Let's call it the Magic Mountain Model: A lesson from a high school summer job at an amusement park that provides a concept important to your success.
I quickly observed the stark contract between what went on in the park's public areas of roller coasters, restaurants and games, and what went on "back stage," the name applied to the huge walled off area never seen by the paying customers, or "guests" in Magic Mountain terms.
Back stage was where all of the support, from administration, to food storage, to maintenance were located. Back stage was a world apart from the other side of the wall - the world of "on stage," the place where guests came to be entertained. What goes on back stage must stay back stage in order for the magic to happen on stage.
The Magic Mountain, or theatrical, model is particularly apt for physician practices. Office based physicians can apply the model for patients in their offices. Hospital based physicians can apply a more complex variation in which the stage has multiple sets, one for each of their audiences: the hospital, referring physicians, patients and their families.
For physician groups, the back stage concept means that all of the drama within the group, the politicking, internal squabbles and operational issues can never be allowed to seep into the world experienced by the hospital, referring physicians, patients and their families, as it will destroy their perception of your on stage performance. And, just as important, your on stage performance must rise to the level of the other great experiences that your audience members use as reference points.
In ranking on stage performance, your audience uses two types of reference points. The less significant, in relative terms, involves comparisons between the experience you provide as a physician and those provided by other physicians. The more important, and the one toward which you must aim your performance, involves comparisons with the audiences' other great experiences.
With both internal problems and all support required to deliver the experience kept in the world of back stage, your group's interactions on stage - your physicians' interactions with administrators, other physicians, nurses and other hospital support staff, and patients, focus on the quality of the experience delivered and are not simply mechanistic. You no longer just "do the case" or "read the film" or "meet" with the hospital CEO - each interaction is an opportunity to deliver both your service and the audience's experience.
The essential elements of your physicians' on stage performance must be trained, measured and improved. The same concept applies to the way that support staff - both employed and contracted (and this includes outside service providers, such as billing company personnel) - interact with your audience. All other elements seen or experienced, such as materials provided to patients before and after procedures, and reports delivered to administrators, must be consistent with the quality of the experience you aim to provide.
Among other things, this means that your partnership or shareholders agreement, your employment agreements and subcontracts, your agreements with outside service providers, and your documented policies and procedures must incorporate mechanisms to encourage and enforce the back stage/on stage distinction and the overall quality of the experience delivered.
In conclusion, you are not competing with other physicians in your specialty or even with all other physicians - you're competing with other experiences, for example, with the experiences your audience received at a Four Seasons hotel or at Disneyland. In other words, don't conceive of yourself as selling a service; rather, you provide an experience in which you wrap your service.
As Shakespeare wrote, "all the world's a stage." You have a chance to write your own part. Make it a starring one.
To learn more about creating an experience monopoly for your practice, contact Mark F. Weiss now.