With all of the tumult and new regulations in the healthcare industry, many are wondering: Can private practice be saved? Should it be?
Private medical practitioners are struggling in the face of innovation, technological transformation, and regulatory and rules changes that are increasing their costs of doing business, lowering their revenues, and interfering with their ability to take care of patients. While there are some indications that the employed physician trend is flattening, most residents and medical school students say they are not interested in working for themselves, particularly the increasing number of women medical graduates.
The impact of Obamacare and the rules and regulations that came along with it is debatable.
Is it worth saving private practice? I believe it is essential because:
1. A significant percentage of patients prefer to get their care from private practitioners.
2. Private practitioners are more nimble innovators.
3. There are limits to BIG MEDICINE consolidation and private practitioners fill the void. Like the states are to the federal government, private practices are laboratories of creativity.
4. Medical practice entrepreneurs want to work for themselves, add value to their patients, and keep what they earn.
5. Innovation ecosystems, the engines of regional and US global competitiveness, are driven, in part, by medical practice entrepreneurs.
6. Successful medical practice entrepreneurs have a multiplier effect, providing high-wage jobs.
7. Generational attitudes are driving the demand for opportunities in the sick-care sharing and gig economies.
8. Voters have lost confidence and trust in the ability of “big anything” to improve their lives and that of their families.
9. Historic lows in US productivity, particularly in the sick-care sector, need attention and will only come from innovation.
10. It is the American thing to do and the reason other countries look to us as the global leader in biomedical and clinical innovation.
Saving private practice is mission critical if we are to win the war against escalating costs and further system deterioration. Look for the Spielberg movie soon at a theater near you.
Image: Dreamworks movie poster for Saving Private Ryan.