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The Most Productive Meeting You'll Ever Have


How productive was your last meeting at the hospital or with your physician group? Was it a waste of time? Wouldn't you prefer it if you didn't have to attend those useless meetings ever again?

Let me share yet another benefit of achieving financial independence. And no I’m not kidding...

How productive was your last meeting at the hospital or with your physician group? I bet it was a waste of your time. And it likely dragged on for hours. With nothing accomplished.

Just more useless rules to follow. (Hey, you need to provide jobs for the executive secretaries and non-MDs who dictate what you do.)

At the end you feel like you'd rather crank out another 50 patients in the clinic or the ER, or be on call. Isn't that sad?

Several years back I was part of a democratic emergency medicine group and every month we had a 5-hour meeting to discuss the group practice. We all had to attend monthly hospital subcommittee meetings, also.

Boy, were these painful. Just give me 3 mg of Dilaudid IM stat, and put me out of my misery.

Some hospital administration person would show us how long each physician was taking to disposition the patient from the moment the patient arrived in the ER to the moment the patient was either admitted or discharged.

"Dr. Mazumdar, 2 months ago you had the shortest time to dispo the patient out of all the docs in the group, but why did you fall to the middle of the pack last month?"

That was an actual question I received during one of the marathon meetings.

My reaction: "Gee, could it possibly be that I saw sicker patients on average last month than I did the month before? Maybe you should get out of your air conditioned office, drop your lunch ‘hour’ to 60 minutes and get your butt down here and help us out."

Of course the next month I was at the top of the pack and had the shortest wait times and shortest time to dispo.

So in the end what did that hospital administrator's question accomplish? Nothing.

So here's how I propose you hold hospital committee meetings and medical practice group meetings to make them productive and short:

1. Require everyone attending the meeting to drink 500 ml of water 1 hour prior to the meeting start time.

2. Remove all chairs and all tables from the room.

3. No food or drinks will be served.

4. No pens, pencils, papers, or electronic devices allowed.

5. Everyone must stand during the meeting.

6. If it's winter, turn on the air conditioning and everyone wears shorts and a T shirt. If it's summer, turn on the heating and everyone must wear thermal underwear, a heavy coat, ear muffs, and a scarf

You read that correctly, and, no, I’m not kidding.

Now, do you think you'll get down to business? You bet!

Your meetings will be the most productive and fastest ever. You will get more accomplished in one meeting than you did over the past decade. No one will waste time because there’s only so much time before certain unpleasant events happen.

If someone attempts to BS you, then the "bladder timer" will automatically kick in by 20 minutes and he or she will be forced to drink 1 liter of water before coming back into the room.

If it’s winter everyone in the room will be freezing (remember they’ll only be wearing shorts and a t shirt) while at the same time hypothermic diuresis will begin, and if it’s summer they’ll be soaked with sweat (remember they’re wearing thick clothing), which will eventually give way to hyperthermia.

You may blow this off and think this is silly, but I can assure you: I’m not joking.

Remember this when you go to your next meeting and you’re about to pull your hair out or strangle someone in the room.

Or you could be like me and get your financial life in order so that, eventually, you don't have to attend these useless meetings ever again … and you can pee whenever you want.

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Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice
Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice