Why Doctors Need A Coach

coaching

It was only after opening my own clinic when I started running my practice more like a business , that I realised the importance of http://gl5.org/?prikolno=%D9%83%D9%8A%D9%81-%D8%AA%D9%83%D8%B3%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%84-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%85%D9%84%D9%83%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%AF%D8%A9&270=63 coaching and mentoring.

I joined a أفضل حسابات الفوركس المدارة Mastermind group and had regular calls and meetings with like-minded business owners and my business turned a corner.

Until then, I was أفضل استعراض نظام وسطاء ثنائية الخيار losing money because I had just set up the clinic and the hospitals had stopped sending me patients, so everything that I earned (and more) was going out in costs and expenses every month.

It was difficult to see how I could do anything about it and the more desperate the situation got, the more source site paralysed I was to do anything.

موعد تداول اسهم ام القرى It was a vicious circle

I don’t know what led me to join the Mastermind group, I certainly couldn’t afford it, but that is when I started to take control of my http://investingtips360.com/?klaystrofobiya=%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%87%D9%85-%D8%A7%D8%A8%D9%88%D8%B8%D8%A8%D9%8A&3b3=53 اسهم ابوظبي finances and my metrics.

It was no good just feeling sorry for myself. I had to look at my figures and work out where the problems were and how I could improve them.

I now realise the value in having someone have a look at your business and tell you what you should be focusing on

…and holding your feet to the fire to make sure that you do what you say you will do!

For some reason, the سعر شراء الذهب عيار 21 ٠ي السعوديه concept of coaching is not established in the field of business, and definitely not in medicine!

Yet, if you think about it, we could all benefit.

Obviously, it is in مواقع الخيارات الثنائية مع عدم وجود الحد الأدنى للإيداع sports where it is an accepted and embedded part of the culture.

If you want to do well, you need a coach.

Even the اسهم اسمنت مكة best sportsperson in the world needs a coach to give an external eye and to push and make sure that they get up in the morning and be the best they can be

No matter how motivated you are – everyone needs a push

I saw this clip at one of the conferences I went to and to be honest, it made me a bit افضل تطبيق الاي فون للاسهم السعوديه emotional, but it demonstrates why a coach is so important:

Why You Need A Coach

Private Practice can be a lonely business and no one really gives guidance on what we should be doing to make our business run effectively, which will ultimately result in a تعلم كيفية تداول الاسهم better service for our patients.

Certainly in Plastic Surgery, this is why there has been a growth in http://www.dramauk.co.uk/?arapyza=%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AE%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AB%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%AF%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A8&b01=47 commercial clinics which are run effectively as a business

…but perhaps don’t have the underlying توصيات الفوركس اليومية principles and values that a clinician might have.

This is why I believe it is important for us, as clinicians, to look at our Practices and think about what sort of سعر السوق اليوم service we are offering to our patients.

We need to look from the outside in, and that is what a coach can do.

…and that is what I do.

I love to help other Consultants, who have spent their lives working in the NHS perfecting their craft and giving the best clinical care to their patients – to optimise their Private Practice.

…because Private Practice is not like the NHS and you need to think a lot more about the service that you are giving to your patients, عضو جمعية الاقتصاد السعودي عصام خلي٠ة أن سعر الذهب حالياً not just the clinical outcome.

If you would like to have a chat about how I see your practice and some tips on how to improve it, then http://gl5.org/?prikolno=%D8%B3%D8%B9%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B0%D9%87%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%86&60f=41 schedule a call and we can work something out.

Why You Should Take A Deposit

take a deposit

I take a deposit from patients to secure the booking.

I used to be against this because if felt a bit متى يبدا تداول اسهم اوان ‘hard sell’ but I actually think that patients feel reassured by it.  

It is a كيف تحصل على المال مجانا عبر الإنترنت big deal for patients to book surgery and they have to make a lot of arrangements in their life to plan for time off work and their recovery.

Taking a deposit can give patients the security that their booking slot is confirmed and believe it or not, once some patients have saved up the money for surgery, they are often keen to start paying for it as they fear they may spend it!

The hospitals do not tend to take a deposit and so we feel that it may seem a little forward to ask for one, but one thing that I have realised is that just because everyone else is not doing something, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is not the right thing to do.

Warren Buffet is a big fan of doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing:


be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful

Warren Buffet

The main benefit of taking a deposit is the security and peace of mind that it offers but there are a couple of other benefits.

  • On occasions there are patients who are unsure about surgery and may book a date and then cancel it at short notice. Taking a deposit adds a level of commitment that may make someone who is not sure if they are ready to commit to surgery to think twice about securing a date. This helps with your planning and scheduling.
  • If patients go on to cancel or postpone their surgery, you can offer an immediate and no quibble return of their deposit (of course you can make your own terms and conditions and stipulate that they forfeit all or part of their deposit if you like, but it is probably not worth it).  This can help to support your brand values as being an ethical and trustworthy surgeon because a lot of patients are worried that we are all charlatans who would have no hesitation in keeping their money once we have got our hands on it.  By giving the money back immediately, with no questions, the patient will then feel a lot better about you and your practice and it will increase goodwill and make them more likely to re-book or recommend you to a friend.
  • Taking a deposit also helps with cash flow. This may or may not be a concept that you are aware of or is important to you. It is certainly something that can make or break a business and something that I became very familiar with in the early years of opening my clinic!

Cash Flow

Cash flow is the money coming in and the money going out of a business. When you run a business, you have set costs and bills to pay every month – payroll, rent, rates, etc.

If you cannot pay your bills, you go bankrupt.  

The weird thing is that you can run a very profitable business and still go bankrupt.  

If you have to pay for raw materials or services in advance but don’t get paid for what you do until later, you can find yourself in a position where you are unable to pay your bills and you go bankrupt – even if you would have made a good profit when you did get paid.

Cash flow is essential to running a business, but fortunately most doctors who have a regular NHS income do not have to worry about going bankrupt, so this may not be at the front of your mind.

Nevertheless, it can often take weeks to months to get paid for an operation if you are waiting for the hospital to pay you, so it might be nice to get some money in advance and you can just let the hospital know that your surgical fee will be less because you have already taken a deposit.

Why We Take A Deposit

The main reason that we take a deposit is because it is giving better customer service.

Our mission is to develop a world class service that stands for quality and service and I believe that taking a deposit is actually part of delivering a better service.

Taking a deposit will cost you money, because you will have to take the payment and will be charged a fee.

The process is not difficult, it is very easy to take payments these days, you can set up a PayPal account or use something like Square Up where you can take payments over the phone or in person, but these companies will take a percentage and so, while it does help with cash flow, there is a cost associated with doing it.

If you are not sure and you think that this might be a good idea, I would encourage you to try it out

What's The Worst That Can Happen?

If someone doesn’t pay the deposit for any reason, it is just the same as what you are doing now.

If you find it too hard to keep track of it or if you feel the costs outweigh the benefits, just stop.

Everyone’s practice ethos and design will be different, but you need to spend time thinking about what sort of practice you want to have and start doing things that are in alignment with your vision.

Otherwise, you will just keep doing what you have been doing and you will keep getting what you have been getting.

Let me know what you think.

7 Yeses To Make A Good First Impression

7 Yeses

You have spent years in Medical School training to be a good doctor.

But in Private Practice you need to demonstrate to prospective patients that you are a good doctor before they come to see you.

If you can get 7 yeses before the patient has met you, they will already be confident that you are a good doctor.

…but if you start getting ‘no’s’ before they have met yet, then they will start to doubt how well you will be able to treat them, even if you are the best in the business at what you do. 

You can watch this excerpt from one of my Discovery Days below:

7 Yeses To Make A Good First Impression

If you want to find out more about how you can start to give your patients a better service and develop a better private practice.  Read about our coaching and mentoring packages.

Can You Afford Not To Take On More Staff?

I’ve got a few members of staff here at the Clinic.

I’ve got a PA, a clinic manager, a front of house manager, a nurse and an IT guy.

We are having a bit of a rocky time at the moment with the front of house manager and are currently trying to recruit someone in to this role.

I have to say that I have found recruitment of staff to be the most challenging aspect of running my clinic.

The interesting thing is that it has been a month or so since we have been without the front of house manager and everyone has stepped up and is covering the work, but I have noticed a significant drop in revenue.

When I look at January, February and March, we were doing a lot better than we are now.

When I speak to other doctors about building their practice, they often feel that they cannot afford to take on more staff.  They think they need to share their secretary or can only have them on a part-time basis.

Because I have been in the position of having a full-time front of house manager and I know that she was always busy – I realise that I can’t afford not to have someone in that role.

It is great that everyone is chipping together to cover the work and on the face of it, you might think that I would not need to spend another person’s full-time salary on the post, because we can cope without them.

…but the numbers don’t lie and I have seen a definite drop in work.

The thing is, whenever I went to speak to the front of house person, it was difficult to get a word in, because she was constantly on the phone and so who is making those calls now?

We are coping with calling up enquiries and answering the phone just fine, but what about all of the other stuff?

…the stuff that it is more difficult to see.

Things like calling up the enquiry from a few weeks ago or having a chat with the person who came to clinic last week.

What about the fact that more calls are going to the call minders and we are having to call them back because everyone is busy.

It is hard to put a value on these things and I wouldn’t know what it was worth if I hadn’t already had it and lost it.

You don’t know what you don’t know

…but I would urge you to think about these things.

It is really important to make sure that initial enquiries are answered and dealt with promptly and sometimes you might be on the phone for an hour chatting with them – your staff has to have the time to do this.

It is absolutely essential to FOLLOW UP with people.

This means calling back if you can’t get hold of that enquiry when you first ring.

…or catching up with the person you spoke to last week to see if they have any more questions or would like to come to the clinic for a consultation.

…or checking that the patient you saw in clinic on Monday has received the quote and the copy of the GP letter and see if they need any more information or would like to come back for a second consultation

This stuff can take hours and it is very easy not to do it – it would not be missed.

…but as I have found – it can have a profound effect on the bottom line.

I have found that my bank balance is going down since the front of house post has been vacant, and rather than thinking that I need to save money on that salary, I am actually desperate to appoint someone because I know that they will make more money than they cost.

The next trick is to find someone good.

…and that is another story.

How I Got Out Of The Hole

 

How I Got Out Of The Hole

Over the last few years, I have gone from doing OK, to doing really badly and now I am doing better than ever.

I have been in a really bad place and maybe I was naive, but I really didn’t expect it to be so bad.

I left the NHS five years ago and I thought I would make things even better for my patients by opening my own clinic.

If I had known then what I know now, there is no way I would have opened my clinic at that time.

My private practice was doing OK, so I felt that I could cover the overheads of the clinic.

What I didn’t realise was that as soon as I opened my clinic, the local private hospital stopped sending me patients. 

I went from having two busy clinics a week to nothing.

I had a five years lease with permanent staff and payroll to fulfil.

I had to equip the clinic not only with tables, desks, computers, phones, sofas, and consulting couches, but carpets, paint, window-dressings – I could go on.

It was grim.

I was desperate and I needed to do more work.

I didn’t know where to get help.

I went to plastic surgery meetings and conferences and they talked about the latest advances in implants and devices, which was all very interesting, but it wasn’t going to help me.

I needed to get more patients.

No one was really talking about how you go about getting more patients or keeping the patients that you have already got, which is what business is all about.

I started to go to business meetings and seminars and I found that this had a profound effect on my practice.

In fact, it got me out of my hole.

I realised what I need to do to start making my practice more profitable.

In fact, what I learned was that it was all about delivering a better service to patients.

It is all very well learning about the latest devices and implants, but that is not going to have an immediate and tangible effect on your practice today or tomorrow.

I learned about how to stand out in a crowded marketplace and how to make sure that patients wanted to come and see me rather than just a.n.other surgeon.

I have put together what I have learned in a free ebook ‘5 Steps To Build a Valuable Practice’ and you can get a FREE copy here.

I talk about what you need to focus on in your private practice that will make a difference to the outcomes that you get for your patients.

We are all focused on getting good outcomes, but it is surprising how little many of us think about the whole experience we are giving to our patients:

  • how we handle patient enquiries
  • what information we give to patients before and after they come for a consultation
  • how we can be distinctive and make patients feel special
  • how we can make sure that patients don’t forget about us and encourage them to write reviews and refer their friends to us

It is not about advertising or special offers.

It is about looking after patients.

Please feel free to download a copy and let me know what you think.

How To Maintain Your Reputation

Marketing is good medical practice

I was giving a talk at the Royal Society of Medicine last month about how good marketing is all about building relationships and giving good service to patients, which at the end of the day, is good medical practice. 

I was very interested to hear one of the talks which covered the issue of protecting your online reputation. 

It was very much based around a legal standpoint talking about how you can use PR and legal advice to help manage any publication of unfavourable stories about you.

The talk was really looking at newspapers and major publications and one of the surgeons in the audience made a point that he had had a bad review and had spent a lot of money on a lawyer only to be told that nothing could be done and the review was left to stand.

I think the problem is that when talks are given by lawyers and PR people, they think that managing your online reputation is about making sure that there are no bad articles written in the press about you.

…but for most normal surgeons and doctors they are less likely to be attacked by the national newspapers, but much more likely to receive a bad review from a patient.

Particularly in the online connected world that we now live in where everyone has a smartphone where they can tell the world about their experience as they walk out of the clinic. 

This is the thing that I think we should fear more than the Daily Mail or some other national newspaper, as this is the thing that is much more likely to affect us.

In fact, I wrote a blog about this in the past.

The fact of the matter is, that no matter how nice we are and how good a doctor we are, there will always be patients who for whatever reason, may not be completely happy with what we have done for them and these patients are completely at liberty to write a review saying that they are unhappy with us and the way that we have treated them.

If this happens, I do not necessarily think the right thing to do is to go to a lawyer to see if the review can be taken down, because after all, that is the point of reviews and it would be wrong to take down a review just because it says something negative.

Clearly if there is something false, fraudulent or defamatory, then you may well have grounds to have it removed, and quite rightly so.

But if they simply say they are unhappy with the outcome and they do not think you are a particularly good doctor, you cannot really do anything to remove that. 

My view is that it is far more important to make sure that you protect yourself against these events by encouraging patients at every stage to leave a review.

If you are a good doctor trying to build relationships and give good service to patients, you are likely to be able to build up some good reviews, so that if and when a bad review does come, it will be diluted.

Furthermore, I think it is important to respond to the review.

You may feel that you have already done that privately, but it is important to give a public face to your response.

I have a particular dislike for BT and I have had untold problems with them in my clinic, but I am still impressed by their Twitter account which is constantly scanning Twitter for any negative comments about them and they respond in a very nice way.

While it is frustrating for the the complainant because he or she just wants to vent their frustration, it does look good to the outside they are taking the time to respond and trying to engage with the complainant and I think we must do the same.

I think it can actually be quite damaging to seek legal help to take down a review if it is a genuine review from a patient and is factually correct.

At the end of the day if we are getting a lot of bad reviews then maybe patients should be swayed away from coming to see us because we are not doing a good job.

The problem that I see, is where doctors do not engage with the online world and do not try to get any positive reviews out there.

While they may have countless thank-you cards and notes from patients, it is the one unhappy patient who chooses to go on-line that will then come top of the searches and make that doctor look like a bad doctor.

I think we have no choice but to protect ourselves from the inevitable unhappy patients that we will have…

… by building up an army of happy patients who can put the negative review in context and help us to mitigate any harm that comes from it.

That is how to protect your online reputation…

…by first and foremost making sure that we are building relationships and giving good service to patients

…and then asking them to put something online to help inform other patients.

In this way we can build up our armoury so that we are not knocked down by the first arrow that is shot at us, because like it or not, we are easy targets and you more than likely will get a few pot shots over your career.

You Drive For Show, But You Putt For Dough

drive for show but putt for dough

I have just been to the 2017 BAAPS Conference (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) held at Kensington Olympia every year.

I was lucky enough to be on the faculty and was presenting about my experience of running my own clinic.

It is interesting talking to friends and colleagues because they like to talk about Google AdWords or Internet Marketing.  Whilst I talk about the coffee in my waiting room and sending out text reminders for appointments.

I am happy to talk about the more advanced stuff, but I do not think most doctors need to worry about this.

There were some good talks on PR, managing your online reputation and using social media, but I think a lot of this is people trying to run before they can walk and spending time on the drive rather than worrying about the putt.

“You Drive For Show, But You Putt For Dough”

My talk was a lot more basic and revolved around the steps that I have put in place in my clinic and the message is very simple:

design processes around every step of the patient’s experience and make sure that you follow-up.

You can get a copy of the 5 steps that I have built my practice on below:

5 Steps To Building A Valuable Practice

Download my FREE guide where I share the lessons that I have learned while setting up and building my own clinic.

Check out your inbox for a copy of my guide.

In fact, I would go further because I think if doctors are spending time, money and energy trying to promote their practice but have not got robust systems to deal with patients who are already in their practice, then they are wasting their time.

If you have not got a robust system for dealing with enquiries as well as a process for following up on those enquiries, then there is no point in trying to encourage more people to enquire.

You should be sending out information demonstrating your values and ethics and explaining to patients what sets you apart from others providing a similar service.

These systems are very basic but, you need to spend time and careful thought to discover what your values are and then communicate these to potential patients .

The problem with most doctors is that we are so terrified of looking like we are using hard-sell tactics that we tend to ignore patients altogether.

How many patients have made an enquiry through your website but have not heard from you following your initial response?

In fact, I have performed ‘mystery shopping’ of many doctor’s practices and there are a huge proportion of us who do not respond to enquiries at all and so this in itself needs to be looked at and processes put in place to ensure that these are not missed.

If you have not followed up on your initial response you are ignoring patients who have asked you for help.

You have to realise that most patients make enquiries to several practitioners at the same time they are enquiring to you.

It may be that your email gets lost in the sea of emails that we all get.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with sending another email a few days later saying:

I hope you got my email, here are some further details about me and my training

.. or

…here is some more information that other patients have found helpful who are considering the same procedure.

Similarly, after people have been to the clinic, do you follow-up with them?

How about sending an email saying:

I hope you got the quote we sent to you, it was nice to see you in the clinic and I hope I answered all your questions.  If you have any more questions I would be very happy for you to contact me directly, or you can visit me on my social channels.

It is all about follow-up

  • before patients come to clinic
  • after they have been to clinic
  • and after they have had the procedure

Follow-up, keep in touch and show that you care.

Forget marketing, PR or any other fancy and expensive techniques you might hear about. 

Get the basics right first before you start worrying about trying to get more patients to know about you.

Buyer’s Remorse

We are looking at revamping our website and have taken on a new web design agency.

It is quite a big investment and we interviewed a few before making a decision.

Now that we have chosen a company, we are talking to them about some ideas and they have been a little less responsive and enthusiastic than they were before.

I don’t think they realise what a dangerous time this is.

Just after anyone makes a major purchase, there is always a tendency towards ‘buyers remorse’.

If there is even the slightest hiccup, you will have a feeling that perhaps you have made the wrong decision and you should have gone with one of the other providers you were considering.

It is important to acknowledge this and compensate for it by over-delivering in the immediate period after purchase.

A few years ago, a patient cancelled her surgery a couple of weeks before surgery.   She had booked the surgery a few months in advance but had not heard anything from the hospital until a few weeks before the procedure.  She then came from a pre-admission appointment and booked an appointment to see me in my clinic after the pre-admission visit.

I was operating that day and my list overran, so I started my clinic 20 minutes late.  The lady’s pre-admission appointment had been a few hours earlier in the morning and so she had been hanging about for a while.  The receptionist phoned me on my mobile phone to see where I was when I didn’t start the clinic on time.

The call went through to my voicemail (because I was in theatre) and the receptionist told the patient that I wasn’t in the hospital.

The patient was angry and left without seeing me. She then went on to cancel the whole procedure (a breast reduction) and posted a zero star review on a popular forum.

I could be the greatest surgeon in the world, but it doesn’t matter, because as far as this patient was concerned, she had lost confidence and didn’t want to have surgery with me.

I now realise that she was expressing ‘buyer’s remorse’ and I understand how she must have felt.

Having surgery or a medical procedure is a major undertaking and there is a wealth of options for patients to choose from when making a decision as to who they want their doctor to be.

You have to be aware that, no matter how good you think you are, from a patient’s point of view, there are a number of other suitable doctors out there that they could have chosen.

If you are lucky enough to have a patient choose you for their procedure, then you should be aware of the risk of ‘buyer’s remorse’ and acknowledge that the patient may be wondering if they have made the right decision.

This is the time to overdeliver and make sure that you leave no doubt in the patient’s mind that they have made the right decision.

Don’t rely on the hospital to send out comprehensive and timely information about the patient’s forthcoming admission.  In my experience, the hospital only contact the patient a week or two before their admission, even if you put the booking form in months in advance.

This is an area that needs systems on your part to ensure that there is a consistent process to deliver prompt and relevant information as soon as the booking is made.

A simple letter or email can be sent out thanking the patient for booking and outlining what will happen next.

If the hospital organises the admission, then you can let the patient know this and give them the direct contact details for the admissions office in case they don’t hear anything or if they have any special requirements.

Maybe a phone call from your secretary to say that you appreciate them and you are there if they need you.

Perhaps you could send something out in the post. A guide to surgery or a personalised note.

It is just about keeping in touch and letting your patients know that you are there for them.

Patients fear that once we have their money, we won’t be interested in them anymore.

We need to make sure that this fear isn’t allowed to fester and grow.

Nip it in the bud and let them know that you are one of the good guys!

Be aware of it and put processes in place to make sure that your patients don’t suffer from buyer’s remorse!

 

If you are interested in building a better private practice, particularly by using systems and processes to ensure that you can consistently deliver a great service, join me at my next Private Practice Growth Meeting.

Does Your Name Matter?

Should I call myself Birmingham Plastic Surgery or Staiano Plastic Surgery?

This is a question that I thought long and hard about before I set up my own company (staianoplasticsurgery) and I still reflect on it now.

Whenever I go back and think about changing the name, I always come back to keeping it as it is.

I have had a few conversations with potential consulting clients about this recently.

I can see how you may want to call your company a different name to your own name.

There are several distinct advantages.

  1. If you want to attract other surgeons to work with you, it will be easier.
  2. If you want to exit the company at any time, it will be easier to sell.
  3. If you want to attract a large number of patients and don’t want to be the one who is treating them all, this may be easier.
  4. If you call yourself a generic name, like ‘Perfect Cosmetic Surgery’ it can look like a big company and some patients may prefer the perceived stability associated with a bigger company.

In fact, if you look at the plastic surgeons who have set up their own clinics, many of them have chosen generic names, such as Aurora Clinics, La Belle Forme and Purity Bridge.

So why use your own name?

Well, I see two major advantages:

  1. You don’t have to think of a generic name (this may sound frivolous but it is actually quite hard coming up with a good name that hasn’t been used by someone somewhere already)
  2.  People like to buy from people.

I went to a meeting last year all about how to become a ‘Key Person of Influence’ in your field.  It was run by Daniel Priestley who has written several books on the subject and I highly recommend them.

At the meeting, he said that he had googled the people who were attending the meeting and was disappointed to see a lot of corporate looking websites where it wasn’t clear who was behind the company.

He knew we were all small business owners as this is who the meeting was aimed at.  But many were trying to look like a large corporation.

He felt that this was a mistake.

If you look at the large successful companies in the world, they will often have an individual behind them.

Apple had Steve Jobs

Virgin has Richard Branson

Tesla has Elon Musk

Microsoft has Bill Gates

These individuals are the ‘faces’ of the brands.

I don’t actually think that it matters too much whether you call yourself by your name or if you use a generic name like Birmingham Plastic Surgery or Perfect Plastic Surgery.

Like most things in life, there are pros and cons for each and there is no ‘right’ answer.

But I do think that either way, you need to make it clear in the message that you put out, who you are and what you stand for.

You need to be the ‘face’ of your brand.

In this day and age, people are more accessible than ever.

You just have to look at the Government of the United States being conducted through the President’s Twitter account!

People like to talk to and feel understood by a human being, especially for something as personal as their medical treatment.

I think it is good to have a vision to grow and become something bigger than yourself.

I encourage this and it is something we spend time on in my Private Consulting Class provided, that is, that growing and scaling your business is one of your goals.

However, no matter how big you grow, you need to have solid foundations grounded in what you believe in and how you personally treat your patients.

This needs to be set up at the beginning and I encourage people to write this down and have formal company values (even if it is only them that are treating patients) from an early stage.

You can read my company values here.

This all goes towards the development of your practice as an asset that is worth something when you retire, but it also serves as an exercise to focus your priorities and provides a means by which you can communicate your ethos.

So don’t spent too much time worrying about your name – spend time on developing your practice and building it in to something that people will actively seek out, regardless of what it is called.

Maybe Independent Private Practice Is Not For You

Many doctors do not have an online presence. For some this is because they are very busy, and certainly with an NHS practice, there is no need to promote your services as there will always be a continuous stream of patients.

However, for others, it is because they are uncomfortable being directly accessible to patients and they have fears that there may be negative reviews and comments posted.  I understand this fear and I think it is very common for doctors to feel vulnerable in this way.

Medicine is not a precise science and no matter how conscientious you are, things will go wrong and some patients will have an unfavourable outcome.

Furthermore, there will always be some patients who may have a good clinical result, but will still be unhappy, perhaps because of their expectation of the result, or maybe because they feel that they have not been treated well.

We all know that unhappy patients are more likely to post reviews than happy patients (see ‘worried about bad reviews’ blog post) and so doctor’s fears have a solid founding.

However, while we all know that adverse outcomes do happen, the idea is that we get good outcomes most of the time.

This is something that I have learned about being in full-time independent practice.

You have to be good

You have to be constantly aware and focused on getting an excellent outcome for each and every patient.   This does not necessarily mean that you cannot have complications, as these are inevitable.  However, you need to minimise your complications by being meticulous in your techniques and your postop processes and you need to be robust in your management of complications.

I have found that some of my most grateful patients are the ones that have suffered complications.

all doctors will get complications, but it is how you deal with those complications that is important

If you are in independent private practice, there is no room to hide with a mediocre practice and service in the same way that you can if you work for a bigger organisation like the NHS or a commercial private company.

It can be a harsh environment and it is easy to feel threatened and isolated. If you have a patient who is unhappy, it is easy to put an inordinate amount of focus on to that and to feel insecure.

This is why it is so important to nurture and cultivate the positives in your practice so that you can build a buffer that will protect you in times of difficulty.

But you can only build the buffer if you are good.

Not just a good surgeon, but good to your patients in how you treat them and talk to them.

And not just in the way that you treat and talk to them, but how everyone who has contact with them treats and talks to them.

At the end of the day, all of this is good medicine.

We are treating patients and trying to get the best outcome that we can.

If you are afraid of having an online presence because you fear negative comments, I understand.

But if you are getting a lot of negative comments and are unable to offset these with a flood of positive feedback from your happy patients, then maybe independent private practice is not for you.

However, if you think that independent practice is for you and you would like to have a chat about joining my Consulting Class, click here for more details.