Sunday, August 28, 2011

The business model and philosophy of my practice

Nothing promotes success more than a successful business model, and clearly, that means stepping back and regularly evaluating how one run's his or her business. Success, in my opinion needs to be judged by two criteria which are really one: how one's patients feel about you, and, of course, financial success. Let's look briefly at these two: I feel that developing a relationship with a patient is very similar to a courtship. I set very specific goals with and for my patients to build health and promote balance while at the same time validating trust and confidence. To accomplish this, involves educating my patients to think differently about a number of areas of their lives which they most probably have taken for granted: how they eat, drink, breathe, move their bodies, sleep and nurture their spiritual development and happiness. I am very specific and detailed in how I educate my patients, and they know that I will be available should they need to ever call me for clarification 24/6 (or even on Shabbos, should they come by), and they know that even if I am not able to take their call immediately, I will return it in a reasonable time. I also never charge for phone calls with existing patients.

The treatment process is a slow and detail oriented one, as I take two hours with each patient in my clinic. My patients know that my ultimate goal is to to empower them to heal themselves, and to not have to use me as a resource unless necessary, while at the same time knowing that I WILL be there should they need me. That is what I do to empower them.

To empower myself, I am constantly reading, practicing, evaluating and introspecting internalizing what I preach. My patients know that I am a persistent and stubborn advocate on their behalf, and will figure out why and how they are out of balance, if, G-d willing, I am allowed to. Chinese medicine offers us amazingly powerful diagnostic tools, but if I need to, I will require a patient to have blood, urine, stool and other tests, as well as Xrays or MRIs, to give us a more complete picture, and to clarify areas of concern once I have first developed a differential diagnosis. By empowering and educating the patient, and by successfully resolving their complaints, one wins them over and gains their trust, which leads to referrals and financial success.

So how do I view those weeks when my schedule is slow? Do I get nervous? Do I re-evaluate how I need to promote myself? Not at all. I absolutely believe that my livelihood is a gift from Above, and if my schedule is light, I believe that I am being told to step back, re-organize myself, and use the time to reflect and write more. (You'll notice that sometimes a month or more will go by between articles. Invariably these are the times when my practice is busiest!) That is how I do it. That is my approach, and I do very little advertising at all, not even a yellow pages listing. My entire practice comes referrals, with His help.

I was once accused by a patient of being arrogant and cocky. "Aren't you afraid of failure with difficult patients?" I was asked. My response was that I absolutely believe that we are only limited by our imaginations,our fears, and our lack of "da'as" or knowledge: Knowledge that I am merely a messenger of the A-lmighty, The Ultimate Doctor, and knowledge that I have not educated myself enough or paid close attention enough to the details enabling me to succeed with the patient, with His help. I can't imagine someone not being successful who is good at what they do, has a specific niche, and has the common sense to want to connect with their patients. What do I mean by a niche? One of three things: either one should not set up their practice where there are lots of acupuncturists close by who practice in a similar manner, one should become proficient in a therapy or specialization unique to their geographic area, or one should key in to a specific population or demographic group that may not be well serviced. I think that all of this is common sense (which, of course, is not always that common!)

Lastly, I want to emphasize a point that I glossed over before: Look within. I
constantly, even on a daily basis, consider what I do, what I have said, how I
have related to others, what I could have done differently, and prepare for each
new day the night before, by resolving in my mind how I will approach the new
day. And I do it out loud. I feel that talking out loud has been incredibly
therapeutic for my own growth. So when the day is over, I find a quiet place, I
talk, starting out by counting my incredible blessings and closing out each day in
a state of tranquility, fulfillment and completion. With each new day comes
new opportunities and adventures, and with the guidance from the previous days'
resolutions I am given the navigational tools to know how to proceed. And, of course, I need to listen! When I am faced with challenges, sometimes I need to
close my eyes, and with a smile, take a deep breath and reground myself. Once I
do that I always know how to proceed.

'full speed ahead...

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