Monthly Archives: March 2015

3 Reasons Why It’s OK to Fail

“Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement” — C.S. Lewis

Failure or the fear of failure can be crippling to many of us taking risks in life, and we have been programmed by our teachers, parents, and society to believe it’s negative. In school, I hit the books hard because I feared receiving the dreaded “F” (Fail) and being classified as an underachiever. That was years ago, however. My sentiments have since changed after studying some of the most influential people in business and discovering that most of them failed their way to success. I concluded that failing in school and failing in business are not in the same category. As a young entrepreneur with three businesses of my own, I now embrace failure and recognize it’s an essential component of growth. If you’re in business, here are three strong reasons why failure should not be feared:

1. The Most Successful People are Failures Examine the leading names in any industry and you’ll find that these individuals had to overcome adversity to reach the top. In business, setbacks and mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn and reassess your approach.

Cindy Freland, President of Maryland Secretarial Services, Inc (MSS) refers to failure as “good experiences.” Her previously two unsuccessful businesses taught her a valuable lesson in having enough operating capital. Ms. Freland’s current company MSS is going 16 years strong.

Automotive leader Henry Ford’s first company went out of business. His second and third companies also flopped. Mr. Ford’s confidence was unscathed and he went on to become one of the greatest and most admired entrepreneurs in American history.

2. You Become Resilient

The old adage “what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger” holds true for entrepreneurs. To thrive we have to develop thick skin and posses unwavering faith. If we fail, we must pick ourselves up and try again.

Award winning author Mare Cromwell self-published her first book and printed 10,000 copies to sell. Unfortunately for her, she only sold 2,400 copies and the other 7,600 collected dust in her basement over the years. With the support of friends, Ms. Cromwell self-published another book that has received several awards, and is even being considered for a movie script.

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” – Bernice Johnson Reagon

3. It Causes You to Evolve Being an entrepreneur is all about growing and learning through diverse experiences. When you make mistakes, you’ll learn what not to do next time.

Darryl Jones, Co-founder of Global Housing Alliance, learned to appreciate success daily and not take anything for granted. His previous company of 15 years folded in 2009 as a result of the U.S. housing market collapse. He believed one of his mistakes was having the company too dependent upon him for capital. Mr. Jones eventually bounced back and combined forces with other like-minded individuals to form his current company – which does not rely on him as its sole source of funding, and is an even stronger venture than before.

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” ― Andy Rooney

Do not allow failure or the fear of failure to paralyze you from getting started or starting over. The only limitations you have are the ones you put on yourself — It’s all mental. You only truly fail when you quit trying.

Written by Jamilah Corbitt

9 Ways Doctors Can Generate More Revenue

As a medical professional, how will you respond to falling fees, rising costs and higher taxes? Here are 9 ways you can continue to enjoy the personal, professional and financial rewards that attracted you to a career in medicine.

Stop losing money.  A penny saved is a penny earned.

  1. Address your billing practices. A medical billing expert remembers the day his new client showed him his “Porsche drawer” filled with rejected insurance claims.  This physician knew that if he contested the rejections, he could fund his dream car; he just never found time. Are you doing everything you can to get paid for the services you render?  Most doctors see significant increases in cash flow when they turn their billing into the hands of the outsourced billing experts.
  2. Look for found money.  A practice management expert tells me that virtually every medical organization leaks money, and he knows where to look.  He guarantees his results—putting more money in doctors’ pockets by patching the leaks.
  3. Protect yourself against fraud.  Do you have checks and balances in place to help keep your honest employees honest?  A colleague told me that she should have listened to her intuition about her “trusted office manager.”  She discovered that over the years, this person embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Get paid more. You can increase your practice revenue through ethical, professional approaches.

  1. Identify profitable activities. Mine your billing data to get a handle on the revenue generated by each of your daily activities.  In a fee-for-service practice model, you exchange your time for money. Calculate your “hourly wage” for each procedure you perform or kind of patient you see. Then consider the level of personal and professional rewards you get with each activity. From that you can gain clarity about what your ideal day looks like.  You may decide to narrow your scope of services. You may find a “sweet spot” like the dentist who discovered he likes working with phobic patients. There are any number of ways you can attract more of those best-fit patients.
  2. Add services.  If you run a busy practice, it might make sense to set up an in-house formulary that could increase your patients’ medication compliance as well as generate more revenue.  Maybe you consider adding a cosmetic service for which patients pay out-of-pocket. Maybe you decide to hire physician assistants or nurse practitioners so that you can spend more of your time  engaged in sweet-spot activities.
  3. Sell products.  Consider offering products that help patients achieve the desired medical outcomes. A veterinarian could sell pet food, toys and educational materials.  A dermatologist could sell skin care products.  I met a pulmonologist who created an effective smoking cessation program, which he sells nationally through his practice.

Earn outside of your clinical practice.  Your value transcends your ability to diagnose and treat individual patients.  You can help many people in many different ways, and get paid for it.

  1. Moonlight.  You could serve as an expert in medical malpractice lawsuits.  The benefits include your ability to review cases on your own schedule, generate a high hourly wage and gain insights that made me a better doctor. You could take locums positions, serve as a director in medically-supervised weight loss programs,or get on staff at assisted living facilities.
  2. Shift to a non-clinical career. You could offer leadership to medical organizations, launch a business venture or work in companies that sell medical products and services. You might consider generating revenue through speaking or writing or coaching.
  3. Make investments.  You can make your money work for you.  Be sure to vet any business opportunity with an expert who can evaluate the level of risk and impact on your bigger financial picture. You can help people across the globe, educate people whom you never personally met and deliver value in unique ways.  This offers unprecedented opportunities for you.

I do not believe the golden age of medicine is over; I think it’s just beginning.

by Vicki Rackner, MD


Vicki Rackner MD, President of, helps doctors enjoy the personal, professional and financial rewards that attracted them to a career in medicine.  She leverages her experiences as a surgeon, clinical faculty at the University of Washington School of Medicine and entrepreneur to help physicians and dentists thrive in the era of ObamaCare. 

Four Ways to Reduce Your Malpractice Risks

As a physician, the fear of a malpractice lawsuit will always be present. But knowing you are doing all you can to prevent one from occurring can help set your mind at ease. Providing excellent clinical care can, of course, reduce the likelihood of an error that leads to a lawsuit, but the clinical side is not the only area to focus on.

Great communication between physicians and patients can reduce malpractice risks in many ways, says Jeffrey D. Brunken, president of physician insurer MGIS. When you have a trusting rapport with patients, studies show that they are more likely to disclose all of their relevant medical information. Perhaps even more important to risk management, great communication fosters a strong relationship with patients, which, also, according to several studies, reduces the likelihood a patient will sue if a problem arises, says Brunken. “Errors are always going to happen,” he says. “Generally, reducing risk involves, ‘How do you reduce the risk when bad things do happen?’”

Here are a few key communication strategies Brunken says physicians should employ when interacting with patients:

  • Don’t dismiss (or appear to dismiss) the patient’s concerns.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Set realistic expectations.
  • Provide clear answers.

Sue Larsen, president and director of education at Astute Doctor Education, Inc., which provides online education and resources specializing in physician interpersonal skills, says physicians should also be aware of, and actively avoid, four communication missteps that increase the likelihood of a lawsuit. She says avoid interactions that make the patient feel: devalued, misunderstood, deserted, or misinformed. Just as physicians’ interactions with patients are critical, so are staff members’ interactions with them, says Larsen, noting that poor customer service leads to poor patient satisfaction, which increases the likelihood of a lawsuit.

Here are four ways to ensure that your staff is not putting you at risk:

  1. Require excellent professional etiquette. Staff members need to be cognizant that their conversations with other staff, such as discussions about kids, TV shows, and so on, may be overheard by patients, says Robin Diamond, an attorney and registered nurse who serves as the chief patient safety officer at malpractice insurer The Doctors Company. Those conversations, especially if inappropriate, can be very off-putting to some patients.
  2. Make sure staff members explain delays. Long waits, with little or no explanation, are very frustrating to patients. To reduce the frustration, staff should explain delays to patients and share regular updates, says Larsen.
  3. Provide training on difficult patient encounters. Angry or demanding patients may dish out their frustration on staff, so they play a big role in whether these situations are handled appropriately. Diamond recommends holding training sessions in which staff and physicians role play difficult patient encounters so that everyone is comfortable with and knowledgeable about how to handle these situations.
  4. Ask staff to serve as your eyes and ears. Front-desk staff should observe patient reactions and emotions as they are leaving your practice. If patients leave upset, staff should inform the physicians and/or managers, who can then call the patient later to check in, says Brunken. That check- in call, he says, could be the difference between a damaged patient relationship, and a more positive one.