What have I learned in 1,000 years in practice? Let me summarize:

When patients postpone an appointment and promise to call you back, dont count on it. You call them back instead.

When somebody walks in with a coupon and requests a free contact lens, at the front desk, blame the contact lens company, not the person.

This person, if he or she makes an appointment, will be a very loyal patient if he or she makes an appointment.

If not, you will never see this person again, even at the local post office. Perhaps these people disintegrate.

If they ask you for a free contact lens to hold them over, they also will disintegrate.

When patients tell you their insurance always pays the whole bill, their last doctor got ripped off. Call him. Call him now.

Alwaysalwaysget their old doctors records. (Always. Always.)

Your so-called poor patients are always more wonderful than your so-called rich patients. Treat them all the same.

Always admit it when youre not sure unless youre sure you should not tell them youre not sure.

Keep your records like you will be run over by a car the moment the patient leaves the office and your dumbest second cousin will have to figure out what you did at that exam.

Dont write anything on the record that you would not have wanted your dad to find in your diary when you were 12.

Dont make up cutesy little nicknames to remind you that the particular patient is stupid, mean, dishonest, ditzy, or otherwise strange and unusual.

Dress like a professional (and I dont mean a professional bowler).

Dont let studying get in the way of your education. (Was that Mark Twain?)

Buy your examination room equipment from a company thats been around for at least 20 years.  

Rebuilt equipment, if bought from a company thats been around for at least 20 years, is often more reliable than brand new equipment.

The more a piece of equipment can do, the less reliable it is.

Think simple. If it takes more than pushing a button, its crap.

If something jiggles when you shake it, dont buy it.

If the installer asks you what to do, send it back.

Dont buy service agreements. (But be prepared to write a check for a grand every time the gizmo needs work.)

Ask your patient what he likes to see and what he looks at when hes at work.

A lucky person is the one who gets to look at what he likes to see when he is at work.

Quit beating yourself up for the stupid thing you said yesterday. There will be a new stupid thing you say today to take its place.

If you are not saying something stupid once in a while, you are not saying enough.

Take a VA every single time. Do it yourself.

If the patients vision is blurry, do a confrontation field test. Do it yourself.

Thank the patient for coming in. Do it yourself.

Dont make the patient pay shipping. Pay it yourself.

If they ask if you have a senior citizen discount, tell em Yeah, its called Medicare.

When in doubt, make em see better.

Vol. No: 145:02Issue: 2/15/2008