|Lake Country Family Medicine is the solo practice of Dr. Kerry Graff. This “micro-practice” is based on a growing trend of solo private practitioners who are attempting to re-capture the traditional values of the doctor-patient relationship. This type of practice has three primary objectives:
- Minimize barriers between the patient and the doctor. You shouldn’t have to fight through a front line of staff to communicate with your doctor. You shouldn’t have to wait 6 weeks (or more!) for an appointment. You shouldn’t have to deal with doctors who don’t know you if you need to call after office hours. By having a website to answer most questions about the practice with a link to make appointments, request refills, and direct questions to me, patients can get what they need quickly. The practice uses open-access scheduling, which means that patients can be seen (almost always) the same day they ask for an appointment, whether the problem is acute or chronic. Patients have my cell phone number to use after hours for urgent issues and I am on-call for my patients 24/7 with rare exceptions. I have one full-time employee, Kristin, who assists with making appointments, generating referrals, and million other tasks.
- Make time for meaningful interactions. What I have found most rewarding in the profession of medicine has been getting to know some really amazing people. But these sorts of meaningful interactions with patients take time – time that is hard to find in a traditional medical practice in which the physician is expected to see a patient every 10-15 minutes to cover a huge overhead that has very little to do with patient care. By minimizing staff and working out of a small space, I can drastically reduce overhead, and thereby reduce how many patients need to be seen each day in order to be profitable. Patient visits can be much longer and we can make sure that all the referrals, prescriptions, forms, etc. are taken care of during the appointment.
- Invest in technology that puts scientific and patient information at the physician’s fingertips. Electronic medical records are essential to great patient care. Documenting exactly what occurred at an appointment at the time makes the record much more accurate and complete. There is also a huge gap between what physicians know is optimal care and what actually occurs, due to the inability to keep track of all the issues of each patient. A computerized system can do this more easily, helping me track when a patient is due for shots, blood work, a check-up, or other preventive care. It also allows us to take care of the “tasks” of medicine, i.e. testing requests, referrals, and prescriptions, making sure that all the pieces are in place and that nothing falls through the cracks. Links to important sources of medical information for the patient are right on our website, as well.