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It’s no secret

It’s no secret. I’m a play junkie. If I don’t go outside and play, regularly, I get cranky, stale. Daily work becomes harder, stiffer, less fluid. You probably are the same. But maybe it’s been far too long since you let yourself find out.

We’ll here’s a whole new reason to go play.

People love it! No Kidding. Play, travel and just getting out and doing something you love makes you real, keeps you pleasantly conversant, and someone they really want to emulate.

The problem is for too many who practice we become far too rigid in daily and especially weekly routines.

Over achievers like health care professionals put their inner child last. In fact, we are some of the most under-recreated people ever. Big mistake. Illness, divorce, depression are far too often the price.

Now, I am giving you a whole new reason to disconnect, and kick up your heels! Regularly.

It will help you build an enormous practice! Why? Because you can use your play to market yourself while feeling more rested, creative and inspired to be your very best.

Yes, that’s right! Especially now a days while it’s so easy to create media. Web Cams, iPhones, you name it.

I still remember years back when we sent out a reminder card to patients. I uploaded an image of me sitting on my motorcycle with a caption “Time to ride on in?”

Patients loved it, and it was one of the most effective recall pieces I have ever done. Keeping lots of fun photos of my adventures and likes around the office for them to see too was always a big hit.

Here is a strategy any practice owner can use. Do this right, your practice grows, as does your wealth account.

Step 1-
Make sure your practice is set up around your life, NOT the other way around! What do you like to do outside of practice? Where do you want to live, travel to or experience? If it’s been a while since you’ve done this, take your time, and be honest with yourself. Be sure to write or dictate all of this.

Step 2-
Start recording snippets of your adventures in media- a smart phone is ideal because you can take decent photos, video, heck even record great conversational sound bites. Of course, it’s even better with a good camera.

Be sure to keep these devices handy all the time. Some of my best marketing pieces and images have come from weekend ski or motorcycle adventures, and of course my vacations. The more impromptu the picture or video the better.

Next, Make storage and organization of your files easy.

Step 3-
Be sure to use this material creatively. Put photos in your office news, flyers and especially on the web. This is why Facebook and other social media can be so powerful. It helps make you a real person.

Step 4-
Get some help. Too often, there is no solid marketing strategy, steps to follow or calendar for team members to focus on.

You’ll do far better to have a staff person help you with the implementation, but you’ve got to have a strategic plan they can follow. This is one of the very first things we teach in our Platinum sessions.

Step 5-
Carve out regular time to make sure you are living your dreams, and your practice is supporting it! This is crucial. It’s also why administrative and creative time must be on YOUR checklist, every week, and if you really want to accelerate your personal growth, every day!

This is living and practicing by design, not default (which gets stressful and ugly quickly).

 

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For further information join us on Facebook and Instagram  and to subscribe to our newsletters and private practice updates go to our website Perfect Practice Web

Patti

#privatepracticebuilding #perfectpracticeweb #livingpracticingbydesign

 

Start your office day right!

If you haven’t already tried this tip, I suggest you adopt it for 2 weeks, and tell me if it does not make a huge difference. 10 minutes before starting a patient shift, gather all your team in a private area. Have a copy of your Schedule, New Patient Log, and Missed appointment log. Go over each briefly, with the entire team. Make sure full communication is present amongst your players. Make sure your Team Captain (even if its you) are acting as the moderator.

Just doing this alone can have a huge impact on your practice.

Here’s a challenge to all clients and guests. Try this your next full week. Then email us or post to our Blog the results. I look forward to sharing your experiences.

Adding Preventive Services to Your Private Practice

Adding preventive services to your private is one of the most important things that you can do.

doctor

 

Establish yourself as a community leader by adding preventive services to your private practice. For example, weight-loss strategy groups and self-care classes done inside your practice and outside in your community can go along way towards building you as healthcare authority.

The most important thing however is to carefully plan out your strategy.

For example, I have always maintained that if I were going to bring a class or presentation to a group or organization they need to reciprocate in kind.

At the very least, you should be able to bring business cards, post flyers and leave brochures etc. There should be no problem asking for referrals.

By designing a strategy this way all parties benefit. There is a real reciprocation rather than a one-way street.

Unfortunately, too many private practice owners undervalue their time and thus waste vast amounts of energy on referral sources that never will develop.

So where do you begin?

As always, begin with a written game plan and strategy.

One of the most important things you can do is research first. You should be reading your hometown newspapers, doing local web searches, and surveying your patients etc.

All this will provide valuable information for you to ultimately develop a powerful game plan to work from.

Ask patients in your own practice as well as those from your fellow referral medical professionals what types of patient training programs they would like to see.

Some examples include early morning stretching and yoga classes, chronic pain control groups that you sponsor and train exclusively in as well as the time tested, twice monthly healthcare classes for all new patients.

Whatever it is you embark upon make sure it is well worth your time and effort but most especially, that these programs provide something special and engaging for your patients and your community.

As Walt Disney once said, make sure it’s so powerful that ‘patients can’t resist telling other patients!’

Let us help! Join us on Facebook !

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Private Practice – Part 4

We’ve been talking about resolutions you can make to build your private practice and make 2011 the best year you’ve ever had.  Two more suggestions are:

1.  Weekly business planning is a must

Success is not a “wing it” proposition.  In order to be consistently successful, you have to plan.  And you have to stick with your plan.  That doesn’t mean that it’s carved in stone.  A business plan is a living thing.  Work on it weekly to adapt to what’s actually going on in your business.

2.   Don’t skimp on things that will make you more productive

When you’re operating on a tight budget, it’s easy to just make do with what you have.  But ultimately, what you spend in using more efficient equipment will do nothing but strengthen your bottom line.  Keep that in mind when planning your capital expenditures for 2011.

Get a BIG Break on Some Tools That Will Increase Your Productivity HERE

Marketing the Specialty Medical Practice – Part 2

When devising the marketing plan for your specialty medical practice, whether it’s chiropractic, physical therapy, pain management, whatever your specialty happens to be, always remember that the most important point to get across is…

What’s In It For The Patient?

When you get in front of your prospective market, don’t dwell on how great you are or how you’re an expert in whatever field.

Emphasize what’s in it for them.

Greater mobility, playing golf, or enjoying the grandchildren…

Less pain…

Literally, getting their freedom or their life back…

You have to sell the benefits of your treatment, not your expertise.  Always make sure that your top priority in marketing, initially, is answering the patients all important “What’s in it for me?”

Communication is Key to Growing Your Practice – Part 3

The last piece in the communication puzzle:

How Do You Create A Strong Dialogue With Patients?

Treat creating effective patient communication as a step by step process.  This is another by-product of living and practicing by design.  Know what you want to achieve from the very beginning.  Think of the process along these lines:

First Impressions

As with any other initial meeting, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Start with a warm greeting and treat the patient like a personal friend.  Check your own attitude or mindset before you enter the treatment room and think about how you can best serve the patient.

Initial Consult

Your initial consultation with a patient will set the tone for the entire relationship. Really make an effort to connect with the patient and listen carefully to what they tell you about their current problems.  Ask questions in a way that encourages them to give you more information.

Designing Treatment

After you start treating the patient, communicate with them as thoroughly as possible.  Pay attention to body language and attitude.  The patient may be unhappy but not forthcoming about their complaints.  If you really pay attention, you may be able to address their concerns and salvage the treatment program.

Final Consult

At the end of the treatment program, it is vital to communicate with your patient about the success or failure of all portions of the treatment protocol.  This is an especially important time to listen to the patient.  Don’t just railroad them into agreeing with your perception of how the treatment went.  Pause and let them get a word in where they need to.

Following these communication guidelines will help you build patient trust and build your medical practice at the same time.  Your stiffest competition is doubt on the part of your patients.  Learning to effectively communicate with current and prospective patients will help you design effect marketing programs and address concerns before they become problems.

Communication is the Key to Growing Your Practice – Part 2

When we think of communication, we think of the positive side of a good “bedside manner”.  But there are some serious  consequences of failing to communicate with patients as well.

Poor Communication Can Destroy The Doctor/Patient Relationship

On the other hand, if you communicate poorly with your patients (i.e., lecture instead of listen, fail to explain the treatment program in a way that your patient can understand, don’t address patient concerns openly, etc.), the doctor/patient relationship may suffer irreparable damage.  You don’t get more than one chance to truly build trust with your patients.

Design your client communications with the end result of open dialogue and mutual trust in mind.  Approach your patients like you would any partnership, with respect, commitment and make sure you stay on the same page with the end result of treatment foremost in both your minds.

Patients Are Customers, Too – Part 3

For our final installment on remembering that patients are customers, here are a few more tips to make your patients’ experience a winning one:

1.  Never talk about a patient where another patient can overhear.

As a general rule, the patients you see every day aren’t feeling well and that can make them less than pleasant.  Regardless of how the patient behaves, never express an unflattering opinion about them where other patients can hear it.

2. If what you’re about to do will be uncomfortable, warn the patient.

Your staff may perform a certain procedure 20 times a day but for your patient, it could be something totally new.  Remind them to be honest with the patient.  Letting them know ahead of time that something is going to be unpleasant, and how unpleasant it will be, will give them more of a comfort level with you and know what to expect.

3. Speak in plain terms.

Remind your staff that not everyone works for a doctor.  Don’t use medical jargon or abbreviations or other terms that the average person doesn’t understand.  Take the time to explain what’s happening and do it in terms that are clear.  Make sure the patient understands exactly what they’ve been told.

Just taking the time to treat your patients with respect and showing sensitivity and professionalism will pay benefits for your practice that are priceless.  All of these tips will go a long way toward keeping those referrals coming in from satisfied patients.

What Drives Your Practice? Part 2

Turning Obstacles Into Opportunities

Knowing the purpose of your practice allows you to see the larger picture and meet obstacles head on and plan for a successful resolution to problems.  Every practice, regardless of size, location or specialty, faces obstacles.

Do any of these potential problems sound familiar?

  • Funding
  • Staying ahead of competition from other physicians and specialties
  • Planned growth and expansion
  • Managing patient outcomes and measuring success of treatment

Once you’ve determined your overall purpose and goals, you become more of a “big picture thinker” – anticipating problems and planning solutions before they occur.  If you know where you’re going, you have a better idea of how to get there.

Having a clear picture of your purpose allows you to do your homework and take appropriate action when opportunities present themselves.  You don’t circle the drain, studying the problem, asking for more information and letting opportunities pass you by while you “think about it”.

The War of Art* and getting unstuck…

Just wrapped up the weekend with a gorgeous Patriots Day sunrise this AM. Yup, it’s still a holiday is Massachusetts.

The weather wasn’t the best Saturday and Sunday but I did get the boat ready plus lots of stuff done for the week. Also had some great fun playing with fishing gear, speaking with local captains and shops too, as the season as they say is upon us.

And I did read two books in between the downpours, NeuropathyDR and PPW website and content changes for this week, and some prep work for Referral Ignition, a new program Nitin and I are joining forces on.
So all and all very productive.

But some people still think I am nuts. You see, I have always been able to get lots implemented, and have refined time management as an art form. To me it’s just a natural thing. That’s why Perfect Practice Web was born, the blueprint of efficiency and productivity in modern private practices.

But to many, getting all the stuff done for a powerful practice that needs to be, plus doing the fun stuff too is a struggle. That’s likely no surprise to any doc.

But it simply comes down to *“The War of Art”, as written by Steven Pressfield.

If you haven’t read it, you really need to.  He talks a whole lot about resistance, the entire lot of behavioral issues that stand between us and our biggest aspirations. This one might help with getting your big dreams actually accomplished.

And regarding your big dreams, I have some open call times Monday and Tuesday for our Clients and surge of new docs, welcome all!

There are some really great opportunities TODAY for all in our NeuropathyDR™ and Foundations Programs, so take action and really live those big dreams!

Call Jes 781-754-0599 to schedule some talk time. Or visit us on-line

Too many new patients…

Yesterday was another very long day. But in a wonderful way!

I have been in practice since 1981, and since 2005 helping docs build their dreams, using chiropractic and physical therapy practice development tools, and powerful personal growth strategies.

Fortunately, both businesses are booming. More about that later.

Last two days, I worked all day in practice  ‘til after 7PM, then well into the evening answering not only our client doctors inquiries, but patient inquiries, both local and from around the country who find us on the web and our social media sites. And then up at it again today.

But after 7 tonight, it’s no patients until Monday. Off to play with my motorcycle and boat. All by design.

I’ll have to admit, some days in practice are getting really long. But that’s OK, because I created all this, deliberately.

So over coffee and sunrise this morning I am asking, If I am doing all this speaking, writing and traveling, how come I still have 8-12 New Patients and multiple former patients in my practice on 3.5 days a week, just like when I practiced 6 days a week?

We’ll its really simple. I still practice (no pun intended) what I teach!
Recall systems, theme based marketing, websites, thank you’s for referrals, MD relationship programs and some other really time tested, low or no cost internal strategies.

And after all the docs I’ve corresponded with this week who aren’t yet reaching their goals, I got to thinking, how can I help them the most?

Well, over the next month you will see. My friend Nitin Chhoda PT and I met this last weekend, and came up with some powerful things we both can do to help our professions right now!

For the next week or so, I’ll be sharing some of my time tested simple strategies with you for free. It won’t cost you a penny, just a little time on my blog and on-line.

But I ask one favor. I need help in my office! I have not yet found the right doc to step in and fill my shoes. So if you know any entrepreneurial chiropractors that want an incredible opportunity, please ask them to call.

Here’s to more patients in your office, for FREE!

The Chiropractor of the Future?


The Doctor of the Future?

How the recent events in DC will ultimately pan out is anyone’s guess at this point. What portions of healthcare reform stand, what gets stripped or dismantled, there are some basic facts.

We are on the verge of a major dismantling of the previous 40 plus years of the doctor patient relationship by politicians and the greatest victory for health insurers, ever.

Portions of what are currently proposed are not fiscally sound. Witness 3.5 years of mandatory health insurance. Another Massachusetts Miracle. According to our commonwealths’ treasurer Tim Cahill “…we’ll be bankrupt in four years”.

Of course costs have risen with the introduction of some incredible diagnostic technologies, minimally invasive surgeries, and some incredibly life saving drugs. All of these have costs to bring to market after sometimes years of scientific triumph, testing and development.

Perhaps the most exciting thing we’ll see way more of in the next level of “disease cure potential” will be bio-tailored treatments.

But, there are also other very disturbing trends.
Lifestyle diseases still kill. Big time. Diabetes in younger patients every year. And some potentially devastating and disabling illnesses like depression, migraine headaches, chronic back pain, and a myriad of functional gastro-intestinal disorders to name just a few.

All of which are still perceived by the public at large as “normal”. Because everyone they know has one or more of them. For too many people all of us meet, if it weren’t for their med lists and doctors’ appointments, what would they ever talk about at social and family events?

Sad, but all too often true. Accepted by the mainstream, and fostered by relentless multimedia barrages as normal. Requiring the latest and greatest treatments and drugs, instead of lifestyle and personal responsibility, first.

Don’t get me wrong. We should never shy away from advancing newer effective disease treatments and cures whenever feasible.

But for those of us who have been seeing patients for a while, too often these days doesn’t it seem like there is way too much of swatting flies with a sledgehammer instead of a flyswatter, for so many of mans most common and largely functional ills?

So, where does this leave you?

Well, in private healthcare, to be financially viable and still rewarding, you’ll need to be focused on some basic trends, every day. And also be priced (and collecting) for the realities of your own future!

If you think that there is no market outside your own current daily reality, lets check out these examples. Your future in private care might just be in one of these:

Travel Medicine. Now it is a huge market to the affluent, from many countries. Combine healthcare with a vacation, sometimes the trip of a lifetime to another country for rest and recuperation.

Along the same lines, patients from may other countries “Export” their needs to the USA for the best care, regardless of personal costs.

Cosmetic/Esthetics. Still very powerful, and always will be. To the right market.

Niche Healthcare. There are big markets in all professions. Every profession is replete with examples. Dentistry and cosmetic surgeons have this one down. For lots of chiropractors, it could be (hint: likely should) condition specific care, (like neuropathy). And sub-niches (like RSD, and related painful, debilitating neurological disorders).

But perhaps the biggest reality doctor?

2 Million More “Boomers” will be introduced into the private healthcare market for their aging bodies every year, the next few years.

Still with a significant net worth and desire for fitness and quality of life well into their later years.

But, with very high levels of expectations and modern consumer options.

Private practices will increasingly demand more entrepreneurial and technology skills. Powerful marketing with the expanding usage of multi-media. Bullet-proof staff capable and willing of truly serving.

Now though more than ever, you must be the Doctor. Educator, decision facilitator, using all your skills and getting paid for them.

And Always remember, that while seeing patients, being the best doctor you can be, patients get their lives back!

You’re going to have to say more and more “Mrs. Jones, I can only be about your health…not your insurance”.

Now doc, its decision time. If you still want to be in private practice, will you be ready?

You can get a FREE “Stay Focused” Membership and get our free email tips, and events series by registering on our Home Page

Blueberries, vegetables and exercise, or cigars, sex and coffee…

The Secret of self-actualized life- is it blueberries, vegetables and exercise, or cigars, sex and coffee…

This past weekend, I finally got to wind down after our months long SuperConference build-up. It was a great event; most docs were ecstatic with the content and opportunities, despite the very harsh realities of private practice today. It was great to be with all my special friends who helped make this event so powerful.

In any event, another very special friend Dennis invited me on the water all day Friday and Patti and I to his Yacht Club Friday night. (Turns out, we’ll be joining!)

Friday morning, the fishing was great again, just off the Boston Harbor hotels, and airport runways. It’s a fabulous place, with tons of revolutionary war (and before) history, forts, burial grounds, etc.

Friday night, the four of us cruised the inner harbor, back on land for a couple drinks then had a fabulous dinner back at the club and tons of laughs together.

Then, Dennis asked me if I wanted to smoke a cigar with him. I must have had one hell of an expression, because he immediately began to tell me about studies on cigar smoking and longevity???

Huh? I read research every morning, but I missed that one!

So Dennis says “Its stress that kills us. Those that socialize, and have fun, maybe smoke a cigar and sip Scotch together, laugh and stay engaged, live longer, happier and healthier lives”.

So don’t you know it, look up the studies on centenarians in Cuba, and other countries too?

My take after reading these studies? They live simply, stay engaged in life fully for the moment only, and have moderate habits, nothing to excess. Interestingly, in Cuba, they smoke cigars, drink coffee, and still enjoy sex.

But most of all, they ENJOY all of life. Especially simple pleasures, friends and family. Most every day.

And thats it.

Boy, can we screw this one up, big time.

Look at the craziness some of us see everyday, people stressed out, never disengaged, or never shut off the cell phones and TV, bitch about everything, live sedentary, not outside enough.

Or some Docs that continually stress, never disengage long enough to really figure out who’s in charge of their life and practice, who they care or work for. No good systems or organization that really serves them, and their goals and dreams.

What a mess we are capable of creating!

But, there is an antidote. And it’s the very first step I often end up taking with new clients.

That is, to develop and work on and truly develop the essence of Practice by Design ™.

But if it’s really this simple, why do so many of us as very intelligent docs especially every practice day struggle with it?

I’m not really sure, but I can tell you a few things.

First, YOU have got to have complete design control in practice. This is really the most valuable part for me personally while working with my docs.

Next, staff needs firm, but still fun environments and goals. Very easy systems that still work (by design) when we all have those “no brain” days. And the government has made this one harder.

Three, patients need guidance, and the choice to accept or reject advice. When you can see them, what your game rules are. This must of course include finances. And, if they choose to reject your advice, why would you ever keep them under your care?

And you know what, it can be as simple as these three basic
rules!

But you must have the certainty, intestinal fortitude and underlying tools to pull this all off.

To that end, as Mr. Spock admonished me 40+ years ago, “live long, and prosper.”

Another Lesson on Systems…

A powerful lesson on systems from M. Mitchell Waldrop in his book, Complexity referred to in Deep Survival by Laurence Gonales, a must read book!

“All complex adaptive systems anticipate the future…every living creature has an implicit prediction encoded in it’s genes…every complex adaptive system is constantly making predictions based upon its various internal models of the world…in fact, you can think of internal models as the building blocks of behavior. And like any other building blocks, they can be tested, refined, and rearranged as the system gains experience.”

~

‘I like his stuff but I hardly know this guy…’

‘I like his stuff but I hardly know this guy…’

Jes is hearing this more and more from docs around the country, who is this guy on Nantucket, Marthas Vineyard, Washington one week, then tooling around on the Bimmer?

This guy is me, a 54 year old with a 12 year olds passion for motors and baseball.

I’m the guy who pioneered the no bull way to run private practices.

Look, here’s the real deal I have never shared publicly.

5 years ago, I became instantly disabled, had to close my second office I had recently opened.

For 9 months, every movement was constant pain. During this time, I showed up in the office as the coach, every day except for the hospital admission. Spent half the days or more, between MRIs, EPs, neurosurgical and neurology consults on my back, in my office. More on that another time.

My associate doc who I pulled from the second office worked with my coaching using my systems, seeing most patients.

My practice did not drop. Not a beat! In fact, my disability insurance company ultimately gave me a real hard time because my practice income stayed up!

Why you ask? Because the real power in practice, and yes indeed life, real freedom, is in the impeccable sytems.

Now, you too can learn all of this, practice it, end up free and financially independent like our successful member docs.

Or miserable and unfulfilled in one of the greatest healing arts. It pains greatly when docs call me with those stories.

If you are ready, the teacher has appeared.

Pick my brain or just introduce yourself on Special Call in Day (781-659-7989) this Wednesday 8/5 1-2 PM EST.

I’ll take my helmet off long enough to answer your questions, first come. 5 mins max.

~

Watch More from the seat of my R1150RS to learn about the NO BULL way to run your life and practice…

Then Go To

http://perfectpracticeweb.com/annual-superconference-and-live-events.html

Have a Great Day!

John

It’s now or never: Fixing Healthcare with Common Sense

Fixing HealthCare with Common Sense

What it will finally take is anyone’s guess. Our candidates for public office are great at talking a good game, and oh what a show Wednesday on ABC promises to be, but what ultimately it will take is a combination of “Common Sense” (written in 1776 from Founding Father Thomas Paine*) and a return of major corporate ethics, with effective, consumer driven oversight and simplified regulation.

Assuming we keep a private, free enterprise system, lets finally put the consumer in charge, just like with other types of insurance. Lets simultaneously expand HSAs and FSA programs and benefits to further breed responsible healthcare consumption.

It is likely the best solution, easiest to implement without burdening us with bigger government. I say let companies like Geico, Progressive and others that market auto insurance direct to consumers into the ring. Let consumer choice drive them to cut costs by uncoupling dollars from non-benefits payment. Give them simple rules to follow, nationwide, exempt from state lines. This could be huge, and would not take any dismantling of our major delivery systems.

Remember, Medicare runs on 4% administrative overhead, but currently private health insurers are closer to 25%. Much of this goes to the questionably ethical profiteering of extreme proportions, exorbitant salaries for executives and contributes to ridiculously poor provider reimbursements.

And, how about adding return of premium benefits to reward the healthiest while not penalizing the seriously ill. This is a tremendously powerful idea that would reap huge benefits for the consumer. It’s already done with disability and some other types of insurance and mutual insurance companies regularly pay dividends to payees. So, Lets make sure that some of insurance premium dollars can be returned if consumers stay healthy.

Lets also finally de-link health insurance from employers and employment benefits once and for all. This has been an absolute catastrophe. Even the Boston Globe recently acknowledged this. The extreme burden on US businesses of all sizes from health care premiums is well known. The trickle down benefits to business, like the automakers, municipalities and others could also be a huge economic stimulus.

Uncoupling health insurance benefits from employment would make consumers ultimately more fiscally savvy and responsible. This could quite likely increase their wages simultaneously as employees would now purchase all benefits outside of their work. Uncle Sam can help with deductibility and tax exemptions, maybe larger in the beginning to help foster the transition.

I also believe that there should be real consumer dollars available for CAM (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine) that can be used in the treatment of our most common and non-life threatening disorders especially if the consumer does not utilize more expensive traditional pathways for the same condition. Back pain and headaches are two very real examples that both happen to be still the most common reasons for doctor’s visits, and are at least in part linked to stress and unhealthy lifestyles.

This mechanism alone would foster consumer education to choose their own healthcare pathways with taking an additional financial hit in addition to premiums.

Any effective system must simultaneously provide equitable reimbursement and other incentives to all licensed doctors of all disciplines as well as ancillary providers for our society to keep great healthcare providers in the system.

This must include simplified reimbursement schedules, equal across the professions for identical procedures. I strongly favor a diagnosis-based system with utilization review only for those cases outlying the norms. This could be a technological piece of cake with a national electronic healthcare database for all Americans.

Of course, there are other issues that need to be simultaneously addressed. These include malpractice provisions (some experts suggest in a separate healthcare “court” in addition to capped awards). Better awareness of poor outcomes vs. malpractice by society at large would really help as well.

Drug costs, competition and widespread availability of tested alternatives to prescription drugs all need to be handled. Again, a consumer driven Wal-Mart type of distribution may be what already does it.

So, how can we help? Lets make sure we educate ourselves first and foremost as to what’s wrong with our current system and push our lawmakers toward better consumer choices. Take a real hard look at their differences on these topics when you vote and support any politician, as some are huge. Let your patients know who these consumer friendly elected officials are in your area are too.

Utilize cost effective preventive screenings in your practice, and advocate the same for our families. Lets make sure we teach our kids and our patients all the rewards of better health choices like non-smoking, stress management, diabetes prevention, relationship choices including illicit drugs and sexual behavior, and permanent weight control.

How it will all turn out is anybodies guess. I continue to be as vocal about these issues with my patients and community, and urge you to do the same.

Not Unlike Thomas Paine did over 200 years ago.

(*Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.)

The Consequences of inaction…

…can be devastating.

It’s a fact. Failure to act, and act swiftly and decisively causes more lost opportunity than perhaps any other single human behavior.

Likewise, making the little decisions more quickly, and the bigger ones with more clarity will move you ever closer to your goals.

This, is the biggest take away from our conferences this week with our Gold and Plus members. Those who make it big, live their entire lives on this basic principle.

“Networking: Where Do I Put My Marketing Energy?”

“Networking:
Where Do I Put My Marketing Energy?”

Let’s talk about some of the more common areas that doctors usually get involved in regarding networking and their practice.

The whole purpose of networking is to build a community of people that share interests and similar activities. You can also explore the activities, business fields, and areas of expertise of those who are involved in almost any group. This has tremendous benefits to establishing yourself in the community.

The downside certainly can be the time factor. Early on in practice, you may have a lot of time to devote to this. Realistically, as time goes on, you’ll have to make some careful decisions as to how involved you want to be.

Let’s begin with the chamber of commerce. Initially, these groups are a very good move. It gives you the opportunity to meet and greet people in your community and have some professional presence at meetings. It allows you to help them with certain posts at chamber events, which can help you get noticed. You can also participate in their live community sponsored events.

All of these things are particularly beneficial as long as you remember the three basics of networking:

1.Make sure you’re dressed appropriately for the occasion.

2.Make sure you have plenty of business cards.

3.Have some professionally done brochures or newsletters handy as something you can distribute, exchange and follow up with.

The downfall of all these activities is the time trap. In private practice, it may be something that’s extraordinarily beneficial. As time goes on, you really need to, in most cases, limit yourself to attending the regular meetings.

The other thing about getting involved with chambers of commerce is to be very careful about taking officer positions because they do consume a tremendous amount of time. You’ll find yourself reaching diminishing returns quickly with your time.

Conversely, the best results from this type of professional interaction come from building alliances.

Of all the types of networking behaviors we can engage in as professionals, this should be number one on your list. This is an area that can be very fruitful for just about everybody who participates in it.

Another essential area of networking we have the opportunity to be involved in is membership in professional societies.

You can say what you want about professional societies, no matter where you practice, but generally we’re better off to belong, and participate in our professional societies than to not.

Especially in these times we live in today our future, as politicians will really put healthcare professionals on the line.

You think insurance companies screwed with your practice? Just wait to you see what’s next.

Generally those who participate in professional societies seem to be much more on top of what’s happening legally and legislatively, and events that are happening in the federal and state governments plus the industry in general.

All this can have a major impact on your practice. It’s up to you, but it is something we recommend.

Perhaps the best thing about professional societies is the group access they allow you to obtain. For example, you can access their group leverage for member benefits and services, whether it’s to buy products or information services. You often have access to some type of discounted buying options or programs for office supplies, travel, etc.

Another enormous advantage of belonging to a professional society is you have excellent continuing education access. You have access to insurance programs, especially for disability insurance. This is one area you certainly want to look at.

In most parts of the country, professional societies have a regulatory interface. They may very well come to your rescue at a time of need. This has been my experience in the past, and it’s something you should be very cognizant of.

But most importantly, our societies can serve as an organized voice. Sure we have disagreements. But coming together on common ground will unite us as best we can. Never in the history of our world has the need for this been greater.

Lastly, really bring something to the table, no matter where you are.
More often than not its encouragement and ideas, with the monetary concerns a tertiary issue.

Interface through common connections and at community events. Be ready to help when they need it.

You never know in this world when you’ll need their assistance. In my experience, it will be sooner rather than later.

Really Looked at your marketing campaigns lately?

Missing real leadership in tougher times is driving responses to an entirely new set of on-line ads, that 1 year ago were almost irrelevant. It will tell you what people really want, and need right now.
The same is true off-line.
Really.
I recently took a hard look at what on-line ads are pulling the hardest.
Boy, has that changed!

How many businesses and practices are oblivious to this?

It also explains why private practices, lead by true integrity continue to support the community and are themselves very healthy.

Fixing HealthCare with Common Sense

What it will finally take is anyone’s guess. Our candidates for public office are great at talking a good game, but what ultimately it will take is a combination of “Common Sense” (written in 1776 from Founding Father Thomas Payne*) and a return of major corporate ethics, with effective, consumer driven oversight and simplified regulation.

It is likely the best solution, easiest to implement without burdening us with bigger government. I say let companies like Geico, Progressive and others that market auto insurance direct to consumers into the ring. Let consumer choice drive them to cut costs by uncoupling dollars from non-benefits payment. Give them simple rules to follow, nationwide, exempt from state lines. This could be huge, and would not take any dismantling of our major delivery systems.

Remember, Medicare runs on 4% administrative overhead, but currently private health insurers are closer to 25%. Much of this goes to the questionably ethical profiteering of extreme proportions, exorbitant salaries for executives and contributes to ridiculously poor provider reimbursements.

And, how about adding return of premium benefits to reward the healthiest while not penalizing the seriously ill. This is a tremendously powerful idea that would reap huge benefits for the consumer. It’s already done with disability and some other types of insurance and mutual insurance companies regularly pay dividends to payees. So, Lets make sure that some of insurance premium dollars can be returned if consumers stay healthy.

Lets also finally de-link health insurance from employers and employment benefits once and for all. This has been an absolute catastrophe. Even the Boston Globe recently acknowledged this. The extreme burden on US businesses of all sizes from health care premiums is well known. The trickle down benefits to business, like the automakers, municipalities and others could also be a huge economic stimulus.

Uncoupling health insurance benefits from employment would make consumers ultimately more fiscally savvy and responsible. This could quite likely increase their wages simultaneously as employees would now purchase all benefits outside of their work. Uncle Sam can help with deductibility and tax exemptions, maybe larger in the beginning to help foster the transition.

I also believe that there should be real consumer dollars available for CAM (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine) that can be used in the treatment of our most common and non-life threatening disorders especially if the consumer does not utilize more expensive traditional pathways for the same condition. Back pain and headaches are two very real examples that both happen to be still the most common reasons for doctor’s visits, and are at least in part linked to stress and unhealthy lifestyles.

This mechanism alone would foster consumer education to choose their own healthcare pathways without taking an additional financial hit in addition to premiums.

Any effective system must simultaneously provide equitable reimbursement and other incentives to all licensed doctors of all disciplines as well as ancillary providers for our society to keep great healthcare providers in the system.

This must include simplified reimbursement schedules, equal across the professions for identical procedures. I strongly favor a diagnosis-based system with utilization review only for those cases outlying the norms. This could be a technological piece of cake with a national electronic healthcare database for all Americans.

Of course, there are other issues that need to be simultaneously addressed. These include malpractice provisions (some experts suggest in a separate healthcare “court” in addition to capped awards). Better awareness of poor outcomes vs. malpractice by society at large would really help as well.

Drug costs, competition and widespread availability of tested alternatives to prescription drugs all need to be handled. Again, a consumer driven Wal-Mart type of distribution may be what already does it.

So, how can we help? Lets make sure we educate ourselves first and foremost as to what’s wrong with our current system and push our lawmakers toward better consumer choices. Take a real hard look at their differences on these topics when you vote and support any politician, as some are huge. Let your patients know who these consumer friendly elected officials are in your area are too.

Utilize cost effective preventive screenings in your practice, and advocate the same for our families. Lets make sure we teach our kids and our patients all the rewards of better health choices like non-smoking, stress management, diabetes prevention, relationship choices including illicit drugs and sexual behavior, and permanent weight control.

How it will all turn out is anybodies guess. I continue to be as vocal about these issues with my patients and community, and urge you to do the same.

Not Unlike Thomas Payne did over 200 years ago.

(*Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.)