From Me to We: From Physician to Provider

The tides come in and out, ties get wider then narrower then wider again, and society cycles round and round from “me” to “we.”

Today’s society is heavily affected by “we” think, from notions of shared sacrifice, to paying your fair share, to “giving back.”

Not every individual or entity in a society buys into the current stage of the cycle and that’s why trends eventually moderate and return toward the antipode.  However, there are some who, while holding a view closer to the other extreme, understand that they can benefit from co-opting the current zeitgeist.

Thus the move by hospitals to take advantage of “we” think.

As the current wave of collectivism shapes trends in healthcare, hospitals seek to ride that wave to further their own “me” interests:  Witness the completely hospital-centric notions of Accountable Care Organizations, healthcare collaboration, and integrated delivery systems.

Physicians are told that the future of healthcare is not in rugged individualism but, rather, in the “it takes a village” world.

But they are being told that by the hospital that wants to be the mayor of the village.

Mark F. Weiss

How to Secure Customer Satisfaction – Podcast

Stop kidding yourself that the delivery of expert, even world-class, medical care is sufficient to guarantee your group’s future.  Understand how to identify and incentivize high level customer service.

From Pigs to Model T’s to Medical Care

It’s said that Henry Ford adopted the modern production line, with each worker focusing on a part instead of assembling a whole, from his observations of the way that Chicago slaughterhouses “dressed” pigs.

On October 1, 1908, the first Model T rolled off the production line.  Available, famously, in any color you wanted as long as that color was black.

Ford focused on keeping things simple, building one model that (had to) suit all, using interchangeable parts that relatively unskilled workers could assemble.

How different is this from the model of healthcare envisioned by many today?  “Best practices” replacing innovation.  One model replacing high touch care.  Delivery via relatively unskilled workers (paraprofessionals).

In the end, the public wanted more – and the Model T rode off into history.  History is sure to repeat itself.

Mark F. Weiss

How The Hospital Cut The Stipend And Lost A Bundle

The marketplace for hospital based services is becoming increasingly commoditized.

Along with it, we’re seeing the growth of large commodity providers with a commodity type business plan:  Provide the level of service that is minimally required.  Provide that service through low cost providers in order to upstream the profits.  Make money on volume.

The selling point to facilities is low to no stipend support.  After all, from the hospital standpoint, isn’t low or no stipend support a cost saving deal?

Maybe.  Maybe not.  You often get what you pay for.

You can buy a cheap pair of dress shoes that will crack and wear out in a year or you can buy shoes with an initial high price tag with much more supple leather and better craftsmanship that will last, with upkeep, more than a decade.  Which pair was actually less expensive?

In similar fashion, is it less expensive to reduce a stipend by $300,000 but to lose $1,000,000 through the destruction of O.R. efficiency or the skyrocketing increase in hospital negligence litigation?

Perhaps this issue won’t play out in the court of public opinion but in the court of law?

Mark F. Weiss


Creative Destruction – Podcast

The dominant business and financial paradigm for many physicians, especially hospital-based specialists, is that they are a commodity, a valuable one, perhaps, but a commodity nonetheless.  If you are ever to break out of the current paradigm, it will not be by benchmarking to the best practices of other groups headed downward in the same maelstrom.

Do You See Your Group As It Is Or As You Wish It Were?

Did you ever see the infomercial for Blu-Blocker sunglasses or a copycat product?   Seeming passersby are treated to the view through the lenses and, voila, what was gloomy or glary or just plain old ugly is now bright, but not too bright, clear and lovely.

Are you wearing a metaphorical pair of those beauties right now when you look at your group?

“Why we’re the best group in the Upper Plateau of the Lower Flatlands!”  “All of our providers are Board Certified!”

Are you seeing your group as it really is or as you wish it were?

If it’s the former, then the chances are you have plenty of work to do.  Let’s get going.

If it’s the latter, then I suggest that you either buy some of those same lenses for your patients, your referral sources and the hospital CEO, because they’re going to need them to modify their view – the only viewpoints that matter — or that you default to the first option and start seeing straight.

Adding a second or third pair for free (just add additional shipping and handling) is a TV concept.  Do not attempt – closed course, professional driver.

Mark F. Weiss


Does Your Hospital Want a Relationship or Just a Transaction?

Does the hospital want a relationship with your group or does it just want a transaction?

One of the key elements in the changing healthcare market is the fact that there is a growing desire on the part of many facilities to devalue the relationship aspects of their dealings with physician groups.

Instead, they view those dealings on a transactional basis.  Think about the difference between “Let’s align our interests!” and “What have you done for me lately?”

It’s funny timing, though, because hospitals are spending so damn much money and so damn much energy trying to convince physicians, politicians and the public that healthcare will be advanced through physician “alignment.”

They send their administrators to flavor-of-the-day seminars on alignment strategies and they  issue press releases on how well healthcare collaboration is working.  Yet at the same time, these same facilities are working hard to destroy decades long relationships with providers, both hospital based and office based, turning to price based competitors who are sometimes willing to lose money to garner market share, setting up their investors’ exit strategy.

Is this the great schizophrenia or the great hypocrisy?

Mark F. Weiss

To Control the Contract, Control the Context – Podcast

Negotiation doesn’t take place in a vacuum, it takes place within a context.  So why not control the context?

The Two Classes of Hospital Based Medical Group Disruptors

Most hospital based physician groups aren’t committed to success at all, they’re just committed to wanting to be left alone, to staying the same.

But that’s impossible.

There are two classes of major practice disruptors lurking:

  1. Large staffing/management services masquerading as national groups.
  2. The disgruntled members of your own group who will destroy you.

The staffing/management services devote large budgets to advertising and marketing, and hire telemarketers to cold call your hospital. Their campaigns shout quality, quality, quality, but that they shout is often very different from what they deliver — and that’s their weakness.

Disgruntled members within your group are potentially an even bigger problem, a cancer that will eat you from within — and that’s your weakness.

Combined, the siren call of the staffing services sales force and the cancerous calamity caused by your partners and subcontractors who should have, but haven’t been, amputated, are a fatal mix.

Immunize your practice now.  Accept the fact that change is happening — that it’s happening to you unless you make it happen for you.

Mark F. Weiss





Business Worth Having

The market for anesthesia services is changing quickly.  The trends of hospital-centric healthcare and commoditized staffing services masquerading as true groups are combining to form a maelstrom that will take many local groups, as well as a significant number of facilities and the staffing services themselves, to rock bottom.

What does this mean for your group?

In large part, it signals an even more increasing need to function as a true businesses, a business that recognizes that not all business is business worth having.

The difference between begging for business and being begged has more to do with strategy properly implemented than with anything else.

Mark F. Weiss



© 2011 Mark F. Weiss