3 core business concepts for a successful practice from Dr. Alpesh Patel


Alpesh Patel, MD, is director of the spine surgery fellowship and co-director of the Northwestern Spine Center at Chicago-based Northwestern University School of Medicine.

Here, Dr. Patel outlines three key business concepts for developing a successful practice.

1. Build a service culture. No matter the setting in which we work, healthcare is fundamentally a service business. Providing knowledge, information, advice and surgical excellence is what each of us sees as our strong suit. Often, from a patient's perspective, this is an expected commodity. Instead, it's the quality of service provided to our patients that creates added value and success for my practice. That is a challenge especially in a very large and at times very impersonal health system. In this environment, it's constant attention to detail, consistency in communication and a strong team approach to patient-centered care that differentiates successful practices.

2. Design for diversity, especially the diversity that is not in the room. Whether it's in healthcare delivery, medical devices or new health ventures, successful businesses start and end their design processes at the end-user. That could be a patient, a payer or a physician. Designing to create added value for your constituency is critical. Often times, these individuals are not in the "room where it happens," or are under-represented socially or economically in design teams. Really successful companies design for the diversity of their end-users and often end up creating products that are valuable to everyone.

3. Create and reinforce a shared identity. Really successful businesses have a singular identity around which they design, plan and operate. We try to express them in vision or mission statements but those are outward-facing statements. A shared identity is an inward-facing declaration of who we are, why we are here and what are we doing. From the C-suite to all employees, a shared identity drives efficiency and success. To the contrary, businesses without a shared identity or ones that lose that identity through growth or mergers, stagnate and ultimately under-perform their potential.

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