Seeing It Through Their Eyes

eyes of the patientIt’s a challenge to see things in the eyes of others.  As a child , its “me-my-mine.” Slowly it becomes “we” (as seen during parallel play  in children or maybe when there is a  significant other).  But seeing it in “yours” and completely give up mine , I must admit is not an easy thing to do.

To shape our practice in the “eyes” of our patients maybe one of the best thing we can do. I dare not say 100% but it sure is not impossible.  I invite you to walk the way of your patient and find out what they would like to see.

  • When you go to the clinic, how long do you like to wait? How do you want to make the waiting more pleasant? Is the waiting area comfortable enough for you?
  • Is the secretary approachable? Is her work area organized and uncluttered? Do you have a sense that your records are safe and intact?
  • Is the clinic clean and  uncluttered?
  • Is the doctor accommodating, unhurried and  fully understands your concerns?
  • How do you like the doctor to explain things to you?

Picture yourself as the patient and see the whole process  in his eyes. You might see something surprising to say, why did I not think of that?

How about you, whose eyes  do you use in shaping your practice?


photo credit: idea go/





Numbers Game

One day, I was talking to one of the medical representatives covering me in the clinic. I asked about their never ending quest to get the doctor’s signature as they visit. I was told they are required a certain number of visits per week . The signature is their evidence. The more visits, the higher the chance their product or service is remembered.

My brother in law who is in sales also talked about prospecting. The more people they are able to talk to, the greater chance they will make a sale.

My dad calls it the numbers game.

How can the numbers game work for start up doctors? I learned a lot from my consultants when i was starting. Here a few things they shared:

1. Stay in your clinic. My dad emphatically states it “stay put”. Man your clinic. Even if no patients come for a string of days. One day he will and if you are not there you lose the opportunity. There are many variations to this nugget of advise. Some choose to stay all day in most days of the week. Some choose to start with just one or two clinics. You must be there when opportunity knocks.

2. Work on your ideal set up but do something while you wait.I spoke with my newly graduate mentee today. She is eyeing a mall clinic near her home. However the clinic is still up for construction. It can still take months. I told her she might benefit from starting her clinic in a nearby site that she can occupy right away. The time it will take for the mall clinic to be set up and get running is more than enough time to start building a patient base in an area just nearby. Should she decide to let go of the clinic in favor of the mall clinic, patients are most likely to follow.

3. Associate work is okay but but set up shop at the same time. Many busy consultants engage new graduates as associates in the clinic to help them with patients. This is fine as long as you also set up your own clinic schedule. If you do, you also start having your own patient who will see you and come back to you. Associate work provides an income we all need but the patients you see are not your own.

Build the numbers. Spend time for it. Remember,you only need one to get started.

How about you, can you share what you have done to improve your numbers?

If you like this article, go ahead and share to friends who may benefit from it.

photo credit: justt2shutter/

We’re Friends!

ID-10045041I’m back!

Pardon the hiatus! It’s been busy. It’s been tiring but it’s been fun too! It’s been a  great  past  weeks with all its twists and turns but all useful, insightful and for some reasons I may not know now, all for the greater good!


I have this urge to write about friends .  I am grateful for friends. You know… the kind who sticks with you…mirrors things to you.  Many things become possible when friendship reigns.  Work becomes easier. Differences become opportunities.  Difficulties become bearable.  Communication does not always mean spoken with friends. Isn’t that great?  Less noise, more understanding.  How’s that for a definition of friendship?


But this blog is about work, how can I be a friend?  Imagine patients as your friends. Imagine how powerful that is. Imagine how it can work wonders for you and for your patient.  The attitude is welcoming.  There is listening and focus as you get lost in each other’s company. Less judgemental. Spoken and unspoken words are captured. Candid but truthful.  Aren’t they all fundamentals in  a good patient – doctor relationship?


While others say friendship with patients can lead to ethical issues that may compromise care, it can go either way depending on how we choose it to be.

What’s your choice?


photo credit: Master isolated images/





Surviving A Root Canal

I recently had a root canal.  I have been postponing this for a time. I have never thought of as many   delaying tactics  ever! Root canal has a reputation for being painful. This must be the same thing  my patients  due for boosters ( specially the four year olds !)   is feeling .  I can almost here them say to their moms, “Can we do it another time ….please?”


Dr. D, my dentist has been looking after my teeth for quite sometime now.  My sister calls her Dr. G (“Dr. Ganda”) because she is pretty. She is also a Dr. “D” as in diver.  It helps so much if you have a dentist like her.  She walked me through what will happen (though I still got the jitters). It does help to know if patients are aware of how things are going to be even if in a general way.  Some wants more details , so we ought to give it to them.


I was given some stress balls like this.


Ha ha ha, if only the stress balls could complain! At several points during the procedure , she gently told me to just press on the stress balls. It did helped! Anticipating needs of patients is a way to make them feel better about a procedure specially if it is something that is new to them.


It also helps that Dr. D has a gentle and reassuring voice. She is very sensitive to my cues (cues as in a little bit of tensing here and there…) and gives some reassuring  remarks.  Patients feel good when they know that their doctor is very aware of how they are  as procedures are done.  Its a skill as well as a discipline  to be conscious about the way the patient is feeling at the same time  focusing on what is being done.  Thank God  she is that way!


It is also reassuring to  patients when they are told that should they have any concern,their doctor is readily accessible.

It is not hardline advertising that makes patients come, believe me.


Have you had a root canal or a similar experience? How was it?


photo by Gregory Szarkiewicz/




I Have Other Lives

other livesI have other lives! I often say this.  Sometimes as a statement (when toxicity gets the better of me). Sometimes as a joke. But most of the time I mean it.

Have other lives and get started with practice? Yup. You heard me right. Pursue other lives. Pursue your Passion. You can be an Entrepreneur. Artist.  Chef. Writer. You can be anyone you want to be! Some tell me, I don’t know anything about business, I am not artistic, I am not tech savvy… etc.  and I say, we studied medicine , what else can we not learn! Go and learn something new!

Why bother “having other lives”  as you start your practice?

 It widens our perspective.

I took a blogging course (Maven Secrets) under Our Awesome Planet  founder  Anton Diaz  and coach John Marvin Cruz. I was the only doctor in the class. Some classmates were from the corporate world. Entrepreneurs. Nail artist. Yoga practitioner. IT and marketing specialist.  Hearing what they have to say provided me with the oh so important other people’s view. Our patients come from all walks of life.  We need to understand where they are coming from. It helps to get to know their world. It helps us connect.  Patient care is about connection. Personal connection. Beyond the disease.

It keeps the fire  ablaze in our work .

I remember one principle  I learned as a teacher/trainer. To keep the focus, to allow a fresh view and simply to relieve boredom or tiredness, you’ve got to pause and do something else. I chunk an otherwise long talk into 15 min segments and ask the audience to do something else even for a fleeting minute.  So with our work. It can get a bit  (okay, not a bit…)  stressful to be seeing patients all day, all week. Not to mention hospital and patient calls in the wee hours.  I am a better doctor because I chose to have time to do other things and be somebody else.

If  done with the same passion as that of your practice, it can provide another income stream.

My dad has always told me not to worry about money.  He didn’t say that because  he will give me   he he he.  I tell you, he is generous. He  assured me with certainty that it will come as long as I  do things well and always give my best. I believed him. So write if you must. Bake with gusto. Paint with passion.

I know of a few who can inspire us.  They have kept the passion for being in this profession but have pursued other things along the way which made their lives fuller! A  radiologist turned photographer. An OB-gynecologist creating memorable experiences as events specialist. A young doctor who is a great performer  and choreographer. Hats off to you all!


So, how about you, what’s your “other life”?



photo credit: ambro/




What’s Your Elevator Pitch?

What's Your Elevator Pitch?

Remember in grade school when we were asked to  introduce ourselves in front of the class?


Imagine if you had to do the same in a gathering of potential patients. You have been asked about what you do and everyone is listening. What do you say?


We are used to being introduced with all the accompanying  letters that appears after our name or with the training institutions we went to.  We can’t bore people with those.


You need an elevator pitch.


An elevator pitch is handy  when situations lead to an opportunity to tell others  about what you do and its value.


It is  an elevator  pitch because it should be as short as an elevator ride. A good  1-3 sentences long  will do.  It should tell others how you can help. Use words that evoke a visual picture.  A good one creates a stir, gets talk going   and helps  them remember you. If you only have one line to tell people  about what you do, what would it be?


As for me, I help parents raise healthy and happy kids. I am a pediatrician.


Write yours in the comments below!


Create your elevator pitch.

Image: Gregory Szarkiewicz /