When you’re dealing with a patient – regardless of male, female, regardless of age, wherever on the continuum of age that person is – what are you trying to do for that person? What is your highest hope?
Dr. Alan Shuster:
Improvement in vision, if there’s improvement to be made … or maintenance of good quality vision and prevention of disease … or delay in progression [of disease] – of inevitable progression – in some eye diseases. So really [it] is to get the best possible vision and maintain the highest quality of vision.
The folks I have spoken with – and I’ve already spoken with quite a few – they speak to things like your excellence, your care, your attention to detail, your professionalism, your kindness in your mannerism — in your patient care — and they say the same kind of attributes about your staff that you’ve hired. They say it’s also – three people have said that it’s – evident that it’s not just about … that you possess those attributes or qualities; but you also deliberately hire staff who mirror those things that you possess inherently. Why are those – why have those – things proven so important to you as you deal with the folks you serve?
Dr. Alan Shuster:
To me that’s easy. The staff is so important. They make me look good so I have to choose – a lot goes into selection of staff. I don’t like turnover because that’s – that reflects poorly on me that I don’t know … that I have poor judgement if I have a high turnover. And it’s costly to invest our money and time into training someone to be at the quality that I’d expect myself to be in those positions; and they, again, are my extenders. So I can’t answer the phones and, if somebody is gruff on the phone or doesn’t pick up the phone early – you know, by the second ring – I take it personally and they can make me look terrible before [my patient] ever meeting me. So the staff — I can’t impress enough to the staff how important they are in doing their jobs … not just doing their jobs but doing them extremely well in keeping the patient as the number one concern: their well-being and kindness and compassion has to show through the phone, through the first contact, to when they say goodbye and check out.
We serve – through the years of my doing this … I’ve done this now for over 31 years, if you can imagine … almost 31 and a half years – we’ve served a scad of different medical practices, not just ophthalmologists but all kinds of doctors; scads of other businesses; scads of ministries; scads of nonprofits; and what you just said, I’m going to be sharing with many of them because it was brilliant and brilliantly stated – and so valuable and yet what you just said…
Dr. Alan Shuster:
It’s so easy though, it’s common sense to me. It’s like smiling: it takes us less energy to smile than to frown and if you’re nice – to smile and say hello – how hard is that? And it conveys much more than – in a positive way – than just a blank stare or somebody not looking up from their desk to acknowledge a patient when they walk in. The patient is the lifeblood of the practice and a bad experience does not generate referrals, no matter how good a surgeon I am.
Ronnie Wilson, founder of People I Love, penned the following:
Across several decades, we have served countless doctors from an array of practice areas. Alan Shuster is as gentlemanly a person and doctor as any you can locate. His easy, friendly spirit with his staff and patients alike have created the perfect atmosphere.
Unannounced to Dr. Shuster’s patients, we arrived on a random day and invited the first half dozen of his patients to be interviewed about their experiences with Dr. Shuster and his staff. EVERY SINGLE PATIENT wanted to be interviewed because Dr. Shuster’s excellent care and personal style had left them overwhelmed with gratitude and respect through years of his attending to their eye care!
We even had a spouse of one patient ask if he too could offer words about his and his wife’s amazement both at Dr. Shuster’s elite skills and elite manner of care. Person after person expressed sincerely their fondness for Dr. Shuster – and their estimations that he was the best doctor they’d known. I exited his office that day realizing more than ever that the person I’d known professionally – in the arena of web development, marketing, and search engine optimization discussions – lived fully consistently in his treating of his patients with a keenly listening ear and a warmly interested heart.
I’ve seen Dr. Shuster treat patient after patient with equal and high dignity – and with mindful attention to their eye care needs … and I’ve seen him treat his staff with that same brand of dignity and attention. He’s the type of doc who brings – absolutely and unequivocally – the greatest amount of joy to our work in helping people understand practices and the doctors within those practices. You would want him as your doctor; you would want him as your friend!