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Dr. Ruan is the Founder and CEO of Texas Center for Lifestyle Medicine. He devotes his career in practicing and building systems that allow for efficient delivery of healthcare. He is a board certified internal medicine physician but also have advised with companies to improve their workflow, company culture, marketing,... Read More
Cheng-Huai Ruan, M.D.
Everybody, this is Cheng Ruan, and I wanna talk about why sometimes when we go to summits and conferences, why it’s so difficult to bring that back and execute when there’s not necessarily a team approach, and how to develop that team approach. So as you’re learning and thinking about things along this conference, there are very strategic advantages that we have to talk about so that when you bring it back into your practice or into your organizational system, that everyone’s on the same page. Because how many times do you see that when someone goes through a conference and they bring it back and then nothing happens, it’s not applied. It happens all the time. In fact, statistically speaking, less than 2% of people apply all that they’ve learned in a conference into an organization workflow so that there are things that could be tracked over time, and so here’s, are some really good examples of what happens when that occurs, so you’re at a conference and you learn all these great things, you wanna it bring it back to the tools, and you get super excited about it, and you get super excited about it because you’re in that physiologic state of excitement when you’re coming back and learning with the things.
So when the high of the conference actually comes down, there’s less excitement about it, and now a lot of the to-do lists seem very daunting. And so that can cause decision paralysis, and not only does it cause decision paralysis to you, it also can create decision paralysis to the other team members. But what if you are continuing on that high and you say, hey, I have all these great tools that I learned from this conference that I want to initiate right away, and without having a plan of implementation, it’s very difficult as well. And so here’s the thing. It’s never about the actual plan. It’s about the way you communicate to your team.
So the first thing to talk about is, here are the things I learned, but what category do they belong to? Let’s say you learn about stuff on social media, so that’s in the marketing category, you learn stuff about the revenue cycle, that’s in the finance category. So when you’re able to categorize what areas of improvement you want for your life, for your practice, whatever it is, label those categories and have people say, and let people know what categories you want to improve, right? And so, but more importantly, why do you really want to improve it? What really is the purpose behind improving this particular category, because other people on your team may think that there’s nothing wrong with this category, like why’re we focusing on this? It could be something else.
Well for, so for a leader to be effective, you have to communicate that with the team of, I want to improve this particular category because this is where I see that we are, and more importantly, this is where I see we are right now. So that’s, so I call it establishing the final outcome. What is the final outcome of what you’re trying to do, per thing that you’ve learned, and what category does it belong to? So humans naturally organize through categorization, so if you’re able to do this in very simple terms to your team, it’s gonna be a huge game-changer.
And the second thing is, okay, now that we talked about this category improvement that we want to have, and this can potentially work, that, something that I’ve learned within the summit, well why is it important? What really is the motivation behind this? What is the personal, emotional motivation behind it, and then what is the purposeful emotional motivation behind it that drives you towards the original outcome? So basically, what difference will this make for us, and how is everyone affected in the other categories by changing these things up? And what is the impact? What is the impact that this will have for us right now, a month from now, six months from now, into the future, what does that really mean? And then the last thing you want to have is an idea of timelines.
So setting up timelines that are not very, it’s very ethereal, that’s not very specific, can be very detrimental, and you know, we experience this quite a bit, and you know that if you don’t schedule it, it doesn’t seem to happen, right? But setting together a timeline of execution, when you want this to be, and then letting your team members understand that I wanna have a reasonable timeline, what is a reasonable timeline so that everyone can buy in on the same thing as well? So establishing that timeline also allows you to create key performance indices, so let’s say that I want to install this text messaging platform within our clinical practice.
It’s not reasonable just to say, hey, I just wanna start this tomorrow and let’s just do it, no, because it affects scheduling, it affects the back office, billing, it affects your medical assistants, it affects everyone within the company because it’s a communication platform, right? And if your category is, I wanna be able to communicate with our patients better, with each other better, then that needs to be stated, so have a reasonable timeline, and then when you march out the reasonable timeline, we can say, hey, I would like X number of patients communicating on the text messaging platform in a week or a month or a year, whichever one it is, so establishing that timeline is phenomenally important.
And then finally, we have to talk about, what is the best outcome that we can have for this thing that we’re about to implement, and what are some worst outcomes that we can have? So we always want to expect the best yet prepare for the worst. If everyone on the team is able to prepare for the worst, whether it be delays or patient communication or HIPAA violations and stuff like that, what it allows the organization to do is create safety points that’s around something that is going to be implemented, and those safety points will create that higher level of certainty for people within the organization.
Whenever there seems to be a lot that needs to be implemented, choose what is something that is very simple to do that creates the absolute biggest impact? Because the last thing that you wanna do is change a whole lot of different systems up. No, what is the one thing that you can do that provides you that two-millimeter shift to the right or to the left that has a big downstream effect? Do that first, because everything else’ll become easier when the roots of multiple categories of improvement can be changed, just switch it up, and that has a great downstream effect. And in this way, that’s effective leadership in communication. And then always ask for feedback. Ask for feedback on, okay, well now this is what I want to implement into the practice. How do you feel and how do you feel about it and how do you feel about it? And continue, and ask for continuous feedback as the project goes on as well.
Everyone has to really be bought in to the process, which is why we start with defining an outcome we want to achieve first. If you can define an end outcome, people know the purpose behind it or the drive behind it, and then your team can help you execute on what needs to happen. Now, ever leader has blind spots. Doesn’t matter how good of a leader you are. And so what you gonna rely on is you want your team to look at the invisible things that may be pain points in executing this particular item or agenda. That’s how you build great team culture, and understanding that it requires every person in the team to be bought in so that we define the end outcomes, that’s where you wanna go, however, who should really define the actual outcomes? Should it be you, the practice leader? The physician? Or should it be other members of the team? And the real answer is it depends, because we are able to identify pain points within our clinical practice, our administrative practices at certain intervals, but those pain points are specific to us, but other different people within your organization have pain points that are specific to them, and by the way, all pain points are emotional.
These are emotional pain points that occur that takes away the fulfillment or the ability for someone to really do their job effectively. And so you as a physician may want a specific outcome, but in reality, your team members have other outcomes that may need to occur first prior to you executing on the outcome that you desire to have, and that’s really important to figure out what they are. I can’t tell you how many times we have team meetings and I would like something to get done, and then I find other red flags within the organization that I didn’t know about, that other people didn’t know about, because it became a matter of uncovering certain things to create the desired outcome. So long story short, in order to implement something, you have to know where you are now versus where you want to go, and also know where your team thinks where you are right now, and where your team wants to go as well.
And there’s nothing wrong with providing a guidance and leadership in a direction of the end result that you want to achieve, but to get the whole team to buy into the process, there’s a lot of feedback that really needs to occur. And so if you’ve listened to anything on this summit, you’ll know that a lot of leaders here are talking about the same thing, how do you get your team to execute on things? What does the communication look like? We’re all saying the same things, is that we have to have mutual respect for each other, for whoever the team position is, doesn’t matter if it’s the doctor or the nurse practitioner or the medical assistant, front desk, back office, billing staff, janitor, doesn’t matter who it is, they have a role to play, and each of those roles deliver a tremendous amount of value to us, to our organization, and to our patients as well. Sometimes, a lot of this may seem very daunting.
It may seem very overwhelming, and that’s okay. It’s okay to be overwhelmed, but we recognize it, that it’s overwhelming, but once you start categorizing things and moving things around and communicating what that is, you realize that we’re not really alone. We always have support that’s really around us. So I really encourage you to join my leadership platform. It’s free, and I’m staying away from social media ’cause a lot of what’s happening with Facebook and Instagram and stuff like that is a little controversial these days, so I created my own leadership forum, and go ahead and click on the link that’s with the description of this video, and make sure that you actually join the physicians forum.
It’s a private network of doctors who are inspired to be leaders, it’s called the Physician Leaders Community Forum, so that we can share things like that amongst each other and also, there’s gonna be free gifts and free PDFs and all the stuff like that that a lot of leaders have already created that we’re gonna give away within the actual platform as well. So I wanna thank you for attending the Physician Practice Automation Summit, and if you haven’t watched all the videos, don’t worry, it’s okay. It’s available on demand as well. So thank you very much, and have a great day.