Article Date: 8/1/2010

Want to Build a Healthier Practice?
fix this practice

Want to Build a Healthier Practice?

Start by building a healthier you. Use these seven steps as your guide.

RICHARD S. KATTOUF, O.D., D.O.S.

Q Having started a practice five years ago, I have made it a point to meet with my O.D. colleagues as often as possible. Since they are my seniors, I listen intently. That being said, what they tell me about some of their work habits and lifestyles is scary. How can I avoid the negative habits some practitioners practice?

Dr. A.R. Chan via e-mail

A: I have witnessed numerous practice and lifestyle habits that must be recognized and corrected. Let me offer the following guides:

Arrive early. Doctor and staff should arrive at the office at least 30 minutes prior to the first appointment. I have consulted for offices in which patients were waiting outside for the doctor and staff to arrive. Can you think of a more stressful way to start the day? The doctor being late in the A.M. or after lunch is a cardinal sin. Staff tardiness cannot be tolerated. What message are you sending the patient when he arrives before you or your staff?
Break for lunch. Many doctors work through lunch. Why do educated professionals choose this stressful, unhealthy habit? You need that one hour to clear your head. Your stress level, weight and waist line will all increase if you don't take the proper lunch break. However, your energy and mood will be at their optimum level with the proper time and nutrition.
Sleep. You should have seven sound hours of sleep per night. The result is a healthy weight, a strong attention span, a healthy appearance and enthusiasm. If you don't achieve this number, your weight and stress level will sky-rocket.
Eat well. Instead of three full meals, eat six small meals. Each one should consist of a fist-sized protein and carbohydrate and unlimited vegetables. This type of eating keeps blood sugar at a steady level, your energy is high, you lose weight, and your metabolism increases. Just like owning a practice, this too requires great discipline.


ILLUSTRATION BY LAEL HENDERSON

Exercise. This should be scheduled. Most doctors find all types of excuses if they wait until after office hours. My recommendation is to schedule your exercise in the morning prior to seeing patients. The best method is anaerobic (weight lifting) for 30 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of aerobic activity. Your results are high energy, weight loss and enhanced attention. Your skin will improve, and you'll have a young appearance. Resultant flexibility and balance are perks. If you want to get crazy, like me, try boot camps.
Hydrate. Your drink of choice should be water. Limit the coffee and soda. The benefits of drinking water are nice skin, high energy and a stable tear film. Be sure to sip water throughout the entire day.
Supplement. According to recent research, you need a vitamin formula consisting of omega 3 fatty acids, chondroitin and glucosamine for joints and cartilage and calcium with Vitamin D3 for your bones. Not only should you be taking supplements, you have an obligation to prescribe them to your patients. Make sure the products you offer contain the proper percentages of nutrients. The proper supplements can assist you in the prevention and treatment of many systemic and ocular diseases.

Not only are these practices and life habits beneficial, they regularly send positive messages to your staff, family and patients. Ultimately, these messages provide you with practice separation, a unique identity that positions your practice ahead of the competition. OM


DR. KATTOUF IS PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF TWO MANAGEMENT AND CONSULTING COMPANIES. FOR INFORMATION, CALL (800) 745-EYES, OR E-MAIL HIM AT ADVANCEDEYECARE@HOTMAIL.COM. THE INFORMATION IN THIS COLUMN IS BASED ON ACTUAL CONSULTING FILES.

Optometric Management, Issue: August 2010