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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Good night, and good luck

This will be my 41st, and last, "Making It" entry. I’m still making it. Hope you are, too.

I’m giving it up because I don’t have anything else to say. That seems like a good enough reason to me. I never intended to become famous, or write a book, or go on the lecture circuit. This was just my best effort to pay back some of the debt I owe to the profession I love.

For any family practice resident with the moxie to manage your own practice, as opposed to working for a salary and taking your marching orders from Big Brother, there’s plenty to chew on in these columns.

If you want a short course, read “Solo Practice: The Way of the Future” from Family Practice Management in 1998. Or read the redo in 2003 – pretty much the same thing. C.S. Lewis once wrote that "all that is not eternal is eternally out of date." I haven't written anything eternal -- but nothing important in the running of a good, profitable practice has changed in the last 12 years, or the last 30.

For the long course, “Making It” is largely an expansion of those articles. Start at the beginning. It won’t take more than a couple of hours. If you have questions, email me or call my office (785-271-6161) or cell (785-845-3792) or home (785-357-1854). My wife and I are among the 27 living Americans who do not screen our calls. If you phone, and I hear the ringtone, I'll answer. That's the way it works for patients, too. It's a good policy. Trust your patients, and they won't abuse you.
When a new family enters my practice, I give them a notebook to keep their medical records. It has about 20 pages of general information about diet, exercise and rehab of common problems. I wrote it in 1986, and I have deliberately never changed the dot-matrix original. When it comes to living well, things don’t change much, either, and I want them to know that.

Running a productive practice is like that. The practice of medicine changes all the time. The practice of practice is “same ol’, same ol’.” So when I don’t have anything new to say, it’s time to shut up. But what I've said will be just as applicable a decade from now, because the habits of highly effective clinicians will be the same in 2020.

The only question is whether you want to be one of them.

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About the Author

Doug Iliff, MD, is a family physician in solo practice in Topeka, Kan., and a former member of the FPM Board of Editors.

Note: This blog is no longer updated; this is archived content.

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Making It is a Family Practice Management (FPM) blog. However, the views expressed here are those of the individual authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinion of FPM or the AAFP. The FPM blogs are not intended to provide medical, financial or legal advice. For more information see Terms of Use.