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Three Difficult Questions about Your Medical Practice Future

Three Difficult Questions about Your Medical Practice Future

Why is a trip to the doctor’s office more like going to the DMV than going to Disney World? Both the DMV and Disney World involve waiting in long lines, but Disney has made the entire experience fun and exciting, while the DMV has made it cold and frustrating.

“But medicine is different,” you may say. Seeing the doctor was never meant to be a fun or exciting experience, after all. When you’re sick, you go to the doctor to get well — no more, no less.

This type of thinking, though, is what clearly separates businesses that thrive during rocky economic times (such as Disney, Starbucks, and Apple) and those that do not. The “user” experience, you may say, should not matter in medicine where the idea of getting well is based upon the medicine and not the connection between doctor and patient.

This is what I wrote in my introduction to my book: Connected: The New Rules of Medicine.

Last week, I visited the DMV. I waited for over three hours there. Three hours! The place was miserable and everyone waiting was stressed and eager to get the heck out of there.

Is this what your waiting room looks like? Probably not yet; but likely in the future.

We need to be honest with ourselves here and note that medicine and healthcare are moving in a direction that promotes more of my experience at the DMV than a room that is quiet and relaxed with smiling people.

Are you smiling these days? Most days? Most of the doctors that I talk to are not. They are fed up with the administrative burden, the declining reimbursements and the overall increase in pressure to see a lot of patients every single day.

I am not a pessimist, but I can appreciate reality. And to me my experience in the DMV last week confirms what I know to be headed our way: longer waits, more frustrated patients, and more administrative hassles

I think it is time you started being honest with yourself about your profession and your daily choices in your practice. I guarantee if you were in any other industry, you would not allow yourself to be as little in charge as you do in medicine.

Here are three brutally honest questions I want you to ponder:

1. On a daily basis, are you practicing medicine the way you truly want to be? If not, why not and what are you going to do about it?

2. If you could change (and you can) one aspect of your career, what would it be? Would you make more money? Would you have more time off? Would you have less staff? Would you still be in medicine?

3. Why do you allow “the system” to dictate to you the terms by which you make money, provide for yourself and your family, and tell you “how to” practice your trade?

I know these are not necessarily easy questions to answer. But it is long overdue that you took a very hard and truthful look at your career and decide for you what is best.

Certainly many of you will ignore this process or brush it off that all is well. But I have a sense that either my recent visit to the DMV or your next one will stay with you for a while. Not because you fear the future, but because you know that on many levels, it is already here.

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

 
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