Oct 01 2014

Healthcare Business Startups

Birthing Healthcare Business STORK Clipart

Until you’ve worked on the front lines of a medical or therapeutic group practice, a private healthcare facility, or on a pharmaceutical or medical device core management team, you’re not likely to ever appreciate that healthcare entrepreneurship is a radically different beast.

Non-healthcare business entrepreneurs—minus the excessive regulatory compliance baggage—can afford to be more freewheeling than their healthcare provider-based counterparts.

Healthcare entrepreneurial ventures can carry astronomical price-tags for R&D. The accompanying array of complicated startup legalities, convoluted tax restrictions, partner negotiations, branding and marketing (Healthcare is NOT about smiling doctor billboards!), recruiting and interviewing, position statements, community relations, and building a referral base is enough to confound many dedicated providers who lack even basic business training or experience.

So what? Who cares? You might ask.

This is not to trivialize the amount of hard work and suffering that accompanies the launch of non-healthcare entrepreneurial enterprises—particularly those ventures giving birth to non-healthcare-related hi-tech products and services. It is simply that healthcare has it harder!

Initial non-healthcare-related business investments are often from friends and family who are happy to just get their initial money back.

But healthcare investors are often professional investor outsiders with no knowledge of your business, who want unrealistic return on investment, who are not interested in your sweat equity, and who want to own controlling interest in exchange for the funding they provide.

These wealthy individuals often seek to be “part of the action” and are willing to pay for it, but who will not let business founders off the hook if things fail — and, curiously, many who fit this description seem always to appear at the moment when you most need it.

The #1 underlying message here is DON’T NEED IT! When you most need money, you can be sure you’ll be communicating it without even a word, and that’s like blowing a game-starting whistle to send in the circling sharks. You think TVs “Shark Tank” name has no basis?

Underlying message #2 is STAY FOCUSED ON MAKING YOUR CORE BUSINESS WORK INSTEAD OF LOOKING FOR A QUICK FIX BY EXPANDING OR EXTENDING IT TOO PREMATURELY . . . TRUST YOURSELF AND BE REALISTIC.

So, if you have a choice between starting up a decorator windshield wiper blades company and establishing a business that aims to produce anti-bacterial clamps for micro-surgical openings, or starting up an orthopedic group practice, avoid healthcare pros money woes and go for the wiper blades! (But don’t think a year of that qualifies you to be in the windshield business, the windshield washer fluid business, and the rearview mirror business—or to think a 500-unit order means you need to break ground for a monster manufacturing plant!)

Just in case that thought crosses your mind, go back to the #2 message above, and if you do it right, you’ll be accommodating the #1 message without even trying. Because? Because you won’t need money because you’ll be too busy building your business and blowing out the walls of your garage!

If you’re truly “locked in” to a healthcare business startup, step carefully, listen carefully, speak and write carefully, and don’t let any amount of cash infusion take control out of your hands unless you have something else ready to put your hands on, and can (and are willing to) walk away comfortably. And remember–above all else– that Healthcare Leadership can mean only one thing . . . and it’s not Obamacare or “Lean” Management!!

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Hal@BusinessWorks.US or 931.854.0474 or comment below

OPEN  MINDS  OPEN  DOORS

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May 10 2014

Healthcare Leadership Can Mean Only One Thing…

Healthcare Leadership Can Mean

                                                                        

Only One Thing… and it’s NOT

                                                                                                                                     

Obamacare or “Lean” Management

 

Thirty years of healthcare and medical practice-development have led me to conclude that some doctors, many therapists and most nurses get it! They understand that healthcare and healthcare leadership is personal, professional and passionate.

Sadly, a great many healthcare business executives and a good number of providers have sidetracked themselves into thinking that HEALTHCARE is all about slogans, smiling doctor billboards, malpractice insurance fees and reimbursement battles.

Reckless opinionated media “reporting” has drawn healthcare providers and business managers into a tangle of confusion. Talking heads thrive on using every opportunity to convolute issues, stir up doubt, be confrontational, and aggrandize politicians who support their network bosses and stockholders. It’s all a game, and we the people are losing.

Increasingly, government political (and more quietly, insurance company) empty suits are playing God. They are continually trying to convince the world that they are answering the call for qualified healthcare leadership. They, after all, proclaim to know more than we do about what diagnostic, treatment, and doctor choice decisions are best for each of us and our families.

They can live in Nevada and pretend to understand what healthcare is about in New Jersey or Tennessee or Maine. I don’t think so! They’re just protecting their own political profiles, pursuits and plans. And many top healthcare executives simply add fuel to the fire by talking and acting like healthcare is simply a maze of administrative or operational management techniques, methods, or styles that they alone have the answers to.

Well, guess what? Reality Check:

HEALTHCARE IS ABOUT PEOPLE!

You’re healthy, you want to stay healthy. You’re sick, you want to get healthy. That’s it! What part of “get and stay healthy” is so hard to understand?

What are all these other hocus-pocus theories, political scams, new tech apps, insurance deals, Congressional posturing, and media “findings” but diversionary tactics? Is it or is it not “dancing around the issues” in an attempt to look good, or to make money, or to win votes . . . instead of just sitting down and solving the damn problem?

Healthcare professionals justifiably rely heavily on emerging technology and associated improvements in methodologies like the Lean” management fad. But (and this is a big but) . . . BUT these are only tools. In the wrong hands, even a hammer can miss driving nails.

The bottom line is that leadership in healthcare

means stepping up to more than a diagnostic or

treatment provider role. It means having an

Advocacy Attitude . . . being on the patient’s side!

Imagine if every encounter a patient or patient family had with a healthcare provider could be –as was recently noted here in exemplary fashion by Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute provider and provider support staffers– a remarkable, high-five, bend-over-backwards experience . . . professional providers and caregivers acting like advocates on behalf of each patient and family!

Imagine if every patient and patient family could be trained in advance of every provider diagnostic or treatment exam to better manage anxiety. My best guess is that 3-4 minutes of every doctor exam are consumed with getting the patient to relax. With a 12-minute per patient insurance company limit imposed on the doctor in order to be reimbursed, that leaves 8-9 minutes to diagnose or treat . . . none of which ordinarily go well when distress is present. This is not rocket science. It is not a Madison Avenue branding campaign. It is not politics. It is reality.

Done correctly, these solutions cost nothing but initial investments in time and energy and perhaps some coaching. What’s the expected result? More accurate diagnostic readings and better receptivity to treatments. Happier patients and patient families (whose testimonials to others increase volume and referrals), improved staff teamwork, happier provider and staff and their families (who benefit from “take home” method values). Even happier insurance providers.

So, if skills, training and experience are all present, the “tipping point” factor comes full circle back to, yes, bedside manners!

 

It’s the “CARE” in HEALTHCARE!

 

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Hal@Businessworks.US    931.854.0474

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

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Jun 05 2013

“Lean” Management. “Lean” Leadership.

 WHEN “LEAN” IS FAT!

 

The buzz word in today’s management circles is “LEAN” — not as against a lamppost, but as trimmed back to basics and making the most of computerized technology to produce a measure of quality efficiency. This is a fantastic concept that works in manufacturing (such as with Swiss Screw precision parts, and with automated equipment operations).

Unquestionably, implementing LEAN can make a difference. The problem is that –as with MBWA and Quality Circles and Theory X and Theory Y and JIT and scores of other management and leadership approaches– too many leaders desperate to make a name for themselves by shaking up their organizations tend to latch on to the latest fad, and expect nirvana.

With LEAN, too many advocates of quality leadership in management are attempting to put this square LEAN peg in a round ultimate consumer hole. The result for many of these forced marriages — especially in healthcare (doctors, hospitals, and facilities of every description)– is that they can end up victimizing themselves by a rush to “leanness.”

It’s not unlike cutting back food consumption to lose weight, then ending up dizzy and disoriented. In other words, too much reliance on streamlining the process can easily overshadow the basic thrust of an organization’s purpose.

Consider for example, what the last few letters (hint: Not “EHR” or “EMR”) in healthcare, are all about. All the cost efficiencies and lightning record retrieval systems in the world cannot come close to the only thing that –in the end– really matters:  care.

Of course a LEAN approach in healthcare can mean more accurate, more efficient, more rapidly delivered patient care. But buying into LEAN as if it were the end-all, be-all, ultimate solution to healthcare is like saying that the process of flying the plane is more important than the pilot. And that may well be the case some day but, for now, reality dictates that computer technology apps are simply tools to afford providers the opportunities to provide better quality patient care.

Use LEAN. But give careful budget and strategic planning consideration to the kinds of staff training and practice development avenues that far override the values of LEAN, such as:

1) Staff, patient and patient family communication. [A world-leading hospital I am intimately familiar with has robots delivering meds to patient rooms, but staff physicians who file endless numbers of computer reports don’t read one another’s reports, or communicate with each other. Few even have direct contact with the nurses dispensing the drugs!]   

2) Staff, patient, and patient family stress management [Did you know that the more relaxed a patient is, the more accurate the diagnosis can be and the better the response will generally be to treatment? The better the odds for reimbursement too, not incidentally! Patients and their families seek trust and  reassurance. LEAN may set that table, but only physicians, nurses and professional staffs can deliver the meal.] 

Target your budget and your process emphasis behind the kinds of communication skills and stress management training that providers and provider support staffs most need and least often get if you really want LEAN to work. Diets are great if you stick to them, and success often reduces itself to maintaining an ongoing dialogue about it with someone who supports your pursuits.

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Hal@TheWriterWorks.com or comment below.

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

Make today a GREAT Day for someone!

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Feb 16 2013

Is Obamacare Killing Healthcare?

Doctors know where they’ve been

                                                                                     

but they don’t know

                                                                         

where they’re going!

 

Today’s medical professionals are strapped to a rudderless ship at sea that’s being sucked into a raging storm.

Some politicos would have us believe that the scandalous fifteen-thousand-page Obamacare program (and when, by the way, was the last time anyone you know read 15,000 pages of anything?!) need not be such a shocking insult to healthcare consumers because after all, it helps “less fortunate” people to get medical care.

Steamrollered through an inept Congress, Obamacare appears to have little if anything to do with the realities of healthcare. Instead, Obamacare hints at having everything to do with the crippling economic and personal freedom limitations brought on by the relentless White House pursuit of dictating increased government controls on American lives.

The end result? We will definitely end up with fewer competent physicians.

And those who remain will clearly not be providing adequate care –regardless of competency–  because of the restrictions Obamacare piles on top of the restrictions already imposed on them that limit their ability to deliver meaningful health services.

But computerization is what tightens the noose around healthcare necks, some say. Not so. The mismanagement and misappropriation of administrative computerization advances by interfering and uninformed government misfits and ignorant insurance providers is what is at the root of today’s healthcare delivery shortcomings.

The de-humanizing of humanizing services is the characterization that uninformed and manipulative individuals, agencies, and organizations have wrought as they’ve twisted administrative computerization advances into shortcut invasions of patient and physician privacy. Have we lost even having thoughts of human dignity?

When “DOCTOR’S ORDERS” becomes “DOCTORS ORDERS” (as in orders issued to doctors by the White House) to conduct patient gun ownership surveys to build a bigger “Big-Brother-Watching” database universe designed to gain yet more government control, do you think this might possibly get just a bit in the way of doctors performing healthcare services?

Of course EMR (electronic medical records) and EHR (electronic health records) have succeeded at putting patient care over paper care. But are these important advances enough to be really helping doctors to know where they’re going?

And the Internet has fully armed healthcare consumers to be better prepared to understand and manage their own healthcare issues, to be more informed about diagnostics and treatments, and to work more productively with their doctors. But are these advances enough to be able to really help doctors to know where they’re going?

The whole lean organization, lean management fad (where did Quality Circles go?) may be a solution, but is not THE solution. It is simply a band-aid acknowledgement that things have gotten so bad, we can no longer afford for the physician to spare a minute or two extra with each patient and patient family to help heal, and help ensure and reassure a sense of well-being.

More dollars are saved. Care is more efficient. But –at the ultimate point of care– doctors don’t get to spend more time with their patients, so is this increased efficiency really enough to help doctors know where they’re going?

Being preoccupied with efficiency necessitates lower levels of individual healthcare delivery. And last time I looked, healthcare was a profession dedicated to individual care. Perhaps it’s time to redefine the word “care”? The bottom line is that doctors are literally trapped.

Adherence to rules and regulations designed to increase control over their skills and abilities to earn livings commensurate with their training and societal value is squashing the very lifeblood out of healthcare. And Obamacare will surface as the culprit when it’s too late to matter — unless enough small business owners and practice administrators and doctors start to make waves

. . . NOW.

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Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0911

Open Minds Open Doors

   Make today a GREAT day for someone!

  God Bless You and Thank You for Your Visit!

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