Continue to do the things you love and make time to enjoy it.
Doctor J. Fred Stoner has had a full and rich life filled with incredible experiences that only enhanced his dedication to serving his patients. As a child, he witnessed a family member encounter a difficult health-related situation. This person was very close to him, which inspired him to become a doctor. From that young age, he focused all of his energy to achieving his goal.
After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science, he applied to and was accepted by the Medical School at the University of Chile at Valparaiso, Chile. The next six years were spent learning the language, culture, and his passion, medicine. When his education was completed in Chile, he returned to the United States with a plethora of stories and experiences that are priceless. In the United States, his education continued as he worked with leaders in cancer research. He also volunteered as a visiting Professor at West Virginia University, sharing his unique skills with new and aspiring doctors.
Right now, Dr. J. Fred Stoner is a proud physician specializing in pathology and pain management. His passion for his patients continues to guide his every step forward.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
When I was a child, I was raised primarily by my mom and grandparents. When I was nine years old, my grandfather had a heart attack at the dinner table. It was a devastating experience, more so because we were so close and it was that night that set me on the path to becoming a doctor.
I had an unorthodox path, and it took me through Chile, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Everything that I learned through that experience has made me a better doctor today.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Most mornings are spent getting my daughter off to school before heading into the office. After following up with clients, reviewing charts, I start seeing patients. As a sole practitioner with a few office support staff, it is on me to follow up with my patients as well. Once I am confident records are updated, and the information is secured we head home for the night to start our routine again tomorrow.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I make sure that I’m well versed in all of the options and present them to my patients. When we select the best treatment possible, we then follow through with the treatment. We keep in close contact so that we are able to pivot if the need comes up.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am excited to see all of the options that are becoming available to deal with pain. We have been forced to view pain in such extremes over the years, that treatment has varied excessively. In recent years that has begun to change. With the option of legalized medical marijuana, the choices for non-addictive pain management has opened broadly.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I don’t leave records to do another day. Every file that I touch throughout the day is updated the same day, no matter how small the update might be. It allows me to avoid falling behind or creating issues down the road. Having your paperwork completed makes understanding where you stand in business and with patients much more manageable.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Continue to do the things you love and make time to enjoy it.
It can be a challenge to see that things are going to work out when you are in the thick of things.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Oh, this is a tough one. I would say that the government regulations regarding pain management are as much to blame as the pharmaceutical companies for the opioid crisis. As such, they should take on some responsibility instead of just shutting down huge sections of the companies that were producing the products.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I make sure I spend time with each and every patient so that everything we do together actually achieves the goal of helping them heal. Pain management is important, but so is knowing the underlying cause and treating that too. It avoids further pain in the long run.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Being a doctor who cares about the treatment of my patients has been the cornerstone of my practice since before I left medical school and training. One of my assignments as a medical student in Chile was to become a rural doctor for some time. It was a fantastic experience as it made me a part of these small communities. Often, in those positions, the student is the only doctor some of these people will see. It really taught me how valuable each and every person is, not that I wasn’t aware before encountering this experience, but it was an impactful experience that has lingered through my entire life.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Whenever someone opens an office, there are many things to learn. One of the most common mistakes I’ve heard is the learning curve that comes with hiring the right team for any environment. If you are looking forward to having a solid group of people to help you run your office, you have to learn how to interview effectively. The best way to do that is experience. We’ve got a great team now. I’m so happy to have found each and every one of them.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
With all of the technology today, it is a surprise no one has found a secure, efficient way to help educate people on their health while maintaining the medical records in the event of an emergency. Not having that information when you walk into a hospital or emergency room can complicate treatment or worse. Whoever develops the secure platform for logging all medical information on a given person is going to save millions of lives.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Dinner with my daughter and some of my office staff. We went out and enjoyed a much-needed respite, and I happily sponsored it.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
We have various office specific programs that allow us to maintain patient records and billing. It has been a lifesaver and made the whole process so much easier.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would suggest How to Win Friends and Influence People. It is a masterful piece of work that really teaches you the most critical parts of communication. Much of it discusses how to demonstrate your interest in others and how compelling that interest and concern can be both for them and yourself.
What is your favorite quote?
Laughter is the best medicine.
Really, that could be positivity because of your attitude, both as a physician and a patient influences the outcome. The most positive people come through any illness, chronic or otherwise, far better than those who are morbid. It’s important to me to keep my patients positive and encouraged despite whatever pain they may be experiencing when they walk into my office.
• Continue to do the things you love and make time to enjoy it.
• Pain management is important, but so is knowing the underlying cause and treating that too.
• If you are looking forward to having a solid group of people to help you run your office, you have to learn how to interview effectively.
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.