Archive for tag: business

Keep the Line Moving

While shopping at a "big box" retailer this week for some items I needed around the house, I was presented with a situation that, while not shocking given the volume of customers for that business, gave me a good reason to think about the type of practice I want and another point on why I chose to practice naturopathic medicine. Keep in mind that while the first part of the story may sound a bit like I'm griping, I'm sharing this incident to reinforce why I am choosing to become a naturopathic doctor. :)

The store was huge and packed with weekend shoppers, like me, who wanted to get errands completed and back home as quickly as possible. I was at the checkout and an item was mispriced. The clerk called for the mislabeled item's department over the store intercom for a price check. No answer came from the department, so the clerk asked someone else at the front counter to make a quick run and check the price.

The clerk then turned to me and asked me politely to step aside for the next customer to be checked out. While I was reluctant to move, I understood that others simply wanted to get their errands finished so they could relax at home. So, I moved out of the way for the next three customers to pay for their items as the mispriced item was researched. Once the price was corrected, the clerk asked me for my payment; I paid, and was given a cursory "thank you" while being handed the bag full of merchandise.

The most shocking thing to me during this experience was no apology for the mispriced item, and no apology or explanation for asking me to step aside for the error on the part of the store. I was simply another body in the line and my mispriced item was preventing the line's movement. The store needed to keep the line moving. This is done by tracking the number of customers per hour that the clerks bring through their line. If a clerk doesn't have "x" number of customers per hour, then they are retrained, reprimanded or disciplined until they lose a sense of customer service and concentrate more on "keeping the line moving."

As I processed this experience, this made me remember one of the reasons I chose naturopathic medicine. I am becoming an ND because each patient is an individual and not a number or statistic, nor one of six patients I need to see each hour to satisfy numbers for an insurance or reimbursement program. I am choosing to learn this trade, this profession, this practice, so that I can get to know my patients along with their pathologies, motivations, compliances, and best path to a healthier life where at all possible.

Since I cannot predict the future, I don't know exactly how I will practice. I will do my best to stay away from a high volume practice model. I know that any business needs a break-even point and profitability to keep the doors open. I am certain that I can build a practice schedule that will allow time with my patients up front to get to know them along with shorter duration follow-up appointments. As we progress together on the healing path, our meetings, if all goes well, will become more economical with time length. We can accomplish all we need and plan our next steps until the day comes when as many of our patients as possible will be able to exit our practice as healthier individuals and not as patients.

2013-03-05_tuna

Here's my whole food pic for the week. This is wild caught Ahi Tuna marinated in lemon juice and capers. The sides are my roasted root veggies from last week (carrots, parsnips, beets…all organic) along with steamed organic baby spinach.

Doc Rosco's Lemon Juice and Caper Wild Caught Ahi Tuna

Ingredients

  • 4-6 oz. Wild Caught Ahi Tuna Steak
  • 6 oz. Organic Lemon Juice
  • Capers (to taste)

Instructions

  • Marinate the tuna in the lemon juice for two hours, turning every 30 minutes in an oven-safe baking dish. Add capers to taste during the marinating. 
  • Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Place baking dish with tuna, lemon juice and capers in the oven. 
  • Check at 30 minutes and tuna should be done.

Back Down to Business

The "whole foods" diet is going well. I had one hiccup this past week while making a gluten-free pizza recipe. The pizza crust mix that I purchased, while gluten free, had 11 ingredients rather than my specified five. While all of the mix's ingredients were types of flour or simply salt, I did surpass the allowable number of ingredients. The cost to purchase all the flours involved would have been enormous compared to the mix. The cost difference was roughly $40 for the ingredients separately and $5 for the pre-packaged mix.

I may have to submit a request to my "local panel of judges" to determine cost vs. "letter of the law" with regard to the five-ingredient rule. I'm beginning to feel that as long as the ingredients are something I would put together myself, without having to purchase them in bulk on a student's budget, the point should be to eat healthier foods. My intent is to become healthier, not develop into a zealot in any undertaking, especially when working toward a healthier life and lifestyle for the long term.

Mortor and pestle
© National University of Health Sciences

Classes have become more exciting as the trimester has started rolling. In our Advanced Botanical Prescribing class, we have been working on developing synergistic botanical formulas whose chemical constituents can function together and increase the efficacy of both botanicals (or more) depending upon the condition being treated. I'm certainly happy I opted to take the Special Topics in Botanical Medicine class offered last summer as the formulations, interactions, contraindications and application of the botanicals is starting to come together and make perfect sense in application.

We have started building a website for our future practices in our Practice Management/Jurisprudence class. We spend a portion of each class on preparing and building a future marketing strategy for our practices. The strategies include electronic media, outreach programs to the community, affiliation with other practices and modalities, as well as the costs involved with each method. On the jurisprudence side, we are learning about how to document a visit, secure the information and maintain each patient's file in a secure location, whether electronic- or paper-based. The guidelines for safeguarding patient information under the auspices of HIPAA, or Health Information Privacy and Accountability Act, are taken seriously and taught with close attention to detail at NUHS. I'm happy to have that education provided here rather than learn a hard lesson later as a doctor. The real world application of the business side of medical practice is one of many clinical assets provided here at NUHS.

Well, I'll get back to work on this botanical formula and finish up a quick case before taking a nice walk this (Monday) afternoon. We are being "blessed?" with 50º weather after a nice ice storm last night. The Chicago winters for the last two years have been much more "squeak" than "roar."  I'm not complaining though, my first two winters here were "typical Chicago"...including the blizzard in 2011!

I'll close this week with grateful thanks for the mild winter and a motivating workout partner! A great workout partner makes arriving that much easier!