AAOE panel discusses relationship-building as key to success

November 10, 2008

An undiagnosed problem plagues ophthalmology practices, according to Shani Lenard, who believes that the relationship between physicians and administrators can affect the success of a practice. Lenard, practice management consultant, MediScend, Pembroke Pines, FL, and panel members Ann M. Hulett, COE, CAE, Rocky Mountain Eye Center, Murray, UT; Gregory S. Brinton, MD, MBA, founding partner of Retina Associates Utah, Layton; and Traci Fritz, COE, administrator, Fite Eye Center, Clinton Township, MI, discussed the characteristics that build good relationships and key behaviors and explained why they foster success.

An undiagnosed problem plagues ophthalmology practices, according to Shani Lenard, who believes that the relationship between physicians and administrators can affect the success of a practice. Lenard, practice management consultant, MediScend, Pembroke Pines, FL, and panel members Ann M. Hulett, COE, CAE, Rocky Mountain Eye Center, Murray, UT; Gregory S. Brinton, MD, MBA, founding partner of Retina Associates Utah, Layton; and Traci Fritz, COE, administrator, Fite Eye Center, Clinton Township, MI, discussed the characteristics that build good relationships and key behaviors and explained why they foster success.

First, the panel defined what constitutes a great place to work. Panelists discussed hiring and firing the right personnel, ensuring that there is consistent and clear communication, and having a mutual respect among people in the practice.

Panelists found common ground when defining the characteristics that build good relationships such as showing a commitment and respect, accepting responsibility, and establishing credibility. Key behaviors to form good relationships include listening, respect, truthfulness, open communication, and being helpful, Lenard said.

"A great place to work comes down to the trust that people have for the people they work for," Lenard said. "It also comes down to having pride in what you do . . . and enjoying the people that [you] work with. It's the interconnectivity of relationships, and that's what really matters in our practices."

Lenard and the panel agreed that good relationships foster good communication, which allows administrators and physicians to involve each other actively in the planning and executing of goals in the practice. With everyone working toward the same goal, the practice business will gain strength and possibly improve productivity and revenue.

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