I was seeing lots of patients and just barely paying my bills, and I was really really stressed out on the management end of things. I made all the decisions in the office, even the little ones, and everyone was interrupting me constantly during the day to ask me questions. The staff weren’t doing their jobs on their own. Instead, everything needed to be cleared with me, partly because the staff didn’t feel trained. That left me trying to run the practice, answer their questions, and see patients all at once!
I can’t think of a certain event that brought things to a head, but I made a New Year’s resolution to get with a management group of some kind. I knew that this was going to be the answer.
I felt real confident and competent as a doctor, but as a manager of staff and as a manager of a practice, I felt inadequate.
Well, I found out about Sterling through a flyer, and I got their free video. And on the video, they named the most common practice management problems, and I had every one of them. Furthermore, they said, there are specific handlings for these problems which can be applied at low stress. So I called and signed up.”
The main thing for me was the principle of exchange. I had previously thought it was noble to give away services to those who said they didn’t have enough money to pay for their service. But it became obvious to me after going through the Sterling courses that it is against human nature to get something for nothing. In fact, I literally made people tolerant who were initially opposed to getting free care. And those very patients who got free care had to justify the fact that they weren’t paying by finding fault with the care that they were receiving.
Now I charge patients the same fees, only I expect them to be able to pay, rather than not be able to pay. I’m seeing about the same number of people, and we’re collecting almost twice as much now. Now I don’t have the kind of patient who expects something for nothing. I give them a valuable service, and they give me a valuable exchange for it.
Among very, very many other changes I made in the office, that was a biggie,
The other thing we lacked was a communication system. We had no communication system in the office at all, and we just went to talk each other all the time, and we were interrupting each other, we couldn’t get anything done. A simple communication system that Sterling recommended has changed all that. We now get twice as much done without all that interruption and with infinitely less stress!
As for the staff, they didn’t feel empowered to make any real decisions on their own, I wanted to see things and clear them through me, and I didn’t need to do that for everything. With Sterling everybody has their job description and responsibilities written up. They know what their product is, they know the steps to take to get that product, and they get bonuses based on their production. The staff is a lot happier with the new system.
I’ve dealt with other management groups and seminars, and they had a lot of good ideas, but no fundamental changes had ever been made in the office.
Sterling is unique because it makes simple lasting changes. As a result I have decreased stress and I don’t bring the office home with me.
Also, I was very distracted, nervous that I would never get anywhere, whereas now I am confident. I have a feeling of great security, knowing I could manage any business, and that security is very very comforting.
Dr. Christopher Ault