Doctors, generally, are pretty sharp. Those prefixes in front of their names are there for a reason. They excel academically, or at least have at some point of their lives.

Having said this, however, it also is fair to suggest that, generally, a large number of Canadian doctors lack business acumen.

“That certainly appears to be the case,” acknowledges Jivi Khehra, a medical-practice consultant for more than 14 years. “More and more doctors seem to be getting business degrees, but the majority of doctors who run private practices in Canada appear to be in need of definite assistance when it comes to running their businesses.”

Khehra, who operates in New Westminster, B.C., is by no means knocking Canadian doctors for their business shortcomings.

“It’s easily understandable,” she says. “I can’t tell you how many doctors I’ve met over the years who are so focused on their practices and on helping people that they simply don’t have the time to properly run their businesses. Depending on where they are, doctors have anywhere from 1,500 to 2,200 patients. There are many who are stressed and tired and simply haven’t had time to make themselves aware of how to operate efficiently.”

Enter medical-practice consultants.

“We’re like any other business consultants,” she says, “except that we deal with people who often don’t think of their practices as businesses.

“And, in too many cases, they don’t even think about how to improve their businesses. They’re too busy concentrating on their patients to concentrate on change.”

Medical-practice consultants are paid to lead doctors into change.

Khehra has an MBA in leadership and is working on a PHD in organizational behaviour.

As she explains on her website, www.windsof, Khehra provides clients with programs that range from operational consulting and support to writing of organizational and training tools to customer service to managing and training employees.

Similarly, Practice Solutions Consulting (www.prac, a conglomerate that was formed in 1996 and is affiliated with the Canadian Medical Association, has developed what it calls a “proven, six-step process” for doctors.

It covers everything from office-location advice to setting up telephone and computer systems.

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