Moving to Private Practice and Putting Patients First
~ by Claudia Dolphin
After Dr. Richard Hill M.D., a South Shore based ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor, completed his first patient consultation as a private practitioner, he paused to capture the moment. Taking stock of this moment was important, as Dr. Hill had spent the first 24 years of his medical career in a larger, single specialty group practice. With a new office and patients waiting, his endeavor had begun and he wanted to remember it. Posing alongside 92-year old Eleanor Lebel, Dr. Hill smiled and joked, “Say cerumen for the camera.” Photo in hand, South Shore Ear, Nose and Throat P.C. was officially underway.
Barbara Thistle has worked with Dr. Hill for over 13 years prior to her promotion to office manager. She joins him in this new practice, with high patient care expectations. Thistle observes that changing to solo private practice means giving patients the best of all worlds. The scheduling process is now more flexible, allowing more control over appointment availability and more actual time spent with patients. The quality of patient care is what now drives scheduling, allowing for greater accommodation of patient needs. For emergency care, Dr. Hill remains in partnership with his former colleagues to provide 24/7 coverage.
Dr. Hill is a general Otolaryngologist, an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor specializing in diseases of the head and neck. He sees patients of all ages for concerns about ear health, including hearing loss, wax build up, infections, and balance disorders; nose health, including nose bleeds, nasal obstructions (deviated septum), allergies and sinusitis (both medical and surgical treatment); throat health, including evaluations for hoarseness, swallowing disorders, sleep apnea, and tonsillitis. Dr. Hill performs surgical procedures on children and adults for both common and complex medical problems, including surgical placement of tubes in ears as well as tonsillectomy. This new venture has renewed his commitment to providing the highest quality care with compassion. “My goal is to be a careful listener. Even though I am required to use a computer to capture important information for the electronic medical record, I position my laptop so that I directly face the patient. I want to look my patients in the eye and let them know that their chief complaint is my priority.”
Dr. Hill’s commitment to providing a better patient experience is what motivates him. He played an integral part in designing the new space, paying particular attention to the small details that are meaningful to his patients. Focusing on patient flow, subtle changes were implemented that greatly enhance their experience. The reception counter, for example, was widened to better accommodate form completion. Interior walls were remodeled in the waiting area so that parents could easily keep an eye on their children playing in the designated play area. Finally, a new glass door audio booth was installed within the office space. Audiologists from South Shore Hearing Center, under the direction of Dr. David Citron PhD, provide hearing tests that are now only steps away. After the audiogram (hearing test), patients wait for their test results in a specially designated area.
Existing patients looking to follow Dr. Hill will be happy to know the new office is conveniently located just upstairs from his old practice. Joseph Gutowski, a 60-year old retiree from Rockland who has been a patient for over 8 years, welcomed this news. “I was apprehensive when I learned that Dr. Hill had moved into a solo practice. But when I arrived and saw that he was located just upstairs from his old office, and was greeted by some of the same staff, I relaxed. The new office is modern and comfortable. It is a seamless operation and the staff is just awesome.” Gutowski was seen originally for chronic ear infections that developed after a serious automobile accident. Dr. Hill sees him every few months as a preventive measure. He commends Dr. Hill for having superb clinical skills. “Dr. Hill is so kind, so gentle, and so caring. He calls to ask how you are doing and to see if you are okay.”
Sherrill Maxwell of Whitman has had a similar experience. Maxwell has been Dr. Hill ’s patient for over 10 years. She originally saw him for recurrent tonsillitis. During the exam process, Dr. Hill detected a vocal cord tumor that required laser surgery. Though Maxwell was very worried (her sister died at a young age from lung cancer), Dr. Hill addressed her fears and restored her normal voice. He also raised a concern and provided the necessary support and motivation for her to finally quit smoking. “He is an excellent doctor and surgeon. He is also a really nice person who makes you feel comfortable and at ease in his care.”
Perhaps James Klim, a retiree from Bridgewater said it best when he reflected on his years spent with Dr. Hill in his battle with oral cancer. “I am fortified and comforted by having him on my team. He is an astute clinician with excellent training and skills. He is someone you want to have on your side when you are going through a tough time.” To make sure he does well, Dr. Hill follows him meticulously telling him, “I will become your shadow.”
It is obvious that Dr. Hill takes great pride in his new practice at South Shore Ear, Nose and Throat PC. His patients appreciate this dedication and quality of care. Reaching into his white coat pocket, he removes the smart phone that contains the photograph of Eleanor Lebel. Looking at the picture, he smiles. It is just one moment but it serves to remind him of what matters most – his patients!
Dr. Hill’s office is now located on the second floor at 825 Main Street in South Weymouth, Massachusetts.
To make an appointment, please call 781-803-6380.
Office Hours are:
Monday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m. to :12:00 p.m.
Saturdays: (Alternating) 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.