How to “turn off”

Apr 22, 2021

As I mentioned in a previous communication, many of us feel that we are “always on” and accessible to our personal and practice networks.


I love my smartphone and consider it indispensable to my medical practice and daily life. But sometime in the last several years, I realized it was a growing hindrance to enjoying family time. I was being interrupted with notifications or felt the need to check email outside of work hours.   


That got me searching for ways to enjoy the benefits of the technology while minimizing its downsides.


The most effective strategies I’ve found in my own personal use are the following:


1. Turn off all notifications all the time. Unless I’m expecting an important call, my phone never rings, beeps, or vibrates. 


2. Leave it on the kitchen counter. Whether I’m building one of my companies or building a Lego set with the kids, the phone stays on the counter. I try and practice...

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This is why you can find yourself in conflict with your clinic manager

Apr 15, 2021

I once had a nursing manager that started as an ideal worker whom I promoted up the ranks. As time moved on and I continued to expand and innovate the processes of the clinic, I felt more and more resistance from her until she became fully defiant. 


Unfortunately, I eventually had to let her go.


Years later, I learnt that visionaries and entrepreneurs survive and thrive on Changes, while managers favour Status Quo


Thus, they fight against anything that upsets homeostasis!


Here is a table depicting more of their differences:






Business startup

Ongoing operations

Primary motivation



Approach to task









Decision making



Driving force

Creativity and Innovation

Preserving status quo

Risk orientation

Risk taker

Risk averse

Once you...

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Not quite a crystal ball (but still pretty good)

Apr 08, 2021

In an earlier post, I discussed taking stock of our current financial lives by setting up an annual calculation of net worth.


This week, I want to encourage you to glimpse at your financial future. 


There are many ways to do it, but the simplest is to use a compound growth calculator to determine whether your investments (rates of contribution and returns) are sufficient to help you achieve your financial goals by a certain date.


There are many great articles covering compound growth because it is a central tenet of wealth creation. However, the best way to understand compounding is to simply explore a calculator using figures from your own life and then play with combinations.


Retirement at different ages: 55? 60? 65? 70?

Annual contributions: $50,000? $100,000?

Different investments: stocks (~7%) or real estate (~12%) or bonds (~2%)


Have some fun exploring the different options!


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These 4 Cs are the vital signs of your practice

Apr 01, 2021

In our daily clinical practice, we check our patients’ vital signs all the time. What about “checking the vitals” of your own practice? 


Just like for human beings, the vital signs are the measurables that can quickly tell you the most crucial wellbeing of your practice-- the 4 C’s:


  1. Cash Flow

If “Cash is King”, then “Cash Flow is Queen”-- as in the most powerful chess piece on the chessboard! Cash flow can be measured in the following categories:

  • Accounts Receivable 
  • Accounts Payable
  • Liquidity
  • Accessible Credits


  1. Clientele/ Good Will

The “good will” of a medical practice can be assessed by the following parameters: 

  • Patient panel size
  • # Patients seen daily or weekly
  • The third next available appointment
  • No show rate


  1. Customer Satisfaction / Reputation

How happy are your patients about you and/or your practice? 


Under the Universal Health Care model in Canada,...

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Do you feel like you’re always on?

Mar 25, 2021

One of the central themes we cover at Physician Empowerment is the notion that many of us, regardless of practice background, always feel that we are “on”. 

Whether this is regarding patient care, administration, family life, or academic work, technology allows others to potentially reach us at any time. 

This can leave us feeling on edge and stressed out.

It’s important to disconnect and draw a clear line between work and play.  The Germans even have a name for it; Feierabend. 

Feierabend has two meanings:

  • it's the moment you stop working for the rest of the day
  • it's the part of the day between work and going to bed

Reflecting on your life and practice, how can you build habits into your daily routine to create clearer boundaries? 

Think of ways to step into your workday but also ways to step out of it. 


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Are you delegating or abdicating in your practice?

Mar 18, 2021

Most of us understand that we should delegate most tasks for maximum efficiency and throughput except the ones that only we can perform. However, the most common mistake of Delegation is Abdication, which is defined as blind trust plus giving up control. 

So, how are we supposed to delegate without trusting and giving up control? 

Well, the key here for Abdication is BLIND trust without a system of checks and balances for control. 

Here are some examples: 

Entrusting the billing clerk with all the billing without knowing the hows, whys, ifs, ands or buts. 

As clinicians, we are so busy providing the best patient care that it is tempting to just “delegate” the billing tasks to a clerk. However, are the billings optimized or even proper? How about billing rejections or reductions from the billing source (Provincial Health Care or otherwise)?  Who is there to follow up and remedy the situation so that they do not become write-offs or, more...

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Do you know where you stand financially?

Mar 11, 2021

One of the most fundamental exercises in personal finance is an annual calculation of household net worth. 

Typically, in the summer following our household’s corporate year ends, I stop and reflect on how the fiscal year has been. 

Did we thrive or just survive? 

Are we getting ahead financially and closer to our dreams?

While the calculation of net worth during a credit application can be tedious, it is important to reflect on your current financial state. And doing it takes just a few minutes.

Like information we review in our practices, a single data point holds little value. It is the trend that matters. 

So, with that, go ahead and document your net worth. It can be as complex as a spreadsheet or as simple as a sticky note on your office wall.

Next, set a reminder in your online calendar to prompt you to repeat the exercise annually. 

Doing these simple steps every year can be one of the most powerful tools in helping you reach your financial...

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What are the 3Qs that determine life success?

Mar 04, 2021

The academic and professional worlds measure success almost exclusively on IQ (a.k.a. Scholastic Intelligence) with yardsticks like:

  • GPAs 
  • degrees, 
  • titles, 
  • academic positions, and; 
  • publications in esteemed peer-reviewed Journals.

However, the real world measures success very differently. 

For example, the bank does not care about your GPA or having “more degrees than a thermometer” after your name. 

Instead, the bank grades you by:

  • Credit Score (TDS/GDS), 
  • Net Worth (Personal vs. Corporate), 
  • Retained Earnings, and;
  • Multiples of Earnings (of a Practice/ Business).

Have you ever heard of “the A students teaching the B students to work for the C students?” 

Regardless of careers or spheres of influence, the above statement rings true.

So, what do the C students possess more than the A & B students?

  • EQ- Emotional Quotient
  • RQ - Relationship Quotient
  • AQ - Adversity Quotient

The calculations of these other...

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Working from home - Is it working for you?

Feb 25, 2021

The pandemic brought immense changes to our practices. Whether we are hospital or clinic-based, many of us are working more hours at home. While this may not always entail video-based clinics, we are having more meetings online.

Though many of us are happy to reduce our commutes, there have been challenges with working from home. 

In our two-physician household with four children, things can get hectic. Along the way, we’ve learned a few useful bits of wisdom:

  1. Let things slide - While we always strive to create a zoom-worthy home office, we remind ourselves that this is our house. The kids’ artwork and toys are a part of our busy, happy home. We aren’t about to upturn the household to project an image of something we aren’t. 
  2. Try the phone - It’s natural to feel cramped in an office chair all day. We evolved as bipeds to walk and talk - so go with it! Instead of another video chat and all the presentation that it requires, do a phone call...
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Triple A ratings of your practice

Feb 18, 2021

Whether we like it or not, we physicians are being rated everyday either individually or as a profession-- from the popular RateMD website which many patients frequent, to PAR (Peer Assessment Reviews) from our Colleges. 

In fact, there are multiple batteries of assessment of Physician Performance, e.g.: 

  • 360 Degree Physician Performance Assessment, 
  • Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS), 
  • Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS)

So, what are the top 3 attributes your patients want from you?

  1. Aptitude
  2. Attitude
  3. Accessibility

And of these 3 As, which one do you think ranks as the most important?

Surprisingly, aptitude is NOT on the top, despite what traditional med schools or residency programs have trained us to believe. 

During malpractice complaints/ lawsuits, most MDs get pardoned for their incompetence if their attitude was great and they have been accessible to patients. Conversely, MDs get the harshest...

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