The American Academy of Ophthalmology asked members of the Young Ophthalmologist’s group to share the best practice management tips they ever received. Predictably, the advice covered many topics from start up financing to profitability. Here are a few highlights important for doctors of any age.
James G. Chelnis, MD advises “The best way to market yourself is to be an active participant in your community. Depending on the day, this may mean going to the local society meeting, listening to a local charity group, participating in a health fair or authoring a health column for a local magazine. Though these things may take up our time without directly advancing our bottom line, the most successful physicians I see are the ones that capitalize on these types of opportunities. I am a firm believer that human and humane networking is fundamental to building ties to your community and in turn your brand.”
Joseph T. Nezgoda, MD, MBA said, “In regard to hiring staff, it is critical to surround yourself with energetic, positive people. It will reflect on you as a physician and set the mood for patient visits. Before you even introduce yourself to a patient, they will have an impression about your practice that can take precious moments to overcome in a busy clinic. These impressions will influence whether or not a patient will return or give positive recommendations to potential future patients. Because excellent clinical care is of course expected by your patients, this is relatively low-hanging fruit that will significantly improve patient satisfaction.”
The Three A’s
Srinivas S. Iyengar, MD remembers a lesson from his early days. “Back when I was a resident, I noticed there was a retina specialist in the community who not only was a great clinician and surgeon, but also had a genuine, compassionate bedside manner that I hoped to emulate. He was consistently available to help residents late at night or other physicians after hours and was always reachable, friendly and clinically superb. Before I graduated, he passed on to me the importance of “The Three A’s.” Availability, Affability and Ability — in that order — are the keys to building a successful practice. Simple as it is, that may well have been the most important thing I learned that year.