Dr. Albert Chmielewski was born in Poland and lived there until he was 10 years old, at which time he moved to the United States with his family. He moved to Wichita Kansas and lived there while going to school and working part time at an electronics store. After finishing high school, he moved to Lawrence Kansas to study at The University of Kansas, where he ultimately graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology. After graduating he worked at a plasma center and a doctor’s office to gain important experience to help prepare him for medical school. Dr. Albert Chmielewski was accepted to Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poland where he graduated with a medical degree. After graduating from medical school Dr. Chmielewski entered a family medicine residency in Iowa at Cedar Rapids Medical Education Foundation which is associated with the University of Iowa. After finishing residency, he moved to Kansas City, Kansas to begin practicing family medicine.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I have had the idea of practicing medicine since I was young, the desire to become a physician was reinforced when my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and due to her excellent and vigilant physician, the cancer was completely removed and she is now in remission.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day involves seeing patients, conducting physical exams, ordering lab and imaging tests, consulting specialists, and interacting with the medical and office staff to coordinate care. In the evenings I enjoy cooking, going to the gym, and occasionally watching a show on Netflix with my girlfriend or family.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Initially, I attempt to visualize, in my mind, how an idea or procedure should or will work in the real world, then conceptualize, research it, apply what I have learned, and ultimately execute the idea or procedure to the best of my ability, ensuring the highest quality of care.
What’s one trend that excites you?
In these times of uncertainty with the COVID-19 virus spreading so rapidly worldwide, I am very excited about the development of new rapid testing kits that can detect infected individuals in as little as 5 minutes. I am also hopeful that a vaccine for the coronavirus will be made readily available to prevent future pandemics such as the one we’re experiencing now.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I pay attention to detail, making sure things aren’t missed during patient visits, follow up, and coordination of care. I stay well organized, remain cognizant of staff concerns, and act as a member of a team to encourage a productive and pleasant working environment for everyone involved.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Stay strong, maintain a positive outlook, work hard, keep your friends and family close, and good things will come your way.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Often less is more in medicine, especially when it comes to ordering labs, diagnostic imaging, or referrals. Most disease processes can be diagnosed by a primary care physician with a thorough patient history and physical examination, and if need be, specific and relevant lab blood work or diagnostic testing.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I always recommend for any medical student or medical resident to check, double-check, and even triple-check their documentation of the patient encounter making sure the information contained in the patient note is correct therefore minimizing the chance for any mistakes or omissions which could potentially lead to issues down the road such as litigation due to poor documentation.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
In order to have a successful primary care clinic, it is important to have physicians with expansive medical knowledge and excellent bed-side manner, competent nurses and medical assistants, friendly front desk personnel, and a medical staff that informs patients promptly of their lab results, referral appointment dates, and upcoming follow-up visits. Responding to patient requests or questions in a timely manner is also crucial. Providing resources on site such as a health coach, a behavioral therapist, and a diabetic educator, allows for better care and improved patient outcomes. Having such a clinic improves patient satisfaction and care, allowing it to thrive and grow.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
There are times that a physician will experience a “failure” to treat a patient; this can be due to patient non-compliance, failure of the patient to return to clinic for a follow up, adverse effects due to the prescribed treatment, or recalcitrant disease. This can be mitigated by making sure there is appropriate discussion with the patient about the importance of compliance with treatment and possible side effects, making sure that medical staff contact the patient to schedule timely follow-up visits, and promoting a collaborative approach to health care between the medical staff, specialists, the patient, and their family.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Opening up a clinic that has primary care, multiple specialists, support medical services (health coaches, behavioral therapists, diabetic educators, physical therapists), and a pharmacy all in one building. In other words, a clinic that is a “one-stop shop”, a true patient centered medical home.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best 100$ dollars I have spent recently was on joining a local gym that has great facilities, including a short course Olympic pool; the gym is now a place I spend many of my evenings, staying active to promote a healthy lifestyle.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
New emerging electronic medical record software continues to improve, automating many functions that used to have to be done the medical staff or physicians. Less effort spent on time consuming paperwork allots more time spent with the patient and improving patient care.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the book is an easy read and even though it was written in the 19th century, I find that it is still relevant today and it addresses many fundamental human questions and explores human emotion. Another good book I recommend, especially for medical students or residents, is House of God by Samuel Shem.
What is your favorite quote?
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”– Robert Frost
1. Stay strong and maintain a positive outlook.
2. Pay attention to detail and stay well organized.
3. As a physician, always ensure the highest quality of care.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.