People are Crazy and Times are Strange

Crazy Paperwork cropped

I will be launching my first book this summer but I need your help. For those of you who want to kiss corporate therapy goodbye to create your dream practice, I invite you to join me on this journey. I plan on adjusting the book’s contents based upon your feedback. I will keep you up to date with my progress and will release excerpts from the book for you to comment on.

In the next several weeks I will lay out my argument on why I believe every therapist can benefit from adopting an entrepreneurial mindset. I’ll explain the new healthcare economy, the advantages of cash-based practice model and help you create your own dream practice. It’s my hope that by publishing this content it will help you discover your calling and how to set up yourself and your practice to fulfill it. Lets Do This!

People are crazy and times are strange

I’m locked in tight; I’m out of range

I used to care, but things have changed

                                                            The Essential Bob Dylan

Things Have Changed

Most days I can say that I enjoyed my private practice. I get a sense of satisfaction from helping people get better and managing a business. But things have changed. It seems like the people in charge got crazy and now is a strange time in healthcare. It seems like I’m that constantly defending my value and fighting to deliver quality. I find myself working harder for less and enjoying it less.

As a result I began to doubt that I was making a meaningful impact in individual’s lives. I began to rush. I felt anxious that I was missing something. I found myself being distracted from practicing my craft to the level I knew I could. I was just trying to make it through another week. I spent my spare moments doubting I was on the right path. I even began to question therapy as my career choice. I wondered was it just me? Was I becoming a cynical therapist who did endless hot packs, ultrasounds, back rubs while listening to Kenny G.

But in one of my brief sane moments I had to admit to myself that I still loved being a therapist. I still loved helping people and the challenge of being a health professional. That’s when I began to look closer at what really had changed over the last few years and find ways to overcome it.

The New Healthcare Economy

The vote is unanimous. The U.S. healthcare market has changed and continues to change. There is a new standard of how healthcare is being delivered and reimbursed. There has been more focus on cost and value because of unsustainable growth in healthcare spending. The fee-for service model that encouraged waste is on its way out. New reimbursement models are forcing healthcare providers to deliver better outcomes that cost less and are convenient for the consumer.

Today’s consumer is more informed and incentivized in the purchase of healthcare services because of higher deductibles and co-pays. They want value and results for their money. The previous “the doctor knows best” mentality is being replaced by “how much does this cost?”

Rehab services are usually positioned at the end of the economic food chain. There are several larger fish, (surgeons, inpatient services) which must be fed first before therapists. Very few therapists receive the business education in school to prepare them for new economic and regulatory realities. Most therapists are not comfortable or equipped to sell their services and defend their value. Therefore, therapist’s role is reduced to just another gear in the corporate rehab factory that emphasizes production at the expense of quality and effectiveness. I began to wonder is there an alternative to the hamster wheel clinical practice.

Shift Happens

Fortunately there is a shift happening in the greater U.S. economy that is leveling the playing field in favor of forward thinking therapists. Instead of being dominated by a few mammoth organizations predictions are that the new economy will favor small businesses that can quickly adapt to change. While it’s not that large organizations will become extinct but the bigger-is-better mentality has left them with deeply rooted traditions that are obsolete given the new economic realities.

Large organizations will start to do worse now, though, because for the first time in history they’re no longer getting the best people. An ambitious kid graduating from college now doesn’t want to work for a big company. They want to work for the hot startup that’s rapidly growing into one. If they’re really ambitious, they want to start it.

Paul Graham, The High-Res Society

The $2.8 trillion US healthcare industry is shifting towards a consumer-centric delivery system. New players from retail, technology, telecommunications, and trusted brands are shaping consumer expectations and purchasing habits. Over time these new players will siphon off billions of dollars from traditional healthcare systems while expanding the less complex and regulated fitness and wellness market. As consumers shift towards purchasing health services and products for themselves it creates a tremendous opportunity for therapists to market their value directly to the buyer.

Therapists are uniquely positioned to offer cash-based fitness and wellness services.   Future trends I see worth betting on are the agile therapy startups that are attuned to the needs and desires of the healthcare consumer. As healthcare’s incumbents slowly inch toward a value-driven, consumer-focused system of care it appears that the demands of customers and employers may not wait for them. And therapists shouldn’t wait either.

A new survey by PwC’s Health Research Institute found that consumers are willing to abandon traditional care venues for more affordable and convenient alternatives. Nearly one in two respondents said they would choose new options for more that a dozen common medical procedures.

PW’s Health Research Institutes 2014                                                                                                                                                     

Bright ambitious therapists no longer need to be content to climb the corporate ladder. You can launch a startup and build your own ladders as they go. Starting with the consumer’s needs and desires do you work backwards to the best way to deliver what people want? Do you have an undistracted focus on satisfying the consumer guide your creation of services, operations, and location? Are you an innovator that challenges the status quo and have the potential to help change the game for all of us?

How has the new healthcare economy effected your personal practice?