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About Philippa Kennealy

Philippa Kennealy MD MPH CPCC PCC is The Entrepreneurial MD Business Coach who wants to help you build your business!
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Monday
Oct092006

A Beautiful Perspective to share with you

10-9-06earth.jpgEvery now and again, something comes into my Inbox that makes me smile, groan, or pause to reflect with awe and gratitude. This video falls into the latter category.

Even though I've been sent versions in the past, I've never seen this one, with the power of its imagery - I guess a picture is worth a thousand emotions!

It is worth 3 minutes of your time. I hope it moves you too.

Keep Things in Perspective:  This Miniature Earth

Monday
Oct092006

Delivering health to the workers - at work.

10-9-06healthprevention.jpgA Washington Post article today examines the trend of opening clinics in the workplace to provide handy quick access to medical care. At no or minimum cost to the employee!

Here's an excerpt from the article:

A quarter of Fortune 1000 companies are expected to have on-site clinics by the end of next year, up from the 15 percent or so that have them now, according to David Beech, a health-care consultant at Watson Wyatt Worldwide Inc., a benefits consulting firm. The trend has caught on so quickly that there is little comparative data: Watson Wyatt didn't even ask the question until this year.

Higher health premiums have helped nourish the trend: Employer health premiums rose 7.7 percent in 2006, according to the 2006 Kaiser Foundation Employer Health Benefits Survey. That is slightly lower than previous years but still feels burdensome to companies and employees alike.

Companies are discovering that not only are direct health care costs reduced (less $s spent on premiums as their employees tend to get treated earlier and take preventive steps like getting flu shots, fewer resources used as there can be greater oversight of the use of clinical guidelines for uncomplicated illnesses). Indirect costs of lost work time have dropped dramatically as well.

Seems like some smart healthcare providers have figured out that if the Mountain won't come to Moses, then Moses must go to the Mountain. For those employees who keep putting off their checkups and routine preventive care, to avoid taking that half day (getting to the doctor, being kept waiting 40 minutes, being seen, following up with labs/tests etc, and driving back to work), having a clinic they can walk to during their lunch hour must be a godsend. Now if only they'd take advantage of it regularly......

What's neat is that employees are encouraged to continue a relationship with their primary care doctors and specialists, as there seems to be no pretence that these clinics are substitutes for replacing the insights of a physician into the medical and psychosocial needs of a long-standing patient.

I loved the comment from one company representative: "They are not treating their body like a car where it gets constant care and checkups", she said. "That's what we're trying to do."

Can you just see the billboard or posted in the employee workplace?

"Get your quarterly tune-up at the Human Body Shop - quick lube job, realignment and exhaust check, to keep that engine ticking over smoothly. No co-pays, no wait, no outdated copies of People to bore you"

Whatcha think?

Joking aside, with an emerging trend such as this, what entrepreneurial opportunities do you sense for physician business start-up, or for your practice?

Friday
Oct062006

Entrepreneurship starts with attention to the small details

10-06-06organized.jpgIn the early stages of my coaching relationships with several physician entrepreneur wanna-be's, these clients have realized that they had some basics to attend to before considering opening for business. Yes, - they may have had the good idea, and even the business plan, but they were NOT READY.

They have not cleared enough physical and mental space to get to work. They need to clean house!

I wrote an article for my Oya Consulting newsletter a couple of years ago, and it bears repeating and expanding, as it addresses exactly what first steps my clients realized they need to take.

Think of all the little things that sidetrack you from time to time during the day. Disorder on your bookshelves, clutter on your desk, too much “stuff’ in your closets, items you spend time hunting down, half-finished projects or books, incomplete tasks, broken household appliances, leaky faucets, unfulfilling relationships, to name a few.

It is difficult to maintain a clear focus on your goals when your energy is pulled away by distractions. There is a lot of truth to the expression: A cluttered environment = a cluttered mind.

Here is how the "cleaning house" process works:

  • List the items in your personal and business lives you want to 1. clear out, 2. clean up, 3. complete or 4. delete.

    When I coach my clients, I ask them to make “Walk the Talk” lists of all the stuff they have been promising themselves they'll do. They then categorize each item into one of the above four categories.
    Now, coaching isn't about making unnecessary busy work for already-overloaded people, so there is a modifier to this request: if they can handle the item once and for all BEFORE putting it on the list, they are asked do that instead of creating extra work to add it to one of the lists.
     
  • Make a list of what you want to clean, clear, complete and delete in your personal life over the next month

  • Make a list of what you want to clean, clear, complete and delete in your job or business life over the next month

  • Block specific times on your calendar that are devoted to accomplishing these tasks

  • Find ways to make the chore as pleasant as possible - play music, sip a glass of wine or a mug of tea, tune in to a favorite radio station
     
  • Get started right away
     
  • Aim for “Relief!” – that feeling you get of a burden being lifted from you, as the task lists get shorter. This enables you later to turn your energies to creating “Joy!”, which comes from tackling and completing the goals that excite you.

A physician client of mine who completed this exercise was amazed to discover an unopened life insurance policy she had forgotten she had purchased, and she realized that her net worth was way higher than she had appreciated once she finished the assignment to organize ALL her financial documents before meeting with the financial advisor she had committed to contacting.

After a huge cleanup, another physician client was able to donate 24 bags of unused clothes and household items to a shelter, realizing a tax deduction of over $900, that the shelter itemized for her!

Now, if this seems like an insurmountable task, given your burdened schedule, there are wonderful skilled people who will come into your home, and create order and workable systems out of your worst messes. Imagine being able to turn over your littered study and desk, your jumbled closets and even your overflowing computer and e-mail inbox to someone who can make order from chaos. These hard-working angels are called professional organizers - to find one near you and learn more about how they work, go to NAPO.

My final tip for anyone hell-bent on getting some control in their lives - invest in a collection of plastic storage boxes from stores like Target or the Container Store and then go out and buy a label maker. My second favorite gizmo for personal and professional effectiveness (see my first) is my Brother Label Maker!

Do you have any stories to share about your "cleaning house" efforts?

Tuesday
Oct032006

Is your glass half full, or half empty?

10-03-06waterglass.jpgThe inaugural (trumpets are sounding!!) October 2006 issue of The Entrepreneurial MD Newsletter focuses on an attitude that can make or break a potential physician entrepreneur:

How can I take the optimistic but realistic approach to starting a new business, when I feel overwhelmed by all I see that I'd have to do to make that change?

Here are some hints from the article as to how you can approach a scary but exciting possible new venture (read more by clicking on the article link above):

1. Understand what it means to be a dynamic optimist versus a passive one: - Turn your positive thoughts into behaviors that help you attain your goals in career, finances, spirituality, health and leadership. Don't just sit and hope for the best.

2. Become aware of your attitude: - Look at how you selectively focus on events. Do you tend to imagine the worst case scenarios? Or do you tend to see the learning opportunities in your mistakes and even failures?

3. Examine your internal conversation then change what you tell yourself: - Pay attention to how you speak to yourself. Are you your own harshest critic ("you dumb idiot!!")? Or have you learned how to treat yourself decently and with humor and compassion ("oops - silly me. I don't plan to do that again")?

4. Do something pleasurable to distract yourself from bad events: - It's hard to focus on an uncomfortable sensation when you are enjoying something in the moment. Think of how you try to distract your patients from experiencing a painful procedure by engaging them in conversation about the latest movie they saw or book they read. Most patients enjoy your attention and interest in their lives sufficiently that the discomfort is somewhat relieved. 
Figure out what brings you quick pleasure or relief, and engage in that activity or thought, to prevent yourself from ruminating and escalating your negative feelings. 

5. Figure out your "explanatory style": - Learn how to pay attention to the ways you explain unpleasant or discomforting thoughts and experiences to yourself. The better the match between your explanation and reality, the freer you are to seize opportunities and live a more rewarding life. Reality is seldom as bad as our imaginations would have us believe! 

Take a short quiz to discover whether you are more of an optimist or a pessimist.

What's your attitude? How does it hurt or help?

Saturday
Sep302006

Angel Investors love healthcare

quick news tidbits.jpgOne of the toughest questions aspiring physician entrepreneurs ask is "where can I get the money to start my business/support me while I develop my idea/open my new practice?"
This is a biggie - right?

An article in yesterday's USAToday.com, entitled "Attracting 'Angels' to your Business" helps shed a small glimmer of light on one possible solution.

Columnist Rhonda Adams writes:

Pop quiz: If you try to raise money from investors, what's your chance of success?


Well, if you're approaching those individuals known as "angel" investors, the answer is a surprisingly high 12%. That's the result of a study just released by the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire. During the first half of 2006, one out of every eight businesses that pitched to angel investors received funding.

While you may not think 12% is great odds, compare that with trying to raise money from venture capitalists (who receive hundreds, if not thousands, of proposals for every one they fund) or getting money from your brother-in-law.

The term "angel investor" covers a broad range of funders — all the way from a sophisticated financier who invests hundreds of thousands of dollars in a cutting-edge new technology, to your rich Uncle Bob who invests $25,000 to help you get your mobile dog grooming business off the ground.

What all these angels have in common is that they're investing their own money in entrepreneurial businesses — usually start-ups. Venture capitalists, on the other hand, invest other people's money, typically millions of dollars, and, increasingly, invest in later-stage companies.

Adams ends the article by asking another question:

OK, so here's another question: If you want to raise money from angel investors, what's the best industry to be in?

Here's a hint: Think of all those rich doctors.

You got it: health care. Health care services and equipment received more than one out of every four angel dollars (27%). And don't think that's just for new drugs and cutting-edge health technology. Some of those dollars certainly must have ended up in more mundane small health-related companies, such as physical therapy practices

Software was the next-best-funded industry by angels, getting about 18% of the pie, with retail, media, biotech, and information technology each receiving about 10%.

What does this mean for you? If you're trying to launch an entrepreneurial business — one that has significant growth potential — it's going to be easier to find a deep-pocketed investor to pitch your business plan to for financing.

Just remember, angels invested in only 12% of the new ventures they saw. So even if you have a truly great idea, expect to pitch to at least eight investors before you find your own personal angel.

I grimaced at the visual of "all those rich doctors", as it smacked of a prevailing envious and no longer always realistic attitude towards physicians that has made our lives much less enjoyable in recent years.

Nevertheless, I was heartened to know that, as physician entrepreneurs, we are in a position to ask our colleagues to invest in our business and get a reasonable rate of response.

It does behoove us to make sure that what we have to offer in exchange for that investment, is a well thought-out, sound and viable business plan and a road map for responsible execution!