The Continued Evolution of Pediatrics

PCCWinooski, VT

After spending time with hundreds of pediatricians, Chip Hart describes how practices evolve and adapt to a changing healthcare landscape.

Chip Hart coaches and guides pediatricians as they navigate the changing business world of medicine. He combines more than two decades of experience working with busy pediatric practices all over the country with his passion for real world data and good medicine, to deliver practical observations, pragmatic advice, and proactive strategies.

I am still recovering from our annual Users’ Conference where I spent four days immersed among hundreds of pediatricians from around the country, each with a different story, a different set of concerns and demands, a different measure of success.

The massive diversity among independent practices doesn’t hide the similarities you share, however.  This year, there is a powerful undercurrent of “reinvention.”  The changes in the healthcare market and consumer society are forcing pediatricians to consider what it’s like to be in the service industry.

As a result, you are redoing your offices, tearing up thirty year old carpet and wooden paneling.  You are scrapping that ten year old website and embracing new forms of social media.  You are reviewing and improving the educational content you share with your patients.  But these are just external, visual representations of what is happening to your businesses.

Your survival is vital to the health care of this country.
Your payment models are changing daily.  You are measured and judged on your clinical success by those who’ve never spent a minute in your practice (let alone caring for a patient).  In fact, the very definition of what it means to be a pediatrician is changing.  No wonder independent practices are looking to remodel from the ground up.

What hasn’t changed?  Your preternatural understanding that the management of your practice, your relationship with your patients, and your place in the medical home are the most important contribution to our health care system.  Your survival is vital to the health care of this country.

In this spirit, we’ve redone the Independent Pediatrician website.  We may be just a pediatric software company up in Vermont, we may not have the resources of a mega-million dollar organization, and this may just be a little magazine dedicated to the stories of independent pediatricians. But this is important work.  We have plans – big plans – to add new stories here regularly, to introduce you to other pediatricians whose stories will feel both familiar and foreign at the same time.  There is a lot to share!

For example, we are very proud to share the story of Dr. John Sutter, a modern day pediatric David who slayed the managed care Goliath. He spent years in court battling insurance companies whose claim payment practices hurt pediatricians everywhere.  His legal victory is an unsung inspiration.  We’ve also updated and revisited a number of pediatricians from our printed issues, such as Drs. Robin Warner and Cecilia Penn (and have even bigger plans for distribution…but that has to wait!).

The next time you are at your practice, take a moment to look around at what you’ve built.  Be proud.  It’s not easy to be a pediatrician right now, but your job – your living – is more important than ever.