Why should you care about deplatforming doctors, and how could it affect your career in the future? Though hopefully unlikely to happen to you, a platform can choose to delist you or block you. This can have downstream career consequences, which are difficult to reverse. Diversification helps whether you create your platform or work on various types of platforms.
Example of Deplatforming
Physicians are highly dependent on the healthcare system to do their work. They often get their patients from health insurance groups that require the doctor to be in-network for their prescriptions and referrals to be accepted.
This intertwined healthcare system design is intentional and artificially controls costs. It stifles fair competition and is why we are seeing decentralized systems such as the blockchain gain traction.
A large telemedicine company like Teladoc could deplatform a physician, and that doctor would have a hard time finding work anywhere else. I’ll explain why in this article. Blocking a physician has many downstream effects, which primarily hurt patients.
I share a lot of scary shit here on this website, and I don’t do a good enough job reassuring my physician reader. The reality is that 99% of us will be just fine. We will enjoy long and successful careers in medicine, earning plenty of money.
Even if bad things happen like malpractice suits, medical board investigations, license suspensions, or even medical license termination, in the end, we’ll be okay.
Many examples of physicians with horrible career events have recovered and succeeded. I would consider myself to be among them.
A physician can get deplatformed in many ways. It takes one major player, such as an insurance group or the CMS, to prevent that doctor from getting credentialed on other platforms.
A large insurance group like Bluecross or the CMS (Medicare, Medicaid) could refuse to credential a physician. This would prevent you from getting a job at a large medical group or even a private medical practice.
Also, a single state medical board can write something nasty about you, which would get adopted by other state medical boards. This has the downstream effect of preventing you from getting licensed in other states and countries.
You can also get blacklisted when a random website decides to write something negative about you. This can come up high on a search result so that when the credentialing committee reviews your file, they choose to deny you.
Deplatforming in Healthcare
Deplatforming is an excellent signaling power tool in healthcare. Deplatform one doctor, and you’ll get the rest to fall into place quickly. News like this spreads quickly among doctors.
Suppose you decide to speak out or complain or do something which isn’t in the best interest of a hospital group, insurance group, or pharmaceutical company. In that case, you can be blocked and blacklisted.
A doctor can be deplatformed by preventing them from prescribing, referring, performing a procedure, or getting licensed or recertified.
With more patients lacking proper access and increased physician sanctioning, we’re not headed in the right direction. It’s hard to argue that doctors are trying to defraud healthcare. The chances are that healthcare is getting more complex, and it’s easier than ever to make small mistakes that get spun to look like a fraud.
With the FSMB forming, we hurt healthcare, doctors, and patients. It’s yet another place and entity that will regulate the healthcare expert and regulate our licenses.
It’s not that regulation is wrong, but it has to be balanced. It has to demonstrate that the sanctions and interventions are helping patients as a whole. That hasn’t been the case.
The NPDB is where employers have to report physicians they’ve fired from their platforms. If you’ve been terminated, the employer will report you to the NPDB, which future employers and payers can discover.
All this talk about getting deplatformed, but what can you do? The most important thing is to play the game you signed up for. If you’re working on Teladoc, you should follow all of their rules and regulations. Don’t rebel on someone else’s platform.
When you work for Kaiser Permanente, you should see the patients without complaining and generally keep the customer happy. You may have to practice the kind of medicine you don’t believe in, but that’s what we sacrifice when we have an employer who can dictate what we do.
I am not saying you should work for Teladoc or MDLive, do it if you enjoy the work. But don’t try to be a maverick on those sites. Most companies these days are looking for yesmen. They have a specific image to uphold and expect the doctors to play by the rules.
Build Your Platform
Build your platform. It’s what I’ve discussed so many times before. A site where you are the expert and offer both clinical and non-clinical services.
You might never use it, but perhaps you’ll want to do things your way one day. Not having to answer to anyone has some fantastic benefits which are hard to put into words here.
As more businesses are going directly to the consumer (D2C), it’s nice for that consumer to find you outside of that business. They might enjoy working with you and be willing to pay you extra to do so.
Diversify Your Career
I am not just a medical license. I am also a health coach, an educator, a business owner, a consultant, a career coach, a writer, a speaker, and paid content creator.
Each of us has many unique skills, from cooking to dancing to singing and writing. I encourage my coaching clients to dive deeper into these skills and somehow relate them to their medical careers. This builds your income portfolio and raises confidence.