The real result is making a change in their life or that they are walking out of my office feeling better. I want to meet 100% of my patients’ expectations.
Dr. Manjunath Nathan is a board-certified internal medicine physician with privileges at Yuma Regional Medical Center in Yuma, Arizona. He also has his own practice, Arizona Medical Center. Dr. Nathan found the inspiration to become a doctor while attending high school in Lancaster, CA. There he was able to volunteer with local doctors, including observing rounds at the local hospital and provider’s office. Through this interaction, he realized his desired focus was medicine.
Dr. Nathan obtained his degree at Maharashtra Institute of Medical Science and Research located in India. His residency was completed at North Shore University in New York. He also completed a fellowship in echocardiology at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, CA. After completing the fellowship, Dr. Nathan was ready to settle down and found himself drawn to Arizona due to nature and many outdoor adventures the state has to offer.
He and his wife settled in Yuma and started the Arizona Medical Center, a private practice, in 2006. The Arizona Medical Center prides itself on patient-centric quality care.
Where did the idea for becoming an internal medicine physician come from?
While I was doing my fellowship at USC in Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to take calls on evenings and weekends to gain experience. There I was able to work in one of the hospitals and a couple of urgent care facilities. I saw many of these were managed and run by Healthcare Management System (HMS), which were focused mostly on financials rather than patient care or the value of quality of life. I didn’t like that. I had to move on so I could do what was right for the patients. That is what we take our oath for.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up early each morning and take the time to reflect on the previous day. As I then plan my day ahead, I try to keep in mind what I’m able to do that could positively impact patient health. I also ask myself, what simple change can I make that will impact multiple patients’ health and the whole community?
Sometimes I will pull up a registry of patients that have not gotten their flu shots or determine how to reach out to patients whose blood pressure is not controlled. It may be as simple as taking baby aspirin to reduce their risk for a heart attack or even death. High-value care is what I consider most important, so I spend some time every morning seeing where I can make the best impact at low or no cost. Then I plan my day for my more complex patients.
By 5 in the evening, I try to make time for the gym so I can exercise and recharge myself.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I use my team. We have a few employees who are really good when they are given an idea. They research and review ideas to ensure we can implement ideas into real results. We are interdependent.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Technology is making a big difference. Using electronic health records or patient engagement tools, like the new Apple Watch that allows you to monitor a patient’s EKG. We try to keep up with the latest technology. We have a device that lets a patient watch their blood pressure and the results automatically come here. That way, this slow killer is not actively killing our patients. Getting this information, without having to see the patient, enables us to lower their blood pressure and increase their quality of life. It reduces their risk of heart attack or stroke.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
In terms of productivity, I see patients as human beings, not an object or subject. Everybody is different. Sometimes you cannot rush things or look for productivity there. The real result is making a change in their life or that they are walking out of my office feeling better. I want to meet 100% of my patients’ expectations.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to read more and more often. I wish I had read more non-fiction, biographies, and history.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I believe that in the traditional American diet, the USDA recommendations are not the most accurate. There is a stigma that any cholesterol is bad for you and all the sugar that we eat is good for you. How we live is what makes people healthy or unhealthy and with the way things are, they are designed to fail. A bottle of water is more expensive than a bottle of soda. It shouldn’t be this way.
We push the whole population toward unhealthy choices and eventually, we pay for it. Our healthcare burden is more expensive than any other country. We need to make changes to our dietary habits and to big corporations pushing their profit margin. We need to make changes to government regulations with regard to dietary suggestions and people’s eating habits.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I would recommend being nice to people. A lot of our patients come in because they are not feeling well, and I encourage my team to start a trend of being nice to everyone. Being nice is contagious. It is very important, more important than knowledge. Almost 30 to 40% of a patient feeling better has to do with how well they are treated.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I do what is needed for the patient and I really do care. Patients see my concern for them and the news spreads to other people. This leads to new patients coming into our office.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Anyone who runs a business has a failure. I see failure as a learning experience, and no one can say they never fail. I don’t focus on failure. I focus on the learning experience.
At one point, we started an after-hour care because most offices close at 5 and patients need to use urgent care or the ER. They never really know their doctor in those situations. We wanted to provide more access. It was open for more than a year, however, in the end, was not successful. Life is a learning process.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
In my opinion, solo practice is very attractive and lucrative. You get to be your own boss, you get to do what you like without being told by anybody to cut costs or cut corners. Independent doctors have reduced a lot, but I think it is doable. You have to put your heart and mind into it 100%.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I would say that the best purchase I’ve made recently was when I purchased several books. I am really happy with what I was able to pick up.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
eClinicalWorks, the electronic medical record we use in our office, is the most critical part of my office system. It is designed to keep up with new technology and there are a lot of new features that I try to keep up with because it helps us improve the quality of life for our patients.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would recommend “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. It is all about efficiency, taking charge, and being proactive. It helps you prepare for the real world.
What is your favorite quote?
“Those who mind don’t matter, those who matter don’t mind.” from Dr. Seuss.
• What really counts is whether we leave this world a better place than when we were born.
• I would be ashamed of dying without making an impactful change in someone’s life. Then they may make that same contribution to society. That is really what is important.
• A lot of people lose their focus. Life is too short to lose focus.