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INSIDE DPC: ‘Wearing Multiple Hats Inside Your DPC Practice.’

Editor-In-Chief of The DPC Journal, Michael Tetreault. Author, Community Builder, PR/Media Brand Advocate.

By Michael Tetreault, Editor

SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 – If you’re like most doctors who own a medical practice, your business card has your title listed as an M.D., D.O. Family Medicine Physician, CEO or Founder, but you know that on any given day it could just as easily read Typist, Chief Scheduler, Patient Solution Provider, marketing manager, IT Guy (or girl), EMR Director, accountant…etc.

Direct Primary Care (DPC) doctors don’t have the luxury of passing duties off to a group of department heads.  The success of your practice business depends on your ability to wear all of the multiple hats needed to keep the wheels of your business spinning. At times, the crazy pace needed to operate properly can turn even the most capable physician into an overwhelmed entrepreneur wearing far too many hats.

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It’s this point that most will begin looking at hiring staff members to help with certain jobs in the practice. Before looking to bring on help, you should sit down and objectively assess your own strengths and weakness. What areas of your business do you love? Where do you need more discipline and development?

By identifying your areas of weakness, you can see where you could best get assistance from an employee. When hiring it’s always best to try to maximize your own strengths and fill in gaps for your weaknesses, rather than just hire for what you’d consider “lower wage” work.

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With that said, at some time in the future your business is going to grow beyond your own abilities. You might not see it right now, but you will. This means you need to staff up the practice. While it may seem like a dream that you will be able to delegate some jobs, growth can bring its own set of problems:

  • When you’ve been used to running your practice on your own, it can be difficult to relinquish control of day-to-day details. But it’s critical to let go. Successful DPC clinics tell The DPC Journal staff that they don’t micromanage what each staff member is doing. Leadership 101.
  • Make sure you’re giving your employees the freedom to make decisions. In the long run, you’ll have a wiser, more confident, more effective and more capable team. And you’ll be able to focus on the strategic aspects of your business. At the end of the day it’s about being a team and working cohesively as a one.
  • Make sure your staff clearly understands the results you expect. The mark of any employee is their embracing of the goals you set for your business.
  • Staff must be personally accountable for their actions. The best staff works under general supervision and manages themselves.

Make time to work on your practice.

When you own a DPC medical office, it’s all too easy to get lost in the daily grind inside your practice and put off strategic, long-term planning. If you find yourself in this situation, you’ll need to dedicate time in your calendar each week (yes, I said each week) to consider your practice, local influences, market trends and think about potential opportunities. Long-term positioning is critical to a medical practice. Remember years ago when your family neighborhood doctor was as known in his/her community as the local grocery store? That’s how you need to be thinking about your DPC practice.

The majority of DPC doctors will always wear and point out that they wear too many hats. Make sure these multiple hats are helping more than they are hurting your practice.

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