John A. Hovanesian, MD, FACS, focuses his blog on new technologies and innovations and how ophthalmic practices can best incorporate them to benefit patients.

BLOG: How to know your business

When we leave medical training and join a private practice, fairly quickly most of us learn that the biggest challenges we’ll face at work are not how to treat our patients but how to manage a small business. It’s a subject where most of us are completely untrained, and frequently there are no right answers.

Recently, a book titled Essential Business Fundamentals for the Successful Eye Care Practice was published to fill exactly that need. It was written by an ophthalmologist, Savak “Sev” Teymoorian, with whom I’m lucky enough to practice. It addresses just these challenges in a format that is written for eye care professionals and is specific to the business we all share.

The book begins with lessons on leadership, how to define, exemplify and perpetuate the culture of your practice, and how to lead change, empower employees and manage conflict. It addresses how to create an organization rather than a group of individuals who work together, how to get the best hires and train them, and how to get help with specialty human resource needs. Specific attention in multiple chapters is devoted to optimizing operations, including how to measure success and hold people accountable while motivating them at the same time.

Applying economic principles to the eye care practice is a significant focus, including how do we minimize costs while maximizing the price we command. Negotiating strategies are also important and emphasized in their own chapter, as is marketing, branding and using the latest electronic tools. Finance, probably the most physician-unfriendly aspect of our lives, has its own chapter, and the reach of the book extends from not just practice finance but also to managing personal investments, mortgages and taxes.

To my knowledge, Essential Business Fundamentals for the Successful Eye Care Practice is the only modern book covering this wide range of topics in a digestible format. In my opinion, it should be required reading for residents and fellows; I wish it had existed when I graduated from training just more than 20 years ago.

Disclosure: Essential Business Fundamentals for the Successful Eye Care Practice by Savak Teymoorian, MD, MBA, is available from SLACK Books, an affiliated company of and Ocular Surgery News. Hovanesian reports no relevant financial disclosures.