A friend and colleague called me recently with a problem. She wanted my opinion about what to do with a particular employee who just wasn’t “getting it.” Knowing that I’m a practice management consultant for The Power Practice’, she wanted to know how she should handle things and get some guidance in her decision-making.
With only a receptionist and optical salesperson in her small practice, she does the interviewing herself and juggles a lot of managerial and ownership tasks. With no office manual or training guide, there wasn’t enough structure for a new hire to learn what was necessary. The employee herself had a great personality, so her problems seemed to stem from never having a clearly defined job description and proper training. All her knowledge was gained by observing her co-workers and they weren’t necessarily doing things the way the owner would have liked in the first place. What was needed was more structure and guidance in creating a culture of teamwork and success.
My friend’s problem is one of many common issues that consultants can help with. It’s not unusual to spend so much time on patient care and the daily minutiae that it interferes with the ability to improve your practice. Some doctors who use consultants are owners of relatively new practices and are looking for guidance on how to increase their net and run their practice better. Others are at the other end of the spectrum and are in their final years of practice, looking to transition out and retire.
Most doctors are somewhere in between, and benefit greatly from the advice they get regarding making staffing decisions, sales, marketing, branding, building the practice’s reputation, and improving patient satisfaction. With the right consulting team in your corner, you will have the support and the guts to take action on many issues that you’re likely putting off. Getting advice from a colleague who is successful and experienced with helping other practitioners is extraordinarily valuable.
When you work with a consultant who will truly help navigate the waters, stay on top of you, and make sure you implement the changes that you’ve discussed, you will see great benefits. A manual or guide that just says “do this” will not work as well. You need someone that acts as part of your team””someone vested in seeing you succeed.
ERIC L. BRAN, OD, PROFESSIONAL EDITOR