By Michael Tetreault, Editor, CMT, The DPC Journal, Concierge Medicine CANADA & The American Journal of Retail Medicine
DECEMBER 16, 2016 – Today, the “DocPreneur” in private medicine is free from a lot of common healthcare hassles. Typically, they are the primary physician owner/operator of their practice, a creative timekeeper, a staff manager, an IT guru and a constant learner.
These “DocPreneurs” are also very smart. They are not afraid to challenge their patients, knee cap to knee cap, and push the practice boundaries to make things better. They are constantly looking for ways to enhance the next patient experience and consume new ideas like candy when it comes to creative patient retention strategies. Because of these unique qualities, the best physicians in private medicine are leaders with small egos, quiet and incredibly friendly and approachable. They are excellent listeners. Slow to anger … and they have traits that get the most out of people. It is those traits, unique to “DocPreneurs” that enable them to unlock the full potential of their patients and help them achieve common goals.
Today, I want to look at a few of these leadership qualities and traits. I also want to explain their importance in your practice.
4 Traits Of The Top Doctors in Private Medicine
Top Docs Act Decisively.
Physicians who venture into the world of entrepreneurialism need to be decisive. Decisive when it comes to managing tasks, treatment and the management of people who believe in a common vision for the practice. While input from all team members and employees (and outside trusted advisors) is encouraged … everyday decisions have to come easy, automatically, and within a reasonable amount of time. These decisions must come out of the practice’s leader and that leader must be prepared to act when it is necessary.
They Exude Energy.
Have you every heard someone say, “I don’t know how he/she does it?”
Top Docs not only have a lot of energy, they convey positive energy in their words and actions. From body language between patient and physician to how they interact with staff. Believe it or not, patients are very observant of how their doctor interacts, talks to and interacts with their staff. It’s a retention point for patients. If you’re a jerk, rude, demeaning or disrespectful, patients make mental notes of these interactions. It can really impact your patient retention when it comes to membership renewals.
They Empathize. They Uplift. And, They Never Villainize Naysayers.
If you talk to enough “DocPreneurs” in Private Medicine, the successful ones with full patient panels, you’ll find they keep the conversation positive. They see through the fog of negativity and look past the opportunity to gossip. They empathize and look for commentary, if appropriate to uplift and see the larger picture. At times, they’ll see how the conversation could be reframed and find a way to compliment the person behind the message.
Constantly Look for Combustion Points Within the Patient/Practice Experience.
I read this great book recently … (Disney Institute’s book “Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service”). It talked a lot about “Combustion Points” in the customer service process and experience.
The author stated … A “Combustion Point” is a term Disney (yup, that Disney) uses to define explosion points within any person to person or person to practice interaction.
“… spots where even a finely tuned process can break down and, instead of contributing to a positive customer experience, begin to turn a guest’s good day into a bad one. It’s impossible to completely eliminate combustion points, but the goal is to stop them from turning into explosion points.” (*page 24)
Can you guess Disney’s combustion points?
One are the long lines guests stand in waiting for a ride or attraction. Another is a guest remembering where they parked their vehicle at the end of a long day. Good experiences can turn bad at these points.
It is important that your practice identifies common combustion points. Why do you think so many Concierge Medicine physicians removed completely the tired, ugly and dreaded “waiting room” from their practice over the past ten to fifteen years?
Yeah, this is what we’re talking about.
Disney says look for those places where guests complain consistently. If you don’t know where these are in your practice, this is your “ah-ha” moment and it is time to start asking more questions and paying closer to common, small and minor “combustion points” within your practice.
Traffic or parking may not be your combustion point. We’ve certainly heard from some physicians, it can be, based on their prime location. Combustion point. Another example is the time it takes to join sign-up as a new patient. Combustion point.
If you’re still having trouble determining what your combustion points are, Disney has found that combustion points are commonly found in four areas:
- guest flow
- staff/volunteer-to-guest communication
- guests with special needs
- poor process design
A combustion point in your practice could be how patients sign-up and pay for your membership(s). Another could be how you communicate with staff who want to do something on behalf of the visiting patient.
It really could be any number of things but it is important that you identify them. Maybe you can eliminate the problem. Maybe you can soften the combustion point by making the experience less painful.
People lead your practice. And people visit your practice. It will never be perfect. There are systems and processes that frustrate your patients. Your pateints are aware of them. Are you?
What can you do to create a better patient experience for them?
* For more information and discussion on combustion points and other Customer Service topics, see the Disney Institute’s book Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service.