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Dear Bill Patients Running the Practice

Patients have free will.Q: “I work primarily with Amish people. Since they have to hitch up their horse and come in to town (which may take awhile, since they travel 10 mph) they use excuses like: I'm busy, if I'm still hurting, I might come in, can I wait till next week or next two weeks?, etc. How can I be more confrontational? I do not want the patients to run the practice, but at the same time, I do not want them upset with me, because in the Amish community, word travels like fire.”

A: Turns out everyone, whether Amish or Martian, enjoys the God-given free will to value and prioritize their health the way they see fit. So, how about adopting a cheerful attitude and simply observing, “That’s great, we’ll be here when you need us.”

As for not wanting patients to run your practice, you get to run your office, but patients run your practice. It’s your office so you get to set hours, policy, procedure, etc. But patients decide whether they will show up or whether want anything to do with what you’ve created. In actuality, you have little power other than to present yourself as a humble, loving, nonjudgmental servant.

How about being grateful for those that do show, rather than focus on your disappointment about those who don’t? Choosing to confront is about using your social authority to get someone else to do your bidding. It’s manipulative, even if you justify it to yourself that it’s in the patient’s best interest. Moreover, it isn’t emotionally sustainable as a practice style. You’ll become toast. (Maybe you already are. Answer these 10 questions and see where you are on the Cool to Crispy Scale.)

Make practice about them and meeting their needs, and your needs will be meet in short order. So what if their health isn’t a priority for them? The question to ask yourself is, “Why am I attracting this type of patient?” It’s an all too common effect of caring too much—so they don’t have to.

Comments (1)

Tony Russo:

Again Bravo Bill,
Excellent explanation. I often find myself in the same mindset as my colleague. Why did only 25 patients show up today. Instead of appreciating the 25 patients who did show up today. Then I scold myself that I should know better and that the prior will only lead to more prior, so I appreciate...for a second, and then I go back to the, "but it's only...and it should be..." This internal conflict would dissipate, melt away if you only appreciate, be thankful for what does come in our front door and it will only build from there...but...
And there we've revealed our own self created prison. You'll find that successful people don't use the word "but" too much. "But" like soiled diapers, it's warm, it's comfortable within these confines of our own resentment. It's hard earned experience of the no shows, no pays, no can do's. Who cares if it's the sure path to failure. It feels good...but...

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From November 26, 2007 9:33 AM

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 26, 2007 9:33 AM.

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