Change Your Perspective
I recently came from an excellent state chapter AAP meeting (hey, FCAAP!), where I was asked to provide big-picture advice to independent practices. I’ve been harping for a while about the need for pediatricians to reinvent and reinvest in their practices — see my August 2016 editorial — and I was looking for a deeper explanation and to provide better guidance. I found it in a simple axiom: Get Out Of Your Office.
I mean it. To succeed as an independent practice, you need to explore, to see what your patients see. When is the last time you visited any of your friends from residency? Take some well-deserved time off to go to different parts of your town, your state, or even the country and see how pediatricians behave. I guarantee a visit to another pediatric office will be worth your time. You will see things that other practices do better and you will discover something you didn’t realize your practice does well. Then, it’s your responsibility to share this information with your peers.
You can read a great example of “getting out of the office” in the story about Tiger Pediatrics. Their practice model moved from painful dependence to glorious independence in a short time span. They didn’t simply get out of their office, they left a dysfunctional multi-specialty group and rebuilt their own practice from scratch. Now, they’ve engaged their physician community through an IPN that seeks to improve care for their community and financial stability for their practice.
What I see — and encourage — is an expanded level of collaboration and education among physicians, especially those of you newer to owning your practices, leading to new models of partnership, clinical rigor, and patient engagement. The most successful practices I work with think outside the box and turn their practices into places their patients want to be.
In this regard, you are also learning to collaborate with your patients. To compete with retail-based and minute-clinics or the recently constructed hospital clinics, you have realized that you have to update your interior spaces. You’re taking your patients’ perspectives into account. Your remodeling even extends to your practice website — what was once a weekend hobby for one of your nerdy docs is now managed by a third party and has a professional, patient-centered design.