Written By: Spencer Penhart, Penhart Performance GroupAs a former presenter at multiple OPIE Cons, I have had the unique perspective of experiencing several OPIE Con meetings and meeting hundreds and hundreds of the attendees. While every OPIE Con is a little bit different, here is what I have seen that is the same, and why you should attend…I see a group of over 200 people arrive at a terrific destination, city, and venue. They are from all over the U.S. and other countries, and some come with several clinicians and staff from their clinics.
They enter the ballroom for the opening session, often looking a bit nervous and uncomfortable. Many are first-timers, and they wear their inner monologue on their faces, all seemingly asking themselves the same questions: “Was this a good idea? Should I really be here? Is this going to be worth it?”
They then begin their opening session by meeting new people and making friends. People are soon feeling much more comfortable. They then participate in a presentation that is both emotionally challenging and career-changing, redefining how they see their role in the clinic and how they can impact patients. It sets the stage for one of the most valuable benefits of OPIE Con: the mindset shift away from just doing transactional work, to doing your VERY BEST to positively impact patients and the practice. Then, a guest speaker usually presents on a key topic that is foundational for the success of any O&P employee and practice.
Day 1 is spent in breakout sessions with people from their same functional tracks: Clinician or Administrative/Billing. They improve their skills and knowledge, and another critical light bulb goes on for them: OPIE and Futura software systems aren’t just something their boss told them they have to use; these tools are critical for providing the highest quality care for patients, as well as for ensuring maximum financial viability, efficiency, and success for the practice. They reconvene as a large group at the end of Day 1, seated with people from their same functional track but different practices, and share their key takeaways with one another. Yet another key OPIE Con takeaway: collaboration helps everyone be more successful. Day 1 ends with a really good party. I have personally witnessed Paul Prusakowski doing a fantastic salsa dance to the smooth Caribbean beats of a steel drum band and eaten delicious crab cakes at the oldest restaurant in Baltimore on a waterfront balcony while watching the Cleveland Browns ruin yet another NFL draft, just to name a couple! By this time, the attendees are having a great time, and making terrific new friends.
On Day 2, the focus begins to shift from working as a function to working cross-functionally throughout an entire clinic. It often begins with the Innovation Workshop, where attendees are seated at a table with clinicians, billing, and administrative personnel, all from different clinics. They then begin an open and honest exercise about where the biggest frustration points tend to be within each of the three functional areas. What they quickly see is, “It’s not just me or my practice that struggles with this, it’s everyone!”
They then move into an ideation session, where they work together to develop multiple specific solutions to the most common significant problems in each track and share those with the entire audience. Every single attendee witnesses 200(!) new ideas for how to solve that issue in their practice, and then hones in on the top 3 solutions they want to proactively bring back and discuss with the practice owner. One of my most interesting observations of this workshop is that it is often the first time the clinicians have ever heard of these issues existing, as they often are not shared with the clinician or practice owner out of fear of repercussions. The attendees then go on to complete their functional tracks in the afternoon and are brought together at the end of the day for a final idea sharing session, this time seated with all the people they came with from their practice. They share their key opportunities for improvement both as individuals and as a practice and begin the process of action planning to resolve them. This is among the biggest gold nugget you could imagine from a conference. On Day 3, they attend a few final sessions, then head home with a new perspective, brimming with both possibility and newfound responsibility.
I saw the same result every time. OPIE Con is truly an impactful and memorable experience that can transform your practice. To get the maximum ROI, I would recommend not just sending one person from your office, but all key personnel at all the levels: the Clinician, Office Manager, Biller, Administrator, etc. It’s the opportunity to take your practice’s success to the level you hardly dared to imagine…