Cleanliness is next to doctorliness. Have you ever taken a good look at your office from the patients point of view? That six-month-old dust bunny that you nostalgically think looks just like Donald Rumsfeld might make the patient think that your office isGod forbidnot sterile. When a patient thinks of warm and fuzzy, he may not immediately envision the pleasure of a cobweb in the face. And, that oily boot print in the middle of the reception area probably wont lead him to respect you as a fellow working man.

In my office, I am able to subtly motivate my excellent, perceptive staff members to keep the office as clean as a sterile swab in the pre-eye booger position. For example, if the place is dusty, I just stroll over as my staffers are eating their lunch, smile, take ones face in my hands and sneeze. Then, as a gentleman, I offer a tissue and say, When you are done wiping your lazy face, try wiping a countertop, OK?

The point is this: You do not have to be a jerk to get the job done. Just be honest. Like me!

Look around. Its time, as the New Year is upon us, to clean up the place a littleto spruce things up. Now, just like you, I am a scientist at heart. I do not do anything without proper peer-reviewed research and data behind my every move. My research has provided some preliminary concepts worth considering:

1. If that dead bug that has lain in the corner of your pretest room turns into a butterfly in the spring, you might need to clean.

2. If your medical assistants mustard yellow scrubs are, in fact, mustard yellow because of mustard, you might need to clean.

3. If the patients tell you they really like the tree that is growing in the toilet tank in your bathroom, you might need to clean. As soon as you pick the apples, deal with it.

4. If the mushrooms on your salad at lunch are harvested from the chin rest of your slit lamp, you might need to clean.

5. If you compliment your opticians black fingernail polish and she says, I dont wear nail polish, you might need to clean her.

6. No matter how clean and pristine your medical assistant is, a patient will disapprove of a tattoo of a snake around her neck or the visible piercing of any body part, even if its only visible when your assistant sticks her tongue out.

7. The patient sees something in your sink. And its moving. The larger that bug is, the more likely your patient will buy contact lenses from the Internet. If the creature in question snaps at the patient, he or she will not be receptive to a backup pair of glasses either.

8. If you can see floorboard wood through your carpet, replace the carpet. If you can see earth through your floorboard, replace your floorboards. If you can see Australia through the earth, retire. Better yet, seek help.

9. If that odd deposit on your patients contact lens is your fingerprint, consider soap.

10. If the liquid soap holder by the sink in your examination room dispenses only air, refill it. With soap.

11. If you can write your name with your Tono-Pen, try Cetylcide once a year.

12. If you ask your patient if his eyes are always that red and he says, Just since I came into your office, change your furnace filter.

Doctor, would you just clean your office, please? And, if you are interested in a dust bunny that looks exactly like Donald Rumsfeld, check eBay.

Vol. No: 144:01Issue: 1/15/2007