Chief
One of our most beloved Op/Ed stories ever over the past few months has surprisingly been our Dear Doctors, 10 Things I’d tell you over coffee!
I’m so happy many of you have enjoyed these helpful and unique tips!
Well, in response to your written and phone requests, you sent us some additional tips and ‘things’ you thought our Physician readers would want to know.
So, here’s 10 MORE Things I’d tell you over Coffee– a sequel of sorts.
As you know, we love Doctors around here.
You’re a huge part of my life and my families … and I see many of you as absolute heroes who’ve exchanged your capes for white coats!
You’re the backbone of our communities and our nations most unappreciated asset.
SO in honor of your hard work, I recently sat down with a few of you for coffee (or tea) and asked a few of you for 5-6 of the greatest lessons you’ve learned about being in the business of medicine, more specifically, Concierge Medicine and the like over the years. You had some amazing stories, perfect anecdotes and even some very heartfelt memories. Here’s what they’d probably tell you about if you sat down with them for yourself:
- 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.
- It’s hard to reach people who don’t like us. By ‘Us’ I mean, Doctors in-general. We need to be a greater part of the fabric of our communities again and we can only do that when we leave the four walls of our practice and start interacting with our Patients outside of the exam room or office walls.
- Don’t hire someone just to fill an immediate need. Experts say ‘A warm body is not better than nobody.’ 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.
- Patient Satisfaction encourages repeat visits.
- We get results when Patients come back again and again [in this model] and we begin to see lives, habits and goals met and change over time.
- The stakes are simply too high [for us as Doctors] if we don’t evaluate, adjust and change.
- We need to do a better job as Doctors in our communities helping Parents understand the role and example they play in the health and future health of their kids. We can really have an impact here … but it takes time and intentional conversations between Parents and us, their Family Doctor.
- Every time you have a Patient’s attention, point them to a next step. It’s not enough to simply state the truth, but we must actually be helpful.
- I use personality and capacity profiles in my practice and among my staff. It creates and educates us as a team. Some examples are: RightPath; StrengthsFinder; Wonderlic; Temperament Assessments (colors, Enneagram, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, etc.)
- Being fully present means “intentionally” choosing to be aware of where you are and who is in front of you.
RELATED STORY | 2019 | FOR DOCTORS
BONUS! We couldn’t stop there! Here’s ten more!
At this point, we’ve probably sipped at least one cup of coffee. If we had time, I’d hope you join me for one more and here’s what I’d probably tell you!
- 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.
- 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 office. Once a quarter, try having your staff meetings elsewhere.
- Concierge Medicine is caring. It’s an invitation, not an expectation.
- 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!