28 July 2010, by tpotisk
How can doctors prosper by automating their practices?
This was the subject of a recent teleseminar I hosted for a practice management company called PM&A (Petty, Michel and Associates). You can access a recording of my presentation on their website.
PM&A is the world’s best consulting service for doctors that I subscribed to for 24 years of my 25 year old practice. They helped me automate my practice. Why did I stick with them so long? Because I always felt that I received more than I paid for. That’s a good lesson for anyone in business, yes even us doctors! LOL.
In my teleseminar presentation I talked about the following topics:
-Legacies of friendships with patients, staff, associates and colleagues
So, by automation of a practice, I don’t mean having metal/plastic electrical machines taking care of patients. LOL. No, automation in a practice means having reproducible, repetitive systems and procedures in place that help a practice run smoothly, efficiently, and calmly.
When a patient called my office, I was always certain that they were being taken care of properly. I had systems and procedures in place about how to answer the phone, how to schedule their appointment, how to greet the patient at the front desk, what initial paperwork was needed, how to verify their insurance coverage, how to examine the patient, etc.
This level of organization enabled me to focus my attention on what every doctor should focus their attention on - the patient in front of them. If I was a patient that’s what I would want, my doctor’s total attention. And if I got that, perhaps with a warm smile, a gentle touch, expertise/skill, and love, then I would have a feeling I was getting more than I paid for. Sound like something to strive for?
Amazingly, in the doctor realm, the patient can remain sick or even die, yet still, the satisfaction of the customer (or the deceased family) remainsb Because we’ve done our best. Astounding isn’t it?
How does a doctor improve on this automation leading to an improved doctor’s focus/skill, and then to satisfied patients? In 2 ways. First a doctor needs competent guidance with a skilled consultant that can analyze the practice’s strengths and shortcomings, then making changes to facilitate the automation. Secondly, a doctor needs continual training and practice to perfect their skills, thus becoming a craftsman or craftswoman.
That second part, becoming a craftsman, is the “art” of doctoring and unfortunately it is increasingly becoming lost in health care. But it doesn’t have to be for you.
Early in my career, I recognized my lack of skill and expertise. I then began to look for doctors who exhibited tremendous talent and pursued them by calling them and eventually visiting them to observe their craftsmanship in action. I call these type doctors “giants”.
I believe I learned more about the art of being a doctor by watching these giants than I have from all my schooling and formal training. It may surprise you that what I observed and learned was much more than just technical, scientific treatment technique. The more obvious characteristics that I saw enabling most of these giants to excel were their communication abilities, mannerisms, body language, and overall contentment with what they were doing and why. They all exhibited profound sincerity and confidence in their higher purpose/overall mission, and patients could sense that just being in the doctors presence – it was spiritual and it was beautiful and it’s what I want for all doctors; the greatest benefit going to patients in the form of optimum care.
The first chapter of my new book Reclaim the Joy of Practice – An Advanced Guide for Advancing Doctors is called Following Giants. In this chapter, I describe several of my encounters with these craftsman, and even reveal my procedure for identifying these exceptional doctors, and then how you can find your own, and then approach them for a visit to their office. You can buy the book by clicking HERE.
So, this automation of a doctors practice is important for the primary reason that it then allows a doctor to focus on real doctoring and pursuit of one’s higher purpose/life mission.
Hey doc, don’t spend another moment practicing without automation, craftsmanship and joy. What can you change that will make that happen?
By the way, have you seen my other popular blog/web sites?