Reinvent Your Independent Practice to Thrive in the Post-Pandemic Age
Staying independent was hard enough for physicians prior to the pandemic. They have faced and surmounted daunting financial and operational challenges over the years to keep their community practices independent.
Now they face even harsher economic headwinds due to the Covid-19 pandemic as patients dramatically curtail routine doctor visits as well as elective treatments and surgeries. The impact has been especially acute for numerous specialties – including Pediatrics, Primary Care, Oral Surgery, Dermatology and Cardiology, whose healthcare revenue fell by nearly 50 percent in March and April 2020.
Other challenges and impacts on independent practices during the pandemic have included the procurement of personal protective equipment and telehealth technology – as well as new disinfection protocols and staffing shortages.
And we can’t overlook that some doctors are choosing to leave medicine altogether due to the pandemic. A recent survey estimates 8 percent of U.S. doctors have closed their practices because of Covid-19, which translate into approximately 16,000 fewer practices nationwide.
Indeed, there are many challenges to being an independent physician, but there are also considerable benefits and rewards, notably autonomy to manage the practice according to their vision and philosophy, improved patient care, lower patient costs, higher job satisfaction and higher earning potential, just to state a few.
And let’s not forget the important role independent physicians play as a strong counter balance to the corporatization of medicine. Independent physicians also bring diversity of practice, philosophy, patient care principles, and competition in the marketplace, which are important ingredients to improving the U.S, healthcare system.
This month’s guide offers independent physicians a roster of tips to consider that could improve the practice’s economics and long-term sustainability, while still providing the best possible care for patients.
In some ways, the pandemic presents independent physicians the rare opportunity during this slower economic period to consider and execute changes they’ve wanted to make in their practices, but didn’t have time before.
Now could be just the right time.