I have hired many professional staff into my private practices. I have also un-hired a few who couldn't make the transition from university or from public health work into a private facility. Their clinical skills were great, and their people skills were solid, yet they still struggled to reconcile best-practice patient care with their responsibilities to the business. The fundamental premise of private practice is that your remuneration is generated from your patients, some of which pays for the overheads of providing the service (location, facilities, parking, utilities, equipment, etc) and some of which is paid to the practitioner as a salary or commission. Those that struggled couldn't generate sufficient patient hours to meet their salary expectations, which of course they blamed on management. Being new to private practice they believed the company would generate work for them to do, which to a point did occur. However the new hires could not convert this initial opportunity to repeat appointments and the patient would discontinue despite not having achieved their stated goals of treatment.
The skills of private practice are both clinical and work load management. The over-riding duty of care is to the patient and offering the best possible treatment plan to help them achieve their stated goals. Despite extensive training and counselling some employees could not match this concept of patient-focused clinical care with the patient actually attending for treatments, reviews, program updates or class sessions. This was a triple disaster: the patients failed to achieve their full recovery; the practitioner failed to meet their remuneration expectations; and the owner was obliged to subsidise under-performing staff in the hope they would 'get it' soon and step up. Some did, some didn't and their futures were deemed to be elsewhere.
My experience parallels many colleagues who tell me the same story, making me wonder where the solution may lie? While I don't pretend to have all the answers, I believe many new hires into their first private position don't fully understand the nature of a business nor their role in contributing to it's survival. This appears not to be a high priority in undergraduate training and is certainly not discussed in a public health position.
In an effort to fill this gap in understanding private practice I have developed several on-line learning packages. The first of these will be released shortly and comprises four modules to augment the on-boarding systems for these new-hires. The four modules are:
- Going Private - the nature of private practice
- Managing Expectations - adapting to the private environment
- Your Journey - strategic career planning
- Practical Skills - a tool box for success
For a short time Module One is available for free enrolment. This includes both the downloadable workbook and the video education element. This represents around $90 in savings and much more than that in value. The Going Private module introduces your employee to the structure and function of a private practice, the concept of financial risk and reward, who exactly are the customers and patients plus issues of potential confict of interest as they try and reconcile patient care with their responsibility to the business. This is the start of the non-clinical education they need to be successful and you have a zero-risk opportunity to test the material with a view to investing in the subsequent modules if you see value.
The free Going Private module will be available from November 7th, check back at this site from that date up until November 30th.