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Building a Fortress around your Private Practice: Part 2

The last time I talked about some of the important strategies that we can utilize every day to build a fortress around our private practices. But what I’d like to do today is address a bigger issue: our patient’s health and well-being.

Too often the theme from “practice consultants” has been, “just put this system in place and make a ton of money”.

All of us here understand our that when our only major concern is helping the patient in front of us get and then stay well, we’ll never have to worry about money ever again. This, of course, should be driving force behind everything we do every day.

Referrals will take care of themselves and we become as busy as we want to be!

The reality is that we deserve to be financially successful. To do this effectively, communications, marketing, and, indeed, every system, must convey our personal intention to help our patients get—and then stay—well.

Everyone in your practice, from your staff to your fellow referral professionals, must completely understand that this is our purpose!

But you’ll never be able to pull this off unless you are focused on the realities of your own future, and, at the same time providing excellent, cutting-edge care.

And I respectfully submit that for those of us in medicine today this is the management of chronic pain, disease, and illness in a way that supports the active lifestyle so many people today demand.

The reality is drug-only therapy will not accomplish this.

So get creative! What are your really good at and enjoy the most in practice? This is exactly what you should be doing more of every day!

Unless you differentiate yourself in this manner, you’ll end up burned out, broke, and like too many of those who venture into private practice, unable to even repay your student loans.

Harsh language? You bet!

But this is the reality of building a fortress around your private practice today!
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Patti

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No Room for Error

There really is no room for error in healthcare today, especially in private practice. But there is plenty of need for crystal clear focus!

Today though let’s talk about one of the most commonly-ignored growth and personal satisfaction strategies as private practice owners.
That is, “surveying” your existing and prospective patients.

Once upon a time, private healthcare was called “elective” health care. That is, care which patients seek out to improve a chronic condition or the general quality of their life—but not necessarily considered essential. You can probably think of many more applications of the term essential if you have spent any time in the public sector.

Now, of course, the situation has changed so the most viable private practice includes optional procedures, systems and services which are elective, but may also be unavailable in the public sector.

The most important thing to your practice success is that your patient now considers what you do for them essential. This could include things like comfort and cosmetic treatments. It also includes the relief of chronic conditions, without invasive procedures.

This truly affords the private practice owner a huge opportunity for practice growth. Yes even right now!

I hope you see where I am going here. By accurately surveying the desires of your practice, it is much more rewarding to implement the exact systems, services, procedures and possibly other health related pieces your patients are actually looking for.

Surveying patients regularly, and then testing with action will help enhance and improve your services tremendously by adding the added factors of comfort and relaxation.

Your private practice should be no exception.

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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

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When Something in Practice Isn’t Working

Like everyone, physicians can really stress, and too often for us it’s when something in practice isn’t working as we anticipated.

Unfortunately, it frequently turns out that finances and basic business systems are simply not working. Too often, it’s because they are never implemented.

Very few of us had the opportunity to study with successful mentors before we opened our doors. Worse yet, is the private practice owner who thinks they must be a slave to third parties, work like a dog, and settle for pennies on the dollar.

Too often, instructors and colleges fail our students by not providing at least the basics of business, personal finances and marketing.

This has led far too many physicians today to struggle, where struggle is not necessary. For sure it’s a big reason so many doc’s have gone corporate 100%.

One thing is for sure though. In unsuccessful private practices many never take the time to identify who their ideal patient is. They simply continue to market and position themselves like everybody else in their town and profession and wonder why they go home exhausted, and broke.

In public health care of which I believe we all should contribute by the way, that may be our chosen role, but in your private practice you still have a choice.

You can specialize. You can seek out clients who desire only what you have to offer. These patients are searching for your skill sets and quite honestly your professional relationship building.

They are also searching for a warm welcoming private practice staff like so many of them grew up with.

What this requires however is a totally different perspective. An option that honestly, I think we owe our trainees and younger physicians.

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Patti Hayes is CEO of Perfect Practice Web, and has 30+ years experience in practice management.

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Transitions

Transitions…

I think one of the most powerful but sometimes scariest things we do as physicians caring for patients, but also mentors to students and younger docs is help them create a compelling future life, and then actually watch it start to unfold right before our eyes.

Think about it. As a doc, you did this too, first as a student at several levels. In reality, many times. In fact, at one point it was probably term-to-term.

Then, you began to practice. Still way more changes. Lots of excitement, new ways of doing things, patients that challenged every skill you thought you forgot.

So, in reality, you know you have the power to create magnificent changes.

Getting Stuck…

After a while, what was once magnificent and exciting can seem dull, boring, and very routine. We sometimes so easily forget the sacrifices we made to get where we are. High school, under-grad, and on and on. If we allow it, the daily grind can become just that. If it’s not practice stress, it’s kids, family, etc.

Then sometimes we build fences, stop communicating with past friends, we can also become very rigid in certain habits, most especially mental habits and sometimes getting really, really stuck.

Before we know it, seems like years have passed.

If things did not turn out like you thought, it’s easy to just give in, and say, “…Oh well…” We in fact, can start to live by default.

That’s when its not pretty…

So what is the most simplistic solution? Respectfully, our role must be to maintain our own health and happiness first. This is the only way we will be able to carry forward our roles as physicians, on our own terms. As long as we choose.

 

Decisions & Plans Create Reality

The Decision To Move Forward

The decision to move forward. This, unfortunately, still remains a major stumbling block of many. Indeed, the slowness or lack of making even simple decisions, but most especially putting off critical decisions sometimes slows forward progress by weeks, months, and in some very unfortunate circumstances years.

But I believe that the reason this most frequently occurs is a lack of clarity, a lack of vision. All too often, in general people, even ourselves as highly intelligent doctors, are unaware of the vast opportunities that wait in our personal and professional lives, simply for the asking.

Those who are happiest, most prosperous and effective realize that it is this willingness to take action in meaningful directions on moment-to-moment basis is the ultimate in accomplishment.

Doctors, the decisions you make today will have profound impact on next year. And the direction that you take professionally as well as personally next year will also have very significant impact not only on the rest of your professional career, but as well on the quality of your personal life.

Right now, is simply the very best time to reflect very carefully on what this past year worked right, what needs to go, what needs to stay.

The reason for these rapid and effective decision-making skills set is frankly is that the speed of change is ever accelerating.

There has never been a better time to be in private practice, but only for those who possess clarity, a phenomenally well written game plan, remain strong, effective communicators, capable and willing to provide only the very best in health care services.

But there’s something that’s extraordinarily important to clarify first, and that is your personal vision.

First, (not last) the quality of life you want for yourself, as well as those closest to you.

Reality dictates, that this future style of private practice will require breaking with the rank and file. Future practices will require blending all the best technology has to offer, the very best in cost effective systems and procedures all combined with time tested humanistic skills, and compassion.

It will simply not be enough to have pieces of this puzzle. Rather, all pieces must fit together with exact precision.

Therefore, I respectfully suggest that you start assembling your puzzle now.

And in doing so, carefully consider all ramifications of your decisions. This is where exercise, quiet time, reflection as well as inspirational reading and study while developing fully your game plan, all carefully written out and diagramed on paper will make a tremendous difference not only in how you feel, but how you act.

Once you have clarified this new vision, it is essential that all the steps you wrote as necessary to actually pull off its execution are first set into motion, and put into written timetables.

Then, perhaps most importantly choose your support system.

In my experience, it is those doctors who fully utilize great support systems, accomplish far more throughout the year than those who do not.

The best support systems provides you with all the information you will need, the personal as well as professional associations, camaraderie and affiliations that supply the building blocks, systems, plans and tools necessary to complete your puzzle.

But only YOU can reach out and grab it.

 

Creating A Compelling Future

I think one of the most powerful but scariest things we do as achievers is create a compelling future life, and then actually watch it start to unfold right before our eyes.

Think about it. If you are a doc, you did this as a student at several levels. In reality, many times. In fact, at one point it was probably term-to-term.

Then, you opened your practice. Still way more changes. Lots of excitement, new ways of doing things, patients that challenged every skill you thought you forgot.

So, you know you have the power to create magnificent changes.

And Then Getting Stuck…

After a while, what was once magnificent and exciting seems dull, boring, and very routine. We sometimes so easily forget the sacrifices we made to get where we are. High school, undergrad, and on and on.

The daily grind is just that. If it’s not practice stress, it’s kids, family, etc.

Then sometimes we build fences, stop communicating with past friends, we can also become very rigid in certain habits, most especially mental habits and sometimes getting really, really stuck.

Before we know it, seems like years have passed. If things did not turn out like you thought, it’s easy to just give in, and say, “…Oh well…” We in fact, can start to live by default.

That’s when its not pretty…. (more next time)

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REMINDERS: Living & Practicing by Design Trainings are uploaded for you.

Have a great day!

Patti

Avoiding KEY Reasons for Failure

I have a short list of reasons for failure, when a prospective client comes to me. I have to tell you that the vast majority that ultimately become clients are successful because I personally vet all my clients on some really key issues.

There are reasons for failure. Number one on my list is something I hear all the time.

I tell Kerri, “If you ever hear this from a doctor, you have to tell them that we just can’t help them.”

That is when a prospective doc  says  “All I want is the marketing”.

I can’t tell you how many times I hear from prospective doctors, “Nope, I have everything else down. All I want to know about is marketing.”

I will tell you right now that when I hear that, virtually without exception, I can predict that the doctor will go down, usually in a ball of flames within a relatively short period of time.

It’s not just about the marketing.

It IS KNOWING how to IMPLEMENT SYSTEMS. And Keep them all running just like we teach you how.

Getting every step of private practice to run like a Formula One Racer…

The fact of the matter is frequent, relevant communications and contact with patients, the community and your referral professionals is paramount to your success, and will be even more so in the next 9 months!

Will YOU be part of it???

It’s as I said when I did my first live event in Boston many years back. If your patient takes out their handheld or and you don’t come up on the first page, you don’t exist in the minds of at least two generations of patients. Too many doctors still fail to come to grips with this!

So, with all that said, here’s how two of our clients talked to us about HOW they are getting it all done…

From Dr. Mark Giust, of Brookhaven, Mississippi

“My biggest challenge was just trying to take some action steps. What you helped me with the most was just realizing that you don’t have to take humongous steps. You can take some small steps to help you move in that direction and not just sit still. Everyone knows sometimes what they need to do. It’s just a matter of getting out there and doing it and doing it the right way that can help them be successful.

I think sometimes we have a lot of choices to make. There’s a lot of information out there to sort through. Before working with you, I was overwhelmed with the amount of information out there. There’s webinars and CDs. I think sometimes I was afraid I was going to miss something. I’d try to listen to all of it, but then I’d almost get overwhelmed and think, “What do I do?” I’d jump from one thing to the next and maybe not stay on the right thing.

We talked about practicing by design. You need to have that base to start with and build upon. You need to do the most important things first. You’ve helped me a lot with staff issues, part-time help and utilizing my time more efficiently.

The biggest point you made that I want to make sure to emphasize is that the very first thing you did was take our Core Module 1 and literally redesign how you wanted your practice. We spent the rest of the year working toward that goal.”

 

Next, Dr. Robert Cole & Jennifer, Monroeville, Pennsylvania talked about Priorities…

 

“It is better when you’re constantly implementing and taking action steps, but they’re smaller and more comfortable. You gain confidence by doing things like newsletters and health talks.

Action steps is one, and confidence with patients is another. It was one of your newsletters, or it might have been an audio CD where you talked about how sometimes you have to fire a patient. You may have to say, ‘You’re not doing what I asked you to do. It’s a health risk for you. It’s a liability for me. We need to terminate this.” A lot of times, it’s a relief. It’s like cutting out the poison from your practice. If they do stay, it invigorates your relationship with them, and sometimes the whole practice overall.

I don’t know if most of you are aware of the movie out called “The Blind Side.” The author goes back and forth explaining things about football. They put various quarterbacks in when Joe Montana and Steve Young got hurt. That system was so effective that they could put almost any quarterback in there and turn him into a star because the system worked.

It instantly reminded me of what you teach and talk about. Once you have the systems in place, you can walk into that scenario and have it work effectively in an ethical and moral way.

I think organization and self-confidence were really big issues. What we’ve been doing with you walking us through the steps has helped us to regain our confidence. It was always there, but we had to build it back up. We definitely did that.

It’s comforting to know that we have somebody in our court. We have a cheering sections. One of the big things is consistency, whether it’s working out or eating right or working on your practice. It’s doing the right things consistently. It’s planning out ahead of time for short and long-term stuff. It’s sticking with a plan and continuing to keep your head in the game

“We’re all in the same boat. You offer some real-world solutions. It’s not that much of a struggle to implement them. I’ve worked with some people and it was such a shift in what we normally did that it’s a real stressor. This isn’t a stressor. This is getting your ducks in a row.”

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Thank You Doctors. I could have not said it any better.

Patti

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Private Practice Made Simple? Here’s How It’s Done!

Trouble is not far away when decisions are not based on knowledge of current private practice requirements.

Now don’t get me wrong: any business, especially modern health care, has all types of rules, regulations, and complexities built in. There is no escaping that fact.

DoctorsIt seems the rules are always made by those who are most clueless about what it takes to run a business—and have little if any real world experience to draw from.

Still, it is up to us to make our own decisions about HOW to deal with all the issues we are confronted with daily, in the most effective way possible.

But trouble is not far away when decisions are not based on knowledge of current private practice requirements.

For us as health care pros, our professional training usually falls miserably short, or just happened too long ago to be relevant today. Unless you have an MBA or other business training, so much of your day’s time will be spent just trying to sort things out—think hiring, training, and effective marketing out.

The problem, of course, is, you only make money with income-producing NOT valuable TIME-consuming activities.

So what’s the answer?

Do as all the greats in any business do: 1. Purchase specialized knowledge about running your practice, so it does not run you, and 2. Learn to hire your “deficiencies”.

Now, as a private practice owner, our “deficiencies” may include staffing policies, updating rulebooks and posted regulations, or tax and patient data protection policies.

Not to mention a myriad of other legal and accounting complexities.

The most critical of all is marketing. Marketing is the lifeblood of your practice. Do this one wrong, and you may as well ignore everything else, as it will soon become immaterial.

Because of how quickly things change, you MUST do both of these on a regular basis.

Honestly, thinking we can do otherwise is delusional.

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