By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
A doctor’s world was, at one time, relatively stable. Certainly not easy, but generally steady and secure. As recently as a generation ago, being a physician was less complicated than facing the rapid-fire changes that are still occurring in our nation’s healthcare delivery system.
“For decades, medicine has been dominated by fiercely independent doctors who owned their practices, worked night and day, had comfortable incomes and rarely saw their families,” as a New York Times article paints the picture.
You are probably well acquainted with the system dynamics that are pushing and shoving most physicians lately. Many private practice doctors have become hospital employees or partnered with colleagues in a medical group. And thus, there are fewer individual “family doctors.”
The Times article describes the changes in health care delivery by way of a thoughtful profile of a third-generation doctor, Kate Dewar. We offer it as recommended reading about why Dr. Dewar has elected to be an employee rather than an independent practitioner. It’s titled, More Physicians Say No to Endless Workdays.
“[Dr. Dewar’s] decision is part of a sweeping cultural overhaul of medicine’s traditional ethos that along with wrenching changes in its economics is transforming the profession. Like Dr. Dewar, many other young doctors are taking salaried jobs, working fewer hours, often going part time and even choosing specialties based on family reasons.”
What’s more, the Times reports, “Younger doctors are deciding that the personal price of being at their patients’ beck and call is too high, while acknowledging that teams of doctors can offer a higher quality of care. So they are embracing corporate, less entrepreneurial and less intimate roles in part for the uninterrupted family time they bring.”
So…if you see yourself somewhere in this moving picture, chances are you may need to deliver a refined marketing message that keeps pace with the change and accentuates your advantages to your patients and prospective patients. (Patients may not be aware of the changes in the healthcare landscape from a doctor-patient perspective.)
If you are still following the family doctor model, don’t fail to let your patients know about the benefits, such as more personal contact with an individual doctor who knows you well.
And if you are with multiple doctors, there’s a benefit-message in promoting your team, accessibility, speed and versatility.
By either scenario (or some variation) the practice of medicine and healthcare delivery is changing. Your message to the public and patients needs to change as well. You’ll find more information about how how to do this on our website.