Don’t procrastinate! When you say you’re going to do something do it.
Becoming a doctor to achieve your goals and help the people that you have chosen to help is a daunting and competitive accomplishment at best. Coming from another country and competing for the career that you are determined to have doubles the challenge. Many people would have balked at the need to learn a new language; Or take qualifying U.S. exams for the right to practice your chosen trade. Those obstacles alone would have stopped many people from moving forward, but they did not stop Dr. Jose Rios from building one of the largest healthcare clinics in Atlanta. The clinic provides health care to the underserved Medicare patients in the Hispanic community.
It is amazing to think that the aforementioned path was the easier part of Dr. Jose Rios’s journey to becoming the doctor he is today. His journey started in his native country of Colombia. After being thoroughly tested, exceptional high school students are provided with a free education at the National University of Colombia. Dr. Jose Rios spent the next five years in Medical School followed by a one-year internship and one rural year. He spent this year an area plagued with the rural guerrilla warfare conflict in Colombia.
When Jose came to the U.S., he successfully pass all the extremely difficult required tests for foreign medical graduates and qualified for the National Residency Program. He matched at the University of South Alabama in Mobile where he spent the next three years in general pediatrics. Upon graduation, Jose was recruited by the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta.
The Children’s Hospital of Atlanta had a plan to extend health care services to the Medicaid as well as their uninsured Hispanic population. The plan included hiring a doctor who was bilingual. Dr. Jose Rios was entrusted with the development of the clinic that would serve this community.
Dr. Jose Rios, Pediatrician, launched the new clinic with one nurse at his side and one person at the front desk. After nearly twenty years of service to the community, Dr. Rios helped building the clinic to serve their patients in a powerful way. There are now five practicing providers and around thirty staff members. It is a thriving practice, and a jewel of the community.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The reason why I wanted to become a doctor was because as a child, I saw my mother in constant pain. As I grew, I found out that my mother suffered from debilitating migraine headaches. There was not much that could be done to help her at the time. I wanted to become a doctor to learn how I might be able to alleviate her pain.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
It was a high-volume practice. We had to see over a 100 patients a day. You had to be as efficient as possible. Most of the time, that meant seeing patients all day long and leaving the non-essential documentation to be done at the end of the day. That helped the patient flow and parents didn’t have to wait a very long time for their child to be seen by a doctor. In order for everything to work, we had to prioritize and function as a team with the nurses and the front desk.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I am quite independent when I have ideas. If I have an idea that will make things more efficient, I explain how the idea works. I take action and show by example. Sometimes people take a negative approach to change. Showing and working with the team, I can better eliminate the obstacles, and they are more likely to come on board.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I think what excites me is the innovative advancements of medicine now. The charts used to be difficult to read, which automatically makes it more challenging to be able to continue the care of a patient. Now, everything is on a computer. It is much easier to follow and understand each patient’s previous diagnosis and treatments. You can see the history of everything that has gone on with each patient. It is also easier for parent to understand the plan of care. I really appreciate the transparency.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am not a procrastinator. I stay on top of everything that must be done. For example, if you tell someone that you will call them next day and you wait until five to make all your calls, it is unconsidered to make someone wait the whole day for an important phone call. So, if I need to call someone, I call as I have the appropriate information. Why put it off? You will have to do it at some point anyways.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self that we are not merely beings with a mind and a body. We also have a spirit. If I had understood my own spirituality when I was younger, it would have helped me a lot. It would have helped me decrease my human mistakes. It would have made me more empathetic with people and their suffering. Our spirituality is a part of our human experience. It will help you find the strength within you.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
When we transferred from paper charts to electronic medical records, it was a daunting task. They thought it would have been impossible to do the transfer and we would have to start from scratch. I proceeded to build a template with the most pertinent medical information. Every day we will transfer that information from the paper chart to the template on every next day appointment. That way we were able to transfer hundred pages of documentation within minutes. We transferred vital information very quickly. I knew it would work and it did, contrary to what everyone else thought.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I would say don’t procrastinate! When you say you’re going to do something do it.
Also, as a doctor, I will recommend washing your hands frequently and do not touch your face; that is the best advise to avoid sickness.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
I was the founder of a clinic. The practice grew in the area because we had excellent customer service. People talk, and then they come. It grew on its own. You have to be efficient, professional, and productive and people will come. When people come to a clinic, it is for a reason. If you get the service that you want, you will come back.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The worse mistake I made as a physician is when we hired a midlevel provider. He worked very independently, I was resistant on delegating responsibilities, but that was the team decision. The midlevel provider was very good, but he made a mistake. I was never consulted about the case. I knew nothing about what had gone on. I wasn’t even aware of that particular patient visit.
I as an overseen doctor became responsible from his mistake. I would advise that if you have people under you, you have to supervise very carefully. You don’t want to be breathing down their neck, but if something goes wrong, it is you who will get in trouble. It is your reputation. If a problem arises, it is you at the end of the day that is responsible.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
If you encounter someone that really needs $100, I give it to him or her. Most people would not even notice it gone and generosity is something that you can’t have too much of.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I love podcasts. It is a wonderful idea, you can listen when you want without commercials and with full start and stop control. I listen to lectures, spiritual talks, and news all the time. You can find any topic relating to your passion. I recently discovered Libribox, where you can listen to audiobooks completely free.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Written by the American Academy of Pediatrics – Raising Kids to Thrive. I think every parent should have a copy. If you complement that with a strong spiritual teaching, that would be a winner combination
What is your favorite quote?
“Better than having it all is needing nothing” by an unknown author
• Committed and passionate about the care of children and their families
• Strong faith and committed to living from the heart
• Inspiring Hispanic people to strive and reach to become their highest self
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.