Roger Kasendorf is a physiatrist and pain management specialist in his office in La Jolla, California. He is considered one of the experts in his field, providing the highest quality medical services to the community that he serves. He has over 15 years of experience with patients with acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, using all currently available procedures and medication management.
In addition to providing medical services, he also serves as an educator for other in his profession. He has mentored and trained over 100 future physicians, who have adapted his techniques to provide their own quality care. Also, he has provided many lectures at national conferences and grand rounds in regard to his field. Dr. Kasendorf has been listed in multiple publications for the work her has performed, earning him multiple awards for his services (Continental Who’s Who, La Jolla Best TOP DOCTOR, Best Osteopath, California TOP DOCTOR).
Prior to becoming a physician, Dr. Kasendorf grew up on Long Island, New York. At an early age, he became involved as a volunteer at his local community hospital, then later became a volunteer CPR instructor for the American Red Cross, which he continued for 5 years, while working as a lifeguard. He also earned his certification to become an Emergency medical technician. After completing his undergraduate work at the University of Maryland, he went on to medical school at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Today, Dr. Kasendorf lives in San Diego, California with his wife, 2 children, and 2 energetic dogs. His office is located on the campus of Scripps Memorial Hospital.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I enjoy medicine and the opportunity to help others pursue and achieve their pain management and health objectives. I began my own clinic so I could work closely with patients, understand their needs, and utilize my expertise to deliver the treatment and medication management solutions they need to realize the quality of life they deserve.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
On a typical day, I always try to maintain the healthy lifestyle that I advocate for my patients. I wake up and run with the dogs. After a quick shower, I drive my Vespa to my office 2 miles away. I will see my office patients during the day, then do my hospital rounds following clinic.
During the day, I will mentor medical students. In return for their assistance in my office, I often provide lectures during the day and related topics with pathology that they may have seen.
I am fortunate to be able to come home every day to a delicious meal prepared by my wife and relax with my family.
My ultimate goal is to provide the best possible care in a safe and empathetic manner. I am currently working on a book that will be called, “Just D.O. IT”. This publication will be geared toward future physicians and will focus on having empathy with their patients, and treating them as individuals, not just as a number. In the medical profession, much of what has been lost has been the ability to treat patients in such a manner that provides respect and trust.
I believe it is crucial to provide this to everyone that comes into the office. I try to imagine what it must be like for my patient to have chronic severe pain symptoms that do not go away. They wake up, function, and go to bed with the same gnawing pain. By listening and trying to understand the daily struggles one has, one can make one a better physician and continue to strive to find another solution to the overall problem.
Additionally, it is vital to learn to treat the cause of the problem, not just the effects of the illness. I relate this to a leaky roof. If there was a rainstorm coming down on the roof of your house and a leak develops. One may be inclined to keep on putting more buckets down, however, I would rather go up and fix the darn roof. This philosophy is used in my practice to get real long-term solutions, not just push them further down the line.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My aim is to listen to each patient and provide treatments and solutions that really address their condition while aligning with their unique health and needs. My ideas come from these conversations and wouldn’t be possible without a sincere commitment to understanding and addressing each individual patient’s needs.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One trend that has excited me has been the advancement of regenerative therapies. The original prolotherapy, which was started over 50 years ago, has advanced now to donor sites for placental tissue, grafts, and even one’s own blood (known as platelet-rich plasma). These advancements are often extremely effective and allow one to avoid more costly and dangerous interventional procedures and surgeries. Although not everyone is necessarily a candidate for this treatment, it adds another value to return to previous levels of function.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My goal is to maintain a good work-life balance and to do my best to enjoy and get as much out of my life as I do out of caring for my patients. Doing so allows me to manage and maintain my own personal well-being, which, in turn, helps ensure optimal productivity on the job.
What advice would you give your younger self?
If I had the opportunity to give advice to my younger self, I would not provide any specific career guidance. I have made a number of small missteps along the way in the management of my practice and the manner in which certain individual circumstances were handled. However, these mistakes have been what has made me complete today.
It’s much easier to see and understand situations as you have to go through them rather than simply being told what to expect. I am grateful that most of my choices have been the correct ones and hope to continue to do so in the future.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
As important as it is to earn a good living and be successful, it is even more important to enjoy your life as well. This may be a common theme stated in country songs or even cliché. However, it is rarely practiced in medicine today. The burnout rate for physicians is higher than ever before due to increased pressures that come along with practicing medicine. I have made it a point to ensure regular mental health time for myself and my staff. As important as my work is to help others, it is even more important to make sure that I am mentally able to provide the best possible care.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As a physician, the one thing I recommend is to be assertive and aggressive in treating your patient. I was in residency and I had just quickly seen a patient in the clinic. I presented my findings to the attending physician. It was a case where an older man was coming in with back pain. I had told my attending that I would recommend physical therapy. He looked at me slowly, then said, “so what! DO SOMETHING!!! Any schmuck can give a piece of paper to someone. What are you going to do?” This forever changed my thinking about how to manage patients. I learned that there is always something that you can do to make someone feel better than the way they came in, even it was something as simple as nutritional counseling, a heat back, or gentle manipulation. This strategy in addressing patients has allowed my reputation as a doctor to grow and my effectiveness to be more expansive.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
There are a number of strategies that I have done to grow my business. However, most importantly, it has been the respect that I have for my staff. My office staff has been working with me since we started. We have not had any turnover and we not only work together as a unit but as a family. We celebrate holidays and occasions, and work through the tougher times. A staff that stays loyal and has a vested interest in the practice will fight for you, work harder for you, and provide the best possible service for the patients that come to the office.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest failure and disappointment came while working as a physician on Long Island. Hurricane Sandy hit the region with great force in 2013, forcing me to close my office, sell off any assets, and find a new home. However, out of this terrible time came a wonderful opportunity. Due to the storm that displaced my family and my business, my family and I decided to pick up and move to California with whatever assets we had left. With our last penny going to a down payment into our townhouse, we have been able to grow and prosper. In the end, the devastation led to a new tremendous opportunity that I would not have changed.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
As a medical professional, I make it a point to deliver the best experience possible to every patient. I believe the same would go customers, no matter the industry or service. Always focus on providing an exceptional experience, and (ideally) the rest will fall into place.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I’ve ever spent would be the investment in Apple in 1985. Just kidding, that was only a wishful thought.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I don’t really want to endorse a specific product here. I suppose Microsoft Office products are generally pretty easy to use and great for keeping things organized, but we utilize a variety of programs to ensure our records are protected, organized, and easy to locate when needed.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
That’s a tough one. “Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis” by Lisa Sanders is a good one, I suppose.
What is your favorite quote?
My father would always use the Al Jolson quote, “Watch out world, you ain’t seen nothing yet!” I believe that there is so much I still want to bring to the world and I am eager to do so.
- The classic rule of “do onto others” always holds true. Always respect and learn from others, as they would do to you.
- Don’t just hear, listen. In medicine, I find that 90% of the time, patients tell you exactly what the problem is. It is easy to get into your own head with your own ideas when the answer is right in front of you.
- Just D.O. IT. This is a pun from the old Nike ad, but as an osteopathic physician (D.O.) I believe that you need to be aggressive in getting the results that you need.
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.