Physicians’ top three frustrations, according to the Great American Physician survey of 2014, sponsored by Kareo, are too much third party interference, high stress, and low compensation. As medical reimbursement becomes more challenging, physicians are looking at alternative ways to meet the needs of their patients while thriving as a business and striking the work-life balance.
By looking to non-traditional care delivery and payment models, physicians are finding new ways to obtain career satisfaction, improved work-life balance, and less frustration in dealing with the ever-increasing third-party payer hoops practices must jump through. But important considerations must be made before taking the plunge.
To arrive at a practice model that fits your individual strengths and goals, a great deal of soul searching has to take place. What Dr. Jones down the street is doing, regardless of his apparent success, may be all wrong for you - and your patients.
When considering a change in your practice model, take some time to stop thinking about what you have to do and think about what you’d like to do.
This can be a tough transition for physicians who have been in a cycle of performance-for-success year after year through school, residency, and employment or practice ownership. Without blocking out adequate time, giving yourself permission to think about what it is you really want, it’s near impossible to clarify or determine the answers to crucial questions. Honest, accurate answers will form the foundation of a successful alternative practice model that fits your needs and plays to your strengths.
Getting away from your day-to-day responsibilities, routines, and environment is a good way to nurture creativity. Tap into your dreams and goals, which may have been buried or dismissed in exchange of more seemingly practical and predictable success strategies.
If you are one of the ever-growing thousands of American physicians considering a non-traditional practice model but don’t know where to start, start with you. Tap into that which drove you to pursue a career in medicine in the first place and what you’ve come to discover while practicing. Create a list of what you find most fulfilling and rewarding as well as a list of what you don’t like, what creates the most frustration. Next create a list of your strengths as a practitioner and as a practice. Here are some prompts:
- Do you prefer working solo or having partners?
- What clinical services do you enjoy providing most or want to build out?
- Have you identified a type of patient you enjoy working with most?
- Is there a practice model you’ve heard of that interests you, and why?
- Do you enjoy the business management side of medicine or prefer to focus solely on clinical patient care?
These are important indicators of what kind of practice model you will want to research and move toward. This exploration process is only the beginning but critical to achieving the desired outcome when building a new plan for success!