Lego bricks were some of my favorite toys as a kid. Building something from a pile of seemingly disparate pieces was just fun for me. And that is probably the biggest appeal for having my own practice. I want something that expresses the different aspects of books, podcasts, talks, and conversations I have had about running a high functioning clinic. And while I could find some of these aspects in an existing clinic to match what I want, it really is the building that has me most excited about this dream. For this post, I wanted to start arranging these different thoughts/ideals into their respective piles and start to see how they interconnect.
First off, I don't want this clinic to just be a place for my work as a physical therapist, I want it to be a focal point of health in my community. Because if I have the space, I going to utilize the crap out of it! To that end, I want an open treatment area that is big enough to hold different events for my community such as:
Small Business Events
Group Exercise Classes
Kevin Schmidt from PedalPT once told me that you have to own your neighborhood and that is what I exactly hope to do by opening the clinic up to my surrounding community.
But is not just the physical layout I want to build in this clinic, I want to cultivate a business that thrives on certain ideals. In the book, How Google Works, the authors say, “This does not mean you should create a star system, in fact the best management systems are built around an ensemble, more like a dance troupe than a set of coordinated superstars.” I would love to surround myself with similar like-minded/passionate individuals to help shape this clinic and its values as a group. One particular group of superstars I want to focus on is the front desk.
"The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me."
These ideas mainly stem from Jerry Durham and Andrew Rothschild’s podcast, Healthcare DisruPTion where they believe the front desk is absolutely key in having a successful clinic. I want the staff to be as empathetic, passionate, and as helpful as I will be. They are the first exposure to the clinic for many patients and they need to reflect the clinic’s mission and values. And while I want the staff of the front desk to succeed at that particular job, I want to ensure they receive personal and professional growth from working in the clinic as well. In the book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, the CEO of Zappos explains that pay increases are based on employees learning discrete skill sets. Akin to merit badges, an employee can take classes to develop certain skills. In the clinic, I want to build similar classes that relate to leadership, emotional intelligence, and/or healthcare systems to give employees the skills and knowledge to be successful in any setting. Because if I am going to put as much emphasis on the front office, I will sure as hell make sure they receive the ability to improve their professional lives as well.
Another idea I have for the clinic is not to have a marketing budget but rather a goodwill budget. I want to fund projects that inform my community about their health and how to live healthier lives such as creating PSA ads in the local newspapers about different aspects of physical therapy and health. This budget will also encompass funds to help employees deliver above and beyond customer service. Adopting again from Delivering Happiness, I want to empower employees to help our patients with the little things that may prevent them from coming into the clinic or working out on their own time. A patient’s car broke down? No problem, we can get them a bus pass. It doesn’t matter if they use it specifically to get to the clinic, it is an easy solution that we can help fix. Similar to the building itself, I don’t want employees to think they can only help our patients with just physical therapy alone.
So there you have it, a few of my thought piles (trademark pending) on creating this clinic. I think it is important to take a 3,000 foot view of your life from time to time. But I also think you should take a 30 foot view. How do you want to implement your life goals? What do your ideals look like in a physical context? For me, I just need to write everything down to start organize these thoughts.
Some of my favorite resources that I have used to help shape these ideas: