Freelance MD asked me to pen a guest post, I decided to write about being a small businessman. Running a successful private practice can be both difficult and time consuming. With the recent passage of health care reform, many physicians fear the security of their current income streams. As primary care doctors, we face the ultimate catch twenty two. The better job we do, the less outpatient visits and hospitalizations are necessary, the less money that flows through our doors. Talk about perverse incentives! Many have thrown their hands up in the air and joined the local hospital or medical group. For some of us though, the loss of personal freedom is a major concern.
So what is the burgeoning physician/entrepreneur to do? How do we continue to be captain of a ship that faces a tsunami of change? For me, the simple answer lies in maximizing non clinical revenue generation.
Over the years, I have established myself as a medical expert, nursing home director, and writer. Each of these activities provides consulting fees that are more lucrative than patient visits, require little or no overhead, and develop new personal goals and interests.By diversifying my skill set, I have created a more stable and enjoyable practice environment. Furthermore, my time spent in the clinic is more concentrated and busier than ever. I no longer need to try to actively recruit new patients.
There are many different nonclinical revenue streams available to physicians. Besides those mentioned above, there are opportunities with pharma, chart review, and biotech to name a few. Either way, I no longer worry about the traffic through my exam room door. Most importantly, I am able to practice parsimonious, appropriate care and still bring home a salary that I'm proud of.
And I learn something new each day.