Article Date: 11/1/2011

How to Handle Negative Energy
fix this practice

How to Handle Negative Energy

Understand that you can choose to create positive, meaningful change.

Richard S. Kattouf, O.D., D.O.S.

Q Having been in private practice for 12 years, all I hear from my colleagues is negativity. As a younger O.D., this is getting me down. How can I avoid following in this same path?

Dr. P. L. Jenkins
via e-mail

A: We possess what I call “energy units” and how we choose to use them is up to us. I have observed many different negative uses of “energy units.” Here are several common scenarios in an optometric practice and how to cope with them.

The doctor feels wronged by a supplier. I have had clients react negatively to such a situation, and they won't let it go. They continue their tirade for months. These doctors are wasting energy, creating stress and not keeping their eye on the important matters of the practice.

The key word above is react. In life and optometry, it is best to respond, rather than react. After the response, let the situation go. Some doctors obsess so much on a negative situation, that they smoke, drink, take medications or over eat to deal with their anxiety. We regularly deal with patients, vendors and employees, and we must respond to negative situations, putting them in proper perspective without becoming overwhelmed by them.

The doctor is negative about managed care. This is very common. Many doctors obsess about managed care and use all their energy units to complain about it, but do nothing to combat its affects. The alternative is to expand your private-pay patient base by developing your own program for private business within your radius of draw. How about creating a new profit center? Add an optometric specialty, nutraceuticals, maximize your medical license, or undergo professional training on how to increase unit sales per patient.

The doctor complains about staff turnover, training and control. In my experience, this is a hot negative topic. Initially, doctors do not interview perspective employees in the proper manner. An in-depth four-step process includes, resume review, telephone interview, in-office questionnaire and face-to-face testing to determine the best candidates.

Many doctors interview out of desperation, and hire the first “breathing body” that walks through the door. Kattouf Consulting Services retained a professional production company, and in three months developed an ophthalmic technician program. All employees take a 72-hour course during their training. They are then tested on all material and must score at least a 75 to pass.

Why complain when you can make positive, meaningful and constructive changes? It is crucial to set boundaries of behavior and performance. A disorganized approach to your practice causes stress, which leads to negativity.

Who is in control?

Ask yourself: Do you want to control your practice, or do you want it to control you? To maintain a pulse on and control your practice, realize that management of a business (practice) is an everyday affair. If you believe you can teach your staff, set boundaries and just step back and assume staffers will comply, you will expend tons of energy units on negativity. You must institute daily check-and-balance systems in your practice.

Lack of control leads to negativity. The choice is yours. 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: November 2011