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Gauging Your Practice’s Hormone Levels (Part II)


Now that you understand how some hormones operate on the individual and practice level, let’s discuss balance and optimization.

In last week’s blog post, I discussed the analogy between hormones and the way your medical practice flows and feels. Now that you have some basis for how each hormone operates on both the individual and practice level, we can move forward to discuss how to both balance and optimize hormones. Let us not forget: hormones are very powerful in contributing to how we feel - when optimized and well-balanced, our hormones allow us to have energy, focus, motivation, and a sense of calm.

By tapping in to these same hormones, we can expect similar results for our medical practices.

Cortisol: This is the most mismanaged of all of our hormones. To help with getting cortisol back in balance, the most important aspect is perspective. Many practices waste a lot of energy on the “wrong” stuff. Barbara Corcoran (from ABC’s "Shark Tank") talks here about how businesses often spend much of their time and energy on the items that make them the least amount of money. I think this is a good summary of what happens in most medical practices that are frenzied and disorganized.

To help create better perspective it is important for practices to frequently step back and look at the larger picture. This usually can be accomplished by spending more time visualizing and writing down their visions and goals for their practice. This is far different a process than analyzing spreadsheets and looking at cash flow forecasts. Simply put, the more time and energy you use to create the future of each day in your practice, the more balanced and focused your practice can become.

Testosterone: As many practices start to feel the effects of low testosterone, it is important to understand that testosterone is critical to leaning in, feeling energized, and taking risks. In today’s business climate where patients are coming to the office less and where it is more difficult to stand out from the myriad of other providers in your community, it is more important than ever to stand out and be noticed. This involves taking risks, leaning in, and putting out your initiatives even in the face of uncertainty.

Practically speaking, this translates to running your practice differently than every other practice. Maybe you offer weekly Facebook fan page contests or you offer specialty coffee in your waiting room or maybe even you create theme days where you and your staff all dress up like pirates or zoo animals. There are so many ways to stand out from the crowd and doing so will help energize your practice, giving it the testosterone boost it needs every now and then.

Progesterone: Boosting progesterone is critical to bringing a sense of well-being and grounding to your practice. I find the best way to do this is to get focused on each individual patient and slow down. Many times, practices get caught up in the business of the practice trying to create as efficient work flow systems as possible. We tweak our schedules, focus on coding and claims and get bogged down in the paperwork we have to complete.

To help bring about a calming and grounding sense to your practice, focus, instead, directly on the patient experience: What do they see when they enter your waiting room? How long do they wait in each exam room? Can you have more soothing music playing? Maybe freshen up the office with a new coat of paint? How about turning off the computers one day and just spend time talking to each patient?

The more you embrace the simple aspects of patient care, the more you will be harnessing the power of progesterone.

Thyroid: The typical deficiency in thyroid results in practices that are slow to change and react. This leads to walking into a practice that feels like it is moving in slow motion. The very best way to improve upon these obstacles is to simplify and streamline how your practice operates. Who answers the phone and on how many rings? How long do patients have to wait to ask the providers questions? How are lab results handled?

The majority of practices that I consult with make each of these steps into a long, drawn-out process instead of a simple one. I think it is much more efficient for the doctors themselves to handle many of the commonplace tasks they are used to deflecting to other staff members. You would be amazed how delighted your patients will feel when the doctor answers the phone and the doctor takes their questions right away and the doctor calls them back the very instant the lab results are in. The more steps you can cut out between the doctor and patient, the better.

I would love to hear your comments and hear how your practices are feeling.

For more on Craig Koniver and our other Practice Notes bloggers, click here.

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