Building a better medical practice starts with not imitating the status quo in healthcare. If standard healthcare was good enough, I doubt we’d have the headlines we see today.
I also know there are doctors out there who are running exceptional medical practices and not at the expense of their sanity.
What the Consumer is Willing to Pay
I’ve gotten quotes for plumbing at $200 to $400 per hour. The same for maid service, from $50 to $150 per hour.
Undoubtedly, most consumers will choose the service worker at the lower end of the spectrum. But that’s just statistics and not a fact across the entire consumer space.
The consumer world doesn’t follow a standard bell-curve distribution. It’s either logarithmic or bimodal, meaning a few people are willing to pay a lot for good service.
And it’s not the multimillionaires who will pay a lot for those higher-quality services either. Quite a few millionaires became millionaires because of a combination of being cheap and frugal.
Current Income Disparity
A physician who sees 30 patients per day and earns $300k is not the same as someone who sees 10 patients daily for the same income.
The income disparity here is threefold! And the physicians who can earn more per patient are the ones who held out and refused to be part of mainstream medicine.
Many cash-pay physicians are earning 3-5x as much as their insurance-based counterparts. And that logarithmic curve has a long tail.
A sports medicine doctor can charge $300 for a cash consult, equivalent to their insurance-based income, or they could have a $900. And this is a first-hand experience – my girlfriend just paid that for a consult with a competent sports med doctor.
Justifying Your Hourly Rate
To justify this higher income, you must understand the income disparity. There are many good reasons why the perfect medical practice can charge so much and have such a long waitlist.
Why are patients paying more for a private physician?
What are they hoping to get for their money?
How did they find out about this doctor?
What will make them keep coming back?
If I continue to work in the insurance model, the best I can hope for is to land a slightly less busy job in a slightly more efficient medical practice.
If I put more effort into convincing my ideal customer why they should pay me more money for a better service, I’ll attract such clients.
To build a better medical practice, I’ll have to set some rules to stand out from mainstream medicine.
1. Believe in my Worth
I believe in my worth because I want a doctor like myself. This wasn’t the case in the past, but over the past few years, I am developing some skills as a Primary Care doctor that I think make me indispensable.
I believe in worth because I know that I’ll keep reiterating based on my outcomes.
2. Demonstrate my Value
When the patient walks in or contacts me, how can I show that I am different from the mainstream competitors? I do that by being personable and patient and explaining my process to them.
But you need to make sure that when you are performing an intervention on a patient or are making an important clinical decision, that the task at hand is the only thing that matters and you are 100% focused.WCI
I allow my patients to have more access to me, and I will insist on explaining all tests and results to them. If I educate my patients, they will understand the value of why we did or didn’t do a particular test.
3. Build up My Practice
A practice isn’t built but grown. I can’t develop the perfect medical practice from the get-go, but I can grow it by reiterating my marketing practices.
Every time a doctor sends you a patient, store their contact information (personal cell phone number and email) in your phone. This makes it easy for you to send updates to the referring doctors about their patients and for them to contact you directly about future patients that may need your servicesWCI
The income disparity in medicine exists because all medical practices are basically the same thing with a different name.
My goal is to reimagine what a medical practice can be and continue to make changes until I get positive feedback.
4. Adjust Based on Feedback
What is positive feedback? It’s when a patient tells me that I am different than other doctors they’ve gone to, and they follow my advice. It’s when a patient reaches out to me and treats me as an important member of their healthcare team.
If someone asks me a question, I’ll aim to answer that with the next patient. And if there is conflict, I’ll figure out how best to resolve it the next time without blaming the patient.
5. Compare to the Competition
I can never imitate the competition because I have a different personality and different needs. But my exceptional medical practice should have much in common with the competition.
To build a better medical practice, I don’t have to compete with those who are charging a premium because they are in the minority. They have wait lists. It’s better for me to join them and befriend them.
Excess Wealth in the US
If the above doesn’t convince you, it’s worth mentioning that the wealth gap is growing.
Again, I think it’s erroneous to bank only on the wealthy for your exceptional medical practice. Many people with less money might be willing to pay for better care.
When people get older, sometime around age 50, once they have achieved their success, they likely will be thinking about their longevity and the quality of their life.