Is BIG MEDICINE Coopetition The Answer For Small Medicine?

As BIG MEDICINE gets bigger, the state of private practice is precarious and faces several existential threats. Regulatory, legal, and IT mandates that don't work for small medicine further add to the burden.

As BIG MEDICINE gets bigger, the state of private practice is precarious and faces several existential threats. Regulatory, legal, and IT mandates that don't work for small medicine further add to the burden.

While small medicine, independent folks, and practitioners are gradually adapting, most have a "we v. them" attitude and they are trying to carve out a niche based on varying business models and service excellence e.g. direct primary care. They often use digital health technologies and push patient empowerment to improve the patient and doctor experience at lower cost.

More and more companies — from start-ups to incumbents – are taking a less literal approach to pursuing competitive advantage.

They’re discovering untapped value potential by engaging industry rivals with a hybrid strategy of cooperation and competition, or “coopetition”. Coopetition can take many forms in sick care:

1. Integrating urgent care centers and retail based clinics into your care delivery model

2. Sharing information

3. A hybrid practice model where independent practices become part of a major integrated health system

4. Building cross referral relationships

5. Opportunities for educating and training medical students and residents

6. Translational research opportunities and human subject study patient recruitment

7. Finding common clients like patients, and working together to lower costs or advance a mission

8. Recognizing that you are all part of the same tribe.

9. Cooperating to minimize inter-system hand off errors

10. Fighting unprofessional courtesies

Finding a middle ground is not just a practice strategy, but a policy strategy as well, as we approach the November elections.

Fighting tooth and nail is one competitive strategy. "If you can't beat them, join them" is the other extreme. Coopetition might be a reasonable and more practical middle ground.