As of 2014, there are about 916,000 licensed physicians in the US. Despite news regarding consolidation and BIG MEDICINE, the majority of America's physicians still work in small practices.
As of 2014, there are about 916,000 licensed physicians in the US. Despite news regarding consolidation and BIG MEDICINE, the majority of America's physicians still work in small practices. In essence, it is a mom and pop industry composed of small business professional service companies run by small business physician entrepreneurs.
While the majority of physicians (56.8%) worked in practices that were wholly owned by physicians in 2014, this majority decreased slightly from 60.1% in 2012. In contrast, the share of physicians who worked directly for a hospital, or in practices that had at least some hospital ownership, increased from 29% in 2012 to 32.8% in 2014.
Other important changes in physician practice arrangements that occurred between 2012 and 2014 include:
Private practitioners are the backbone of American medicine and continue to face many threats. One is being able to comply with many required IT, business, and practice mandates that are expensive, not designed for small practices, or difficult or impossible to implement in many small practice environments.
Thus, there is an opportunity for software and business process outsourcing entrepreneurs to create products and service to meet an unmet need.
Here are some things small medicine practitioners need if they are to survive:
1. Cheap EMRs that include telemedicine and other digital health functionality
2. Revenue cycle management
4. Website design and patient portals
5. Online marketing tools including SEO, content marketing and reputation management
6. Prospect conversion to patients’ tools
7. Population health management
8. Human resources
9. Risk management and insurance
All these should be part of a complete health information technology solution specifically targeted to small practices sub-segmented by specialties and their unique requirements. Think Microsoft Office for Medical Practitioners with several modules that interact.
Do you have a product that helps doctors get more patients? It turns out 80% oh physicians are already overextended and probably don't want or need your product.
HIT vendors are creating BIG MEDICINE solutions that leave small medicine behind and do not solve their problems. In addition, they don't understand the small medicine customer, particularly in rural and underserved areas.
The two biggest threats to most businesses and the reasons they most likely fail are 1) they don't understand their customers and thus create things they don't want and 2) they don't have a viable business model. When it comes to the small medicine market, HIT and BPO vendors have failed on both counts.