Consultant: Push performance, be distinctive, use social media

November 6, 2014

As owner and president of Shift Happens, a Chicago-based consulting firm, James Feldman is not a physician. But he learned some valuable, if not difficult, lessons about practicing medicine from his physician father.

As owner and president of Shift Happens, a Chicago-based consulting firm, James Feldman is not a physician. But he learned some valuable, if not difficult, lessons about practicing medicine from his physician father.

"My father was one of the best diagnosticians and surgeons I have ever met, but he had no common sense, no business sense," Feldman told Urology Times prior to addressing the annual meeting of the Large Urology Group Practice Association being held in Chicago.

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Feldman, an entrepreneur who has launched and sold several successful businesses, identifies five touchstones urologists should consider in running a practice, large or small: transparency, performance, behavior, differentiation, and accountability.

Transparency: "Doctors need to lay out all available resources for patients,” Feldman said. “They need to say, ‘Here are your choices, this is my experience, and this is what I recommend,’ as opposed to saying, ‘This is what I recommend.’ "

Performance: "They [physicians] need to continually push themselves toward higher performance" in both clinical and administrative aspects of their practice, Feldman said.

Behavior: "You have to ensure that everyone in your operation demonstrates the behaviors that drive performance and support patients," he said.

Differentiation: "Distinguish yourself. I have a vet who calls after every visit to ask how my dog is doing. When I walk out of a doctor's office, there is no follow-up. They don't know if I've died or not," he said.

"Practitioners need to hold themselves to a higher standard and ensure that those employees who make the greatest contributions are rewarded," he added.

Accountability: "Your reputation is what people say it is, not what you say it is," he said.

"You are going to need to engage in social media. When I say this, 99% of the room usually looks at me as if I were smoking something, but the point needs to be made.”

Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, have witnessed explosive growth and acceptance worldwide. Feldman provided two startling facts about this. First, more people now own a mobile device than own a toothbrush, Feldman said, citing an observation by a Google executive. Second, grandparents are the fastest growing demographic on Twitter.

“If these people are on Twitter, are doctors also on Twitter and communicating with this target population? The status quo doesn't work anymore," Feldman said.

"The last question I intend to ask attendees is, what are they going to be doing tomorrow that will obtain better results than they are getting today," he concluded.

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