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The Emotionally Intelligent Physician Leader

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By Susan Fink Childs, FACMPE

In today's fast-paced world of healthcare, physicians require effective tools to help manage, adapt, and get ahead in their careers. As a physician leader, it’s no secret that emotional intelligence (EI) and an emotional quotient (EQ) is critical to career and life success. Knowing how to use EI can improve relationships with your patients and interactions with your colleagues.

Embracing emotional intelligence has become an essential aspect of contemporary culture. This well-written, concise, and practical book, The Emotionally Intelligent Physician Leader, serves as both an educational overview of EQ in healthcare, and a guide for physicians to follow in pursuit of achieving their fullest potential and balancing happiness with success.

How does this book give you an advantage?

Childs shares key lessons gleaned from her career to provide physician leaders with actionable information to improve their EQ, and build better relationships with patients, as well as others within their organizations.

Here are some of the topics the author discusses in detail:

  • Physicians and managing up
  • The six primary emotions
  • Inter-departmental logistics
  • Delegation and practice efficiency
  • Basics of body language
  • When we have to say no to a patient
  • Patients making independent decisions
  • How to deal with difficult patients
  • Set the stage to establish boundaries
  • Shape patient satisfaction
  • Questions for peer discussions
  • The provider’s role and relationships 

If you’re a physician, The Emotionally Intelligent Physician Leader provides practical findings and insights with emphasis on how to employ your EQ in the most beneficial way.

Table of contents 

Foreword by Peter B. Angood MD, FRCS(C), FACS, MCCM, FAAPL(Hon)

Chapter 1: Emotional Intelligence 101

  • What is Emotional Intelligence?
  • The Physical Connection
  • Personal Competence and Awareness
  • Social Competence and Awareness
  • Group and Organizational Awareness
  • Relationship Management

Chapter 2: Why Do We Need EI?

  • Body Language and Mirroring
  • Touching and Territorial Space
  • Eye Contact
  • Detecting the Lie
  • Micro-Signals
  • When Meeting Someone You Know — or Don’t Know
  • Mirroring Body Language
  • Avoid a Defensive Posture

Chapter 3: Proven Pathways to Effective Communication

  • Do Your Communication Protocols Harmonize with Your Dream Patient Workflow?
  • What Is Your Patient Care Footprint?
  • Use Color with Intention
  • Six Primary Emotions
  • The Lobby — Patients Notice More Than You Think
  • Patient Education/Information Boards
  • EI and Furniture Placement?
  • Other Industry Examples of EI and Performance

Chapter 4: Financial Controls — Trust and Verify

  • The Provider’s Role
  • Vulnerability Results from Too Much Trust
  • Implementing General Accounting Controls
  • Payroll Equals Endless Opportunities for Financial Loss!
  • If You Believe Someone May Be Committing Fraud or Embezzling?
  • Patient Bills and Communication

Chapter 5: Interdepartmental Logistics

  • Get to Know Your Front Desk and Billing Office
  • Clarifying Who Does What
  • Inter-departmental Workings
  • Staying Positive!
  • Sustaining Perpetual Motion — Keeping Three Steps Ahead
  • Your Next Meeting? Switch Roles — Such fun!
  • I Love My Job!
  • Delegation and Practice Efficiency
  • “I’ve Got Your Back” Means Just That
  • Hurricane? Fire? Tornado? Flood?
  • Relationships and Responsibilities
  • Physicians and Managing Up!
  • A Message to Staff Members About Managing Up
  • Interview with a Physician on General Emotional Intelligence
  • Next Steps? A Board Member?

Chapter 6: Your Patient Has Something to Say

  • The Benefits of Embracing Technology
  • Your EMR — Friend or Rival?
  • Upfitting Your Office — Considerations
  • Tell Me What to Expect, Please!
  • When We Have to Say No to a Patient
  • Follow-Up and Closure
  • Rooming Encounter
  • Assessing Your Exam Rooms
  • Take That Extra Step and Just Listen!
  • Patients Who Make Independent Decisions 

Chapter 7: Patient Satisfaction

  • Satisfied Patient, Happy Practice!
  • The Ghost Patient?
  • Visiting Your Office
  • Location, Location, Location
  • How Convenient Are You (Really)?
  • How Are You Welcoming Prospective Patients?
  • Timing is Everything
  • Build Emotional Intelligence into Customer Service
  • Do Not Affirm the Negative
  • Never Ever Place the Patient in a Place of Pity or Shame
  • Patient Opinions … and Continual Surveys
  • Grace Under Pressure — Rising to the Challenge
  • Know Your Patient, Know Yourself

Chapter 8: How to Deal with Difficult Patients — From Aggression to a Soft Landing

  • How and What Makes a Patient Difficult?
  • More About Problematic Patients
  • Just Ask Your Staff — Do Patients Have to Be Present to Be Challenging?
  • No Show Policy?
  • Manipulative Patients
  • A Difficult Patient Can Spin into a Liability Concern
  • Some Sample Phrases that can Explode!
  • How NOT to Communicate
  • Complaint About the Money?
  • What About the Patient? They are Responsible, Too!
  • Meeting With an Angry or Verbally Abusive Patient
  • Do Not Take Abuse
  • When We Have Done All That We Can Do
  • Patient Termination and Service Recovery to Avoid a Dismissal
  • Service Recovery
  • When Service Recovery Fails
  • Shape Patient Satisfaction and Diminish Difficult Situations
  • A Physician’s Life Dynamics and Your Amazing Support Staff
  • Stimulate and Motivate for Future Practice Possibilities. Dream big!
  • Stand By Me
  • Situations that Arise between Physicians and Administrators
  • External Conflicts and Disagreements
  • What is Said in the Boardroom Stays in the Boardroom
  • Establishing Vital Connections with Your Community
  • Coming Back to Why We Are Here. We Listen, Ask Questions, And Listen
  • Historic, Current, and Potential Considerations of Medical Practice
  • Our Drive and Commitment
  • More Pearls!
  • Communication Between the Physician and Patient Can Be Continually Improved
  • Trends and Speculations 

Chapter 9: We Are All Consumers!

  • The Business of Caring — Maintaining Compassion While Creating “Processes”
  • Will We Ever Really Agree on Healthcare?!
  • The Data
  • Where Did I Put My Crystal Ball?
  • Practice Marketing
  • Website — a Window into Your Practice

Conclusion — In Summary

APPENDIX A — Roundtable Discussion Questions and Topics

About Author

Susan Fink Childs, FACMPE, has over 30 years’ experience in healthcare and is a board certified fellow of the American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE). She established her career in Public Accounting and Medical Administration before forming Evolution Healthcare Consulting in 2002.

Childs is a national presenter and international author for organizations including AAPL, AAOE, AAP, MGMA, Ascent, ACC, and the AMA. She also served as the ACMPE education advancement chair with MGMA. With an extensive background in medical practice operations, personnel and role development, revenue cycle, front desk TOS collections, communication, customer service, and physician communications, her objective is to help practices build compassionate, accessible care while ensuring each staff member is respected and recognized for their individual value, impact, and contributions to the practice.

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