Embrace Change And Transform Your Medical Practice

In medicine, spontaneous change isn’t encouraged. And for good reason. Life is at stake. Change is only encouraged when there has been plenty of scientific evidence to support the change.

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 11.37.11 AMWhen it comes to changes as it relates to the business side of medical practices, many adopt the same posture that is common on the medicine side.

For example, new AAP recommendations/guidelines, treatments, screenings, clinical protocol and vaccines? We’re okay with  implementing these changes. Retail based clinics intruding on our turf, disrupting “our” medical home model? Unacceptable.

Vaccine pricing increases… Facebook… Yelp, Healthgrade.com…ICD-10… high-deductible plans, unwelcome.

Apples and oranges?

You might say this isn’t a very good comparison. You may be thinking that adopting new guidelines from the AAP or adjustments to the vaccine schedule based on the CDC’s recommendations is not the same as MinuteClinics “stealing” patients or negative – unfair – reviews on Yelp.

I’d argue they are the same based on the premise that all of these changes – whether medically driven or market driven – challenge our practice’s status quo.

We’re in a unique position

One of, if not the biggest, challenge we have to manage, is the tug of war between being clinical providers and business owners. On one hand, medicine is about people’s health. Therefore medicine should not be influenced by market-forces, financial and economic influences, or consumer trends. Medicine is driven by science and patient care.

On the other hand, private pediatric practices are businesses just like a car-wash is a business, just like a dry-cleaners is a business, just like Microsoft and Apple is a business.

This means private independent pediatric practices are not sheltered or protected from market-forces or trends that challenge and potentially disrupt the businesses.

If we are in business, then let’s be in business.

The business world – the non-primary care business world – not only accepts changes, but they embrace it. At least the ones that want to survive or that have survived.

Change demands from them to find new ways to adapt, create, meet and resolve the new challenges. Change also gives them motivation to remain competitive.

Episode On How We Embraced Change

A few years ago, a large, well established pediatric practice, opened shop right next door, literally. We were so upset when we found out.

We wanted to call the landlord and complain to them about how unfair it was to rent space to a pediatric practice next door. Why couldn’t they find an OB practice?

We didn’t call or complain, much. But here is what we did.

We assembled the team to brainstorm ways we could keep our competitive advantage. We asked ourselves, how could we improve? What areas of our practice could we enhance? What did we do really well? What didn’t we do so well? Could we provider a better experience? How so?


We made several changes. For example, there was a renewed commitment towards providing unsurpassed medical service from our staff. We decided to open early and close later than the practice next door. On our website, we highlighted a couple of our ancillary services (i.e. VEP) and our extended hours. We also began to stagger lunch breaks so that we wouldn’t have to close for lunch.

The market rewards those that change

Looking back, the pediatric practice moving next door actually made us a better practice. Without them, disrupting our status quo, we would have remained complacent. And complacency doesn’t drive advancement, growth, or progress.

Did you like this post? Did it resonate with you? If so, I’d like to read about it. Write your thoughts the comments section below. Oh, and don’t forget to share this post. Help me, help others to embrace change. 


  1. You are so right! Change is hard but those who succeed accept and relish in change. On having a competitor next door, you should ask the Landlord for an exclusive use in the building or complex the next time you negotiate your lease. They will usually grant you that.
    Keep up the good writing. very informative.


    • Defending the status quo has never been a very good long term business strategy.

      Regarding negotiating exclusive rights…

      Our office is located in a MOB (medical office building) owned by a hospital; and this hospital doesn’t negotiate exclusivity deals. It would limit their ability to lease out their buildings.

      If they offer exclusivity for one group, they’d have to offer it to everybody. And a hospital doesn’t want just one single specialty represented in their office buildings… they wan’t their office spaces to be full with “many” OBs, Surgeons, Orthopods, Pediatricians, etc.

      Thanks for commenting.



  2. Hi Brandon! Yes, in many ways changed is forced upon all of us, but it would go better if we can embrace and mold the change to our own needs. So much of medicine has turned ‘sour’ because of the masses accepting forced change (insurance shenanigans, for one) without really questioning or feeling empowered to use the impetus for change for the better. Thanks for your great example on how it worked out to drive your own practice improvements!


    • Exactly. The reason why medicine has turned sour is partly – maybe even fully – a result of the complacency. There are of course things worth fighting for… standing firm… rejecting change that isn’t in the best interest of doctors or patients. But in this country, private practices are businesses. And as a business, practices are not immune to changes in the marketplace.

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.



  3. Change is hard for anybody. Except maybe two-year olds who wrote the book on disruptive innovation. Apply what one might do to survive the Terrible Twos … Well, medicine is probably not paying much attention to the lessons of childhood.

    Their loss.


    • The consequences are far greater than a simple “loss” We’re talking going down the path of Blockbuster, JC Penny, Kodak, etc.