Dr. Eric Forsthoefel is an emergency medicine physician and very passionate about his line of work.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
I have been exposed to medicine my entire life. Although I was first reluctant to pursue it myself, I did make the decision to get into medicine toward the end of my undergraduate degree. I am very happy I made that decision. I am even happier that I chose Emergency Medicine. It is one of the most dynamic fields of medicine and each of my shifts is a story in and of itself. It was this part that attracted me to the field the most.
How do you make money?
I do what I love. While the dynamics of Emergency Medicine attract me, crucial to my success was the fact that I realized that emergency departments are chaotic. As such, I have to be as organized and as efficient as possible in order to uphold the functioning of the department. On the other side and just as crucial is teamwork. My colleagues and I are always coming up with new ways to improve things and working together to make them come to life. This means that we are constantly improving the emergency department which leads to even greater job satisfaction and – more importantly – better care, therapies and outcomes for our patients.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
A career in medicine is time consuming and at fist very costly. However, I realized very early on that commitment is at the heart of every career in medicine. I understood that by entering that field, I am entirely devoting my life to continuous learning and a never-ending education that does not stop after medical school and residency training. It is always so important to remain passionate and driven, and this highlights that medicine is a very gratifying and fulfilling career choice. Without a single doubt, I am honored to, as a physician, be able to help those who need me the most on a daily basis.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
I never doubted my success in medicine. However, I did go through a period of time in my undergraduate years where I was not sure if I wanted to pursue medicine at all. That is why I ended up obtaining a degree in religious studies before deciding I did, after all, want to go to medical school. At this point I made the proper course arrangements and completed my pre-medical coursework in preparation for medical school. I took the MCAT, and I did well. I am glad I did because, well, here I am!
How did you get your first customer?
Life is extremely hectic following medical school. I remember how excited I was to have my very first patient as a new resident. I also remember having that same excitement after residency when I had my first patient as an actual emergency room doctor. These are memories that I will carry for the rest of my life.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
I would say that teamwork is one of the more important aspects of every professional and that maintaining strong interpersonal relationships is key to my success. There is no I in the ‘team’ of medicine and having strong relationships with collaborators is so vital. Along those lines, encouraging feedback from members on your team and reflecting are crucial for improvement and becoming better at what I do. Asking for and giving feedback allows for both individual as well as group improvement.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Asking an emergency medicine physician that is tricky question, as I face difficult situations that demand tough decision-making on a daily basis. The emergency room is not only a place where patients come with small medical problems, relatively speaking. Each shift is filled with moments when I am attending to one patient who has a stomach emergency that can be addressed with fairly simple care, and in the middle of that I am called into a life-or-death situation that requires immediate attention. It is these kinds of moments that I am facing a lot that require focused and determined, and often tough decision-making.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I am very detail-oriented. My ability to focus and pay attention to detail are characteristics that have played a major role in being productive and proficient in my work. Not only that, but they make it possible for me to give each patient my full and undivided attention and really understand why they came to me, all with a backdrop of the chaos of the emergency department setting. Emergency Medicine requires one to work fast but paying attention to detail has enabled me to take a patient’s medical history without missing out on any potential crucial details that may be large clues to help make the diagnosis and drive the best treatment paradigm.
What has been your most satisfying moment in your career?
Being a physician is incredibly humbling and rewarding – you help patients and eventually help make their lives better. Some medical problems can be addressed immediately, and that instant gratification is really nice. On the other hand, you have patients and situations that require a bit more of your attention, knowledge and time, and in the end perhaps even more of my heart. Seeing patients get better that I have treated for longer periods of time is very satisfying, to say the least.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
I am most excited about seeing where constant technological advancements and improvements will take the medical field. Medicine and technology are so closely intertwined and being in a field in which I get to witness one push the other and vice versa is great. One example is the fact that being healthy and active has become an increasingly popular trend again. This brought with it technological aids such as fitness trackers and cooking meal kits that have helped people not only become more educated about their own health and well-being, but also have made that journey or endeavor achievable. It is rewarding and exciting to see patients take charge and being proactive about their health.
What business books have inspired you?
The House of God, written by Samuel Shem. It was written in 1970, and it is something every aspiring emergency room or even intensive care unit physician should read in order to improve their approach to medicine and patients. The book discusses many of the health care issues that still hold true today. It is cognizant of many of the difficult situations that physicians are placed into and reading about just that alone is a kind of therapy. Overall, a must-read for those who are about to or have embarked upon the fast paced, dynamic and hectic discipline of emergency care medicine.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your career?
My Amazon Prime membership. It has helped me keep up with my reading list as well as with keeping my home stocked with essentials when I don’t always have the time to go out and buy it all myself.
What is one piece of key advice that you wish you had known when you were younger?
While I was in medical school, I felt as though very little attention was drawn to the business aspect of medicine, and I felt like I had to learn a lot about it on my own after graduating. I wish I had known how much I would need the knowledge of the business aspect of things in medicine before I began seeing patients. It is so important to know the business side of medicine inside and out, regardless of whether the work takes place in a hospital setting or that of a private practice.