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My grandma Lea lived to be 97 years old and drove her forest green Honda Civic until she was 92.

She was a fiercely independent woman.

(Grandma Lea on her 90th birthday vacationing with me in Buenos Aires.)

Lea was also Dr. Sugarman’s loyal patient for the previous twenty five years and during the last ten years of her life, I often accompanied her on those visits.

Dr. Sugarman was a great guy and they were cute—often flirting and joking during her visits.

I, however, was not impressed with his care. She had a minor stroke one day in his office—while I was there—and he didn’t really know what to do.

It was scary, mostly for me.

Lucky for us, she was fine.

During that period, I was her biggest advocate. Over time, I convinced her to change her doctor to my friend from high school—Dr. Jeff Goldsmith, a wicked smart Internist at UCLA medical group.

This was no easy task. The relationship she had built with Dr. Sugarman over the years made her feel safe.

He always called her at home to give her medical news or checked in to see how she and my grandfather were doing.

He gave her extra-special treatment when she was at his office.

It took several months of my “convincing” to get my grandma to leave Dr. Sugarman but…. when she finally did, she fell in love with Dr. Goldsmith and stayed with him until the end of her life.

The point of my note to you today?

Building relationships is the glue to building your healthcare practice.

As Keith Ferrazzi, author of “Never Eat Alone” says, “Relationships are like muscles, the more you work them, the stronger they become.”

Nurturing those relationships by providing a compassionate healing environment to support the compassionate care you give is part of the revolution in healthcare we are now seeing among healthcare visionaries today.

The American healthcare system is poised to spend hundreds of billions of dollars building new hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and other healthcare facilities to replace out-of-date facilities built in the 60’s and 70’s and to respond to increased demands as the baby boomer generation ages.

As Ester Sternberg, author of “Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being” says:

“The future being talked about in medicine is person and place centered well-being.

We want to know the place around us keeps us well, and helps us heal, as well as helping the planet.”

So tell me: How do you build your relationships with your patients or clients?

Do you have a favorite story you’d like to share?

I’d love to know.  Send me a note.

Your in Health,