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Changing Your Medical Practice Starts with One Thing: You

Changing Your Medical Practice Starts with One Thing: You

It seems to me that we have hit a point in outpatient, private practice medicine that we have become stagnant. We are waiting; waiting for someone or something to happen to help move our practices in a different direction. Yes, we talk a lot about healthcare reform and the different ideas associated with changing the landscape of healthcare. But, then we go back to our practices and continue practicing the same way.

Let me ask you some questions that I think you should take one minute to answer:
1. Do you feel that you have the practice of your dreams?
2. If not, why not?
3. What does the practice of your dreams look like to you?
4. Do you feel that your current practice is achieving the revenue you deserve?
5. Do you have the time you need to take vacation and spend time with your families?

I ask these questions because I think while we tend to think about healthcare reform and changing our practices, we don’t take seriously the notion that we have control over these changes. Recent surveys and statistics confirm that many, many of you are leaving or are going to leave your current practice and head to the hospital environment or the corporate world or leave medicine all together.

I completely understand why: reimbursements are declining, patients are dissatisfied, and the overall feeling of private-practice, outpatient medicine today is frenetic and stressful.

It is, therefore, easy to welcome thoughts and ideas that paint a new picture of how medicine can be practiced. We all have an idea of what our ideal medical practice looks like in our heads, but very few of us experience that in real time. Why is that?

I think for most of us, we are scared of making changes — fearful of stepping into the unknown and this fear prevents us from making real change in our practices. Yes, we know — truly know — that we want to practice medicine differently, but we are afraid to make it happen; on our own.

And that is the real issue here, I think. It is as if we are waiting for the larger medical groups to OK changes. We want someone else to try making the leap to a different practice style before we, ourselves, take that leap ourselves.

I have two thoughts about this:

1. Only you can make the leap right now; or tomorrow; or next year. Whenever. Changing your medical practice is completely up to you and not the politicians or any other medical group. Forget about the social pressure. If you want to practice medicine in a different way, only you can make those changes.

2. The more of you who do decide to take the leap (big or small) and change how you practice medicine, the faster we will all embrace these changes.

Unfortunately, we are not going to get very far if we continue to wait and wait for someone else to tell us what to do. The question shouldn’t be: “How do I go about changing?” The question should be: “When will I go about making these changes?”

We have been stuck on how for far too long. And as a result, most of us continue to practice medicine the very same way that medicine was practiced 50 to 60 years ago.

Now, that may sit well for some of you, but my hunch is that for most of you, you would really, really like to see some innovation with how outpatient medicine is practiced.

To help inspire you, I encourage you to check out Pamela Wible, MD’s project.

Pam is encouraging all of us to do just this: make change happen for yourself right now. By documenting real doctors making these changes in a film, Pam is giving us inspiration to make the changes we want (without waiting for someone else’s approval).

Only you can do this. And you can do it anyway you want to!

Find out more about Craig Koniver and our other Practice Notes bloggers.

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