There is an ever growing frustration in the ranks of medical doctors that is coming to a boil in the USA. It is real, it is growing and in the center of this vortex is an attentive sector with a solution and they are starting to be heard. Not for the patient per se, but for the profession itself.
Who are they you ask? I call them Doctrepreneurs…
Business and medical practice have always run along parallel tracks from how they are perceived, educated and revered culturally. They never seemed to intersect professionally because their motives and outcomes were as opposite as east is to west. This oil and water relationship seemed to go along very well, undisturbed that is, for decades with each staying in his own lane and each was able to profitably amble along to varying degrees of success.
But wait, a medical practice is now swamped with a myriad of business issues staring doctors right in the face and they are turning the keys of their private practices over to corporate entities to run like a businesses and pay said doctors like employees. Can you say security? The reason for this is doctors like certainty and the main issue is doctors are not trained to actually run a complex
business that is more than seeing a patient and delegating the dirty work to the nurse.
Mandatory compliance issues, hours of paperwork, insurance variables, administrative staff responsible for reimbursements, collections, patient care standards, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Internet rating sites are excoriating doctors with unfiltered social media commentary that makes these professionals look like insensitive tyrants. How doctors demonstrate patient care is even at risk, working more hours with larger panels of patients and the big hand of government for its share of rules and regulations to make all the rest seem like a walk in the park. This is all taking place day in and day out…boy, have times changed…all a doctor wants to do is practice medicine. This scenario is literally a nightmare.
It is conventional wisdom for us in the non-medical world to expect professional doctors to adhere to the fundamentals of practicing medicine…treating patients, following protocols, a pleasant bedside manner, keeping patient activity flowing, managing time, follow up, mitigate risk factors so you don’t get sued, interfacing with colleagues, documentation…so why does visiting our doctor now compare on the scale of life activities to sitting in morning rush hour traffic? In a word? Painful and impersonal…sorry, that is two words.
Now in this ever increasingly exposed world of medicine, there are other glaring issues to consider when operating a private practice like profit, growth, vision, strategy, hourly costs for employees, relationships, taking on risk to be more cutting edge, seeing your practice as competition for another, freedom to get away and maintaining a quality of life…etc…
Doctors appear to feel safe when there is an insurance layer covering for them so they don’t have to actually “sell” or seek out needed “referrals” from a colleague he or she has known for over 20 years. This head in the sand approach is no longer acceptable and what we have now and the jury (patients) has spoken on the state of its poor service, heavy overhead, stress, longer hours, cancellation fees and just a sense that a person is not really that valuable anymore…it is not what doctors say, or what the printed sworn oath of patient care reads nicely framed on their office walls, but how they treat others that make a difference in a life they play a vital role in treating.
The Doctrepreneur understands it is all about small ball or the human contact at every touch point of engagement, not technology. From start to finish…it all matters when someone, with the right motivation, gives of their time to engage a patient to take care of them and they do it consistently….not rocket science here, no, it is just GOOD BUSINESS!
Looking in the rear view mirror over the last decade, all we heard about was how good health care was going to be, and now how expensive Obamacare (affordable care act…LOL) is to all of us. So here we are, as one door closes, a window of opportunity opens.
If you are a doctor and feel over worked or over committed then you need to seek out a Doctrepreneur to talk to…don't be proud, take a step back, look at what is important and get the people around you who will deliver the best care possible to each and every patient in a business environment meant to enhance the practice not hinder it.
If not, your practice will go corporate, you will retire or worse, it will go the way of the Yellow Pages, DVR’s and your kid’s Gameboy.